Scuba diver scrambles to avoid whale shark’s approaching tail

Divers in the Galapagos Islands had the incredible experience of meeting a massive whale shark up close. The giant beast is almost 50 feet long and could weigh as much as 100,000 pounds. They are the biggest fish in the ocean and, aside from some whale species, the largest animal in the world. Divers wait a lifetime to catch a glimpse of these majestic creatures and some dare to dream of capturing a picture or video of them. For almost all scuba divers, this is the ultimate underwater experience. Despite their enormous size, they are the gentlest souls in the ocean and will never harm a human. Most encounters are brief, as whale sharks don’t often seek interaction with people. They will veer away, or even dive deep if they are concerned. A few sweeps of their massive tail will carry them quickly to safety. But this particular whale shark seemed mildly curious about the divers. She is a large female, carrying young that will be born soon. She approached a group of divers and swam slowly through the middle of them, giving them an arms length encounter that none of them will ever forget. As if wanting to get her own look at them, she arced gracefully, curving past several and allowing some a second look. Kristy couldn’t resist the once in a lifetime opportunity and began snapping photographs as the whale shark circled below her. Drifting in the strong current, Kristy found herself directly over the shark’s back only a few feet from it. Respectful divers will not touch marine life, especially a whale shark, and they try to avoid accidental contact. Knowing the massive tail was approaching her, Kristy scurried over the shark’s back and tucked her fins in to avoid being struck by the tail. Equally concerned about the danger of impact and the possibility of upsetting the whale shark, she made sure that she was out of the way. Being in the presence of such a huge and majestic creature leaves a lasting impression that will never be forgotten.

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