For almost a decade whale sharks have been calling the Bay of La Paz (in the Sea of Cortez, off Baja California Sur) home for most of the season. On the one hand, wonderful that they are so accessible to the respectful nature lover, but on the other, terrifying, as this put these docile plankton-loving giants in harm’s way. As Bryan from Todos Santos Eco Adventures says, “…every yahoo and their dog started running trips out there.” The result: chaos and, worse, boat strikes for the whale sharks. Something had to be done!
We are so pleased to share that AT LAST, a very strict permitting/registration process is in place – and is enforced. Now, only a strictly limited number of permitted boats are allowed into the whale shark area at any one time.
Todos Santos Eco Adventures does include swimming with the whale sharks in some of their packages (particularly those that include staying at Camp Cecil) in conjunction with a well-vetted and trusted partner, The Cortez Club. The rules for swimming with whale sharks are clear:
- Swimmers must stay 2 meters from the body of the shark and 3 meters from the tail
- When boats drop off swimmers they must stay 5 meters from the shark and approach from behind the shark, never from the front
- Swimmers have to avoid splashing in to the water and have to use a life vest at all times, the use of life vest is to keep swimmers from diving below the whale shark.
- There is a max of 5 swimmers and 1 guide per shark, only 1 boat per shark
- There are not pets allowed in the whale shark area
- It is not allowed to feed, touch, ride or get in front of the whale shark.
- Use of flash is not allowed
- Only reef-friendly, biodegradable sunblock allowed
If you’d like to learn more about the whale shark experience or how to include it in your itinerary, please be in touch!