Motor out into the Indian Ocean, then clamber into wetsuits and snorkel gear as you anticipate the arrival of the star attraction. Suddenly you’ll be gliding beside a gang of gentle, mottle-skinned giants.
Swimming alongside the world’s largest fish is an experience sure to inspire awe. Your chance to get up close to the majestic and rarely-glimpsed whale sharks comes during their annual migration past Ningaloo, Australia’s largest fringing coral reef. Located around 750 miles north of Perth, whale sharks frequent the reef between March and July, to feed on plankton following a mass coral-spawning. Up to 500 of these beauties pass through each year.
Little is known about these creatures, but their unique spots, similar to a human fingerprint, allows each one to be identified. Researchers have managed to create a database and so far, some 235 individuals have been identified by scientists at Ningaloo Reef.
Watch the impossibly graceful movements of these immense filter-feeding fish, which have huge 1.5 metre-diameter mouths and grow up to 12 metres in length. Keep your eyes open too for manta rays, turtles and humpback whales while in the teeming waters.