Whale Sharks, the Big Friendly Giants

I was always told that seeing a whale shark in the water with you will leave you awe struck and speechless. If you know me in real life, then you know that there are very few times that I am speechless, much to hubs disappointment (especially when he’s trying to sleep).
snorkeling with whale sharks oslob philippines
We made great time on our road trip and arrived in Oslob by around 9:30. As soon as you reach the small town, you’re bombarded with signs leading to businesses that will take you out to see the whale sharks. I admit that it was a huge tourist trap but sometimes you just have to suck it up, put on your ‘I love Cebu’ T-shirt and fanny pack and join the other tourists in order to see one of the most amazing things I have ever laid my eyes on.
snorkeling with whale sharks oslob philippines
We first had to sit through a five minute safety and informational speech. They explained to us that each day they send boats out that throw small fish into the water to attract the whale sharks. This is yes, for the purpose of tourism, but also so scientists in the area can come tag them, study their behavior and hopefully use this information to protect them in the future. Around 12 o’clock, the feeding stops so the whale sharks will go back into the wilderness and hunt on their own, therefore discouraging dependency on the program.
Once in a lifetime experience to snorkel with Whalesharks
They also explained (with diagrams I might add) that we must at all times stay at least four meters away from the whale sharks. If we did not adhere to this law we were warned that we could either be fined (about $50) or sent to jail for a few weeks. No problem we thought. Don’t touch…got it. We had no idea just how difficult that would be until we got in the water with them. We headed away from the information tent and towards the water. As soon as we stepped foot on the beach, we could see fins stretching out of the water and towards the sky, along with massive shadows lurking beneath the surface.
Getting up close and personal with whale sharks in the philippines
Technically a shark but getting the name because it’s as big as some whales; these giants can get up to almost 12 meters (41.5 ft) long and can weigh more than 47,000 tons. Their mouth alone can reach up to 5 feet in length! But don’t worry, they’re filter feeders, eating only small fish, plankton and krill. The largest we saw that day was over 9 meters (29.5 feet) long.
closeup of whale shark in philippines
We hopped in one of the small narrow boats that littered the water front, filled with people anxious for a glimpse of the infamous giants. We prepped inside the boat and donned our mask and fins as quickly as we could so we wouldn’t waste a minute of our allotted 35 minutes in the water. Once we ducked under the water we knew what people meant when they said we would be in awe. We did not see just one whale shark, but nine gliding through the crystal clear waters, taking turns it seemed, to surface and gulp down the tiny fish the boats were pouring into the waters. 
split view of whale shark in philippines
As I was hanging onto the boat, readjusting my goggles, my feet dangling in the water, I felt a sudden jolt under my feet. Shocked and curious, I put my head down in the water and saw one of the massive beings swimming just inches under me. It had quite literally ran into me. See what I mean about it being difficult to stay far away? Panicked, I looked up to my tour guide to see if he had caught what had just happened. He let out a small chuckle and told me not to worry, it happened all the time. All they want is food and many times they pay no attention to the dozens of swimmers in the water around them. There were even times when I looked over at hubs and had to hurriedly motion for him to move out of the way because one of the whale sharks, mouth wide open, was just inches behind him, heading his way.snorkeling with whale sharks oslob philippines
whale sharks oslob philippines
After spending every last moment we could in the water, we headed back for shore, not being able to wipe the childish grins off of our faces. On the way back home, the rain caught up with us as we rode the last hour in the pouring rain. Soaked to the bone as we arrived back at our hotel, smiles still plastered on our faces, the staff questioned us about how it went. It was the perfect ending to the perfect weekend getaway.
snorkeling with whale sharks cebu philippines
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  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09546368048033466211 Chymecindy**

    Wow i live in Cebu for few years and i didnt know we have this kind of thing there. Very nice indeed. Lovely photos.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07641031214129879931 Nicole Skala

    this is amazing!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03931868839533482992 Alyssa Roman

    I would LOVE to do this! I swam with dolphins when I was little and it’s still one of the coolest things I’ve ever experienced! This would top that and it’s going on my bucket list! Thank you for sharing; the pics are amazing! :)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07258150784728680094 Katherine Nolden

    I would love to do that! I swam with nurse sharks earlier in the year and it completely freaked me out but I think I’m up for something bigger! Something bigger that won’t eat me that is! Love your photos!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01079473916722620673 Erika from Chimerikal

    Whoa, this is super intense! AWESOME!!! And that’s cool that they use the time for studying them but also cut off the time that they do it so as not to create dependency!


  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17428761171733001872 Mar

    Wow! What an amazing experience! This is definitely on the bucket list. The under water world is so amazing. Although not a adrenaline junkie like your hubs, I too have a dream to dive with great whites. Like you, my hubs thinks I’m nuts!

