A good three metres long, this juvenile whale shark spent 20 minutes circling our excited group of divers at Hin Daeng on Songkran (Tuesday 13 April 2021).
Hin Daeng is known as a whale shark hotspot, along with Richelieu Rock in the Similan Islands. That said, it’s only a couple of times each dive season that whale sharks, the biggest fish in the ocean, are spotted by lucky divers.
Not only that, even when they are seen, whale sharks often just do a fly-by: passing by in the blue giving divers just a glimpse of their impressive bulk before disappearing again. But this time we had the dream encounter – the whale shark was not only shallow in about 10 metres of water, but was also quite content to circle our group while feeding, seemingly unbothered by the bubbles from scuba gear and camera flashes.
The whale shark came in over the reef of Hin Daeng and then circled back out into the blue, momentarily disappearing and then gliding back in amongst our group of divers. Conditions were perfect – no strong current and good visibility. It made for a perfect Songkran encounter.