How to Organize a Trip to Swim with Whale Sharks in the Maldives
Tipped to be one of the most adventurous and daring activities visitors can experience on a Maldivian vacation swimming with whale sharks is not for the faint of heart. Bringing holidaymakers face to face with one of the ocean’s largest sharks the encounter is an awe-inspiring excursion into the depths of the Indian Ocean. From reserving tour operators to preparing for the excursion here are some tips on organizing a tour to swim with whale sharks.
- Select a Base Hotel in the South Ari Atoll
The first step in organizing an excursion to swim with whale sharks is securing Maldives villas or resorts in the South Ari Atoll. As the country’s most conducive area for swimming with whale sharks reserving accommodation in a South Ari Atoll rest will not only guarantee easy access to tour operators offering the activity but also opportunities to engage in the excursion through the hotel itself. The Holiday Inn Resort Kandooma Maldives and countless other hotels and resorts in the area offer diving programs and other excursions in the water so ensure the venue you select lists whale shark swimming tours as a part of their area excursion packages. Visitors who secure a base which offers the tour option can forgo organizing the experience by themselves.
2. Choose a Tour Operator
Those who are unable to secure accommodation in a resort which offers swimming with whale sharks tours, however, must look to private tour operators instead. There are countless local tour organizers providing packages for swimming with whale sharks and other marine species but it is important to select a reliable outfit. Consult online reviews on the whale shark swimming excursion tours organized by the various tour operators in the Maldives and consider which is the best option in terms of both your budgetary constraints as well as the inclusions and exclusions for the package price. If you have any queries regarding the tour, from safety precautions to whether hotel transfers are also included, contact the relevant tour organizer directly.
3. Tour Availability
Keep in mind that swimming with whale shark tours are available all year round due to the marine specie’ occupying the waters off the coast of the South Ari Atolls in large numbers. The excursions themselves, however, will not take place daily or be available all day long. Most tour operators organize tours three times a week so check the tour schedule before making a booking. As one of the few countries in the world where whale shark sightings are a given, finding a tour on the days most convenient to you will not prove difficult, however.
4. Prepare for the Tour
Although whale sharks are harmless creatures that rely on plankton for their nutritional needs it is important to weigh the risks involved, especially if one is not a skilled swimmer or diver. Scuba diving skills are not required for swimming with whale shark experiences although avid divers will have an advantage over moderately skilled swimmers when it comes to keeping up with the creatures. Note that since the Maldives does not offer swimming with whale shark tours in enclosed spaces the experience will take place in the open water. One might need to hop on and off the tour boat several times to engage in the activity as whale sharks are known to move fast and change location. One may also need to swim after a particular whale shark once it has been located so good swimming abilities are a must.
5. Group Tour Options
Groups of travellers are also able to engage in whale shark swimming activities together. A maximum of 10 passengers are allowed per tour.
6. Precautions during the Experience
Refrain from touching or getting too close to the whale sharks during the swim and keep a safe distance so as to allow the marine creatures to roam freely. Do not attempt to use flash photography underwater to capture your adventurous experience as this could irritate the marine species and also prove risky for your own safety.