    Love your blog!

    Mar @ t.o. & fro (www.intothealaskanwild.blogspot.com)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04585816729964741872 Jay

    Oh my gosh! What an incredible experience. You wouldn’t catch me doing it (I don’t even like snorkeling with small fish) but that looks like an experience of a lifetime!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14676620702686096489 Mei Diver

    Wow, I can’t believe the water was so clear! Usually it’s really murky where they swim.

    Mei @ Diary of a Fair Weather Diver

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05802120402338380131 Sarah Burton

    That is incredible!! I really don’t like what lives in the ocean but I’ve always wanted to do this. I’ve only heard good things.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12090735810562146009 M and L

    another thing you’re taking me to do. you two are so freakin FUN!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15491893490987800723 Kayli Schattner

    I think it is so totally cool that you guys had the opportunity to do this! I would definitely get in and swim. NOT because I wouldn’t be completely scared, but because it’s a once in a lifetime experience that I’d have too much trouble turning down! Great pictures!


  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03990846614816352337 Courtney McCarty

    What an insane experience! I just added something to my bucketlist, beat swimming with dolphins but a long shot!

    A Golden State of Mind

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12975568914112746129 Sarah Elizabeth

    Oh my goodness! I went diving with sharks once and ever since THIS has been on my list. Yesterday I got home from the Great Barrier Reef where I went scuba diving and the withdrawals I am feeling already have been met with this insanely wonderful post – so glad I stumbled across your blog! I can’t wait!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03092640227303901791 Lauren Roerick Miller

    Oh my gosh! This looks amazing! I am soooo envious right now. I’ve never swam with anything that big, but it’s on my list! Cute suit too :)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08190048508109863004 Corinne

    Oh my goodness!!! Those photos are absolutely AMAZING!!! What a once-in-a-lifetime experience! I absolutely am in awe of your photos – they look like you were “floating” in front of a green screen :)
    SO glad you two were able to make it!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02277056535139881326 Z

    I’m awestruck!!! what an insane experience – and I thought swimming with dolphins was exciting!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15061162372839629256 Candice @ Just Stay Lovely

    these pictures are incredible! what did you use to take them?? Props to you! I would of never gotten in that water!!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07679910138231076460 i am pam

    i have to say this is pretty freaking cool. we have a couple off the coast of FL but you have to go so far.

    very special.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01750057589299019545 Amanda Massie

    OMG how awesome is this!

    Xo, Amanda


  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12867459615605646994 Emily Woodard

    Amazing! This sounds like such a cool experience! It’s officially on my bucket list. Such cool photos too!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03123428434755419344 MIH Janise

    Beautiful pictures! Stopping by from THE Collective Social Blog Hop to say hi. Thank you for linking up. Have a fabulous day!


  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07092572372177135861 Ashley

    Wow!!!!! After seeing your pictures, I would ABSOLUTELY swim with them, too!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12050447967374041694 Rachel

    What a great experience! They’re HUGE compared to you guys. :)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07137273789366845362 Heather Marie

    WOAH how awesome is that!!!!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10661999435893416022 Lisa @ Two Martinis

    WOWWWWW!!!!!!!!! Your pictures are amazing. What camera did you guys use?! I don’t think I could ever swim with those guys, I’m such a wimp around fish! (Yes, this is completely irrational.)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08300509693671365389 Sam M

    How COOOL! Dang, that looks amazing. And I’m so amazed at how clear the water is that your photos turned out amazing. Do you guys have an underwater camera?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15123504761362353294 Kelsea

    The pictures are amazing! Good for you for not freaking out. Something about being next to something so powerful and big has a way of bringing life into perspective, huh? Glad you had a great time! New reader, here!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03775057797841644512 Pamela

    This is THE coolest thing! Ever!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09391862385530183874 Kerrin Chance

    that last picture is incredible! all these are amazing but i love that last one!

    xoxo kerri

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10484713830137198094 Marissa Sexton

    Hi Chelsea! Just came across your blog from the Bloglovin hop over at Postcards from Rachel. I will definitely be reading more. Swimming with semi-sharks! #saywhat?!? You go girl!


  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04572210880507358799 Beatriz Ramos

    It is amazing. An experience that you will never forget. Feel very lucky.



  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06720694596549999667 Caroline

    oh gosh this is just incredible! so insane! my best friend has been trying to convince me to have “swim with whale sharks” on our bucket list for months now… guess i’ll have to oblige, ha!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05022023043718407104 Bonnie Rose

    Wow your photos are all kind of awesomeness.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13187265846570274210 themosbysinchina

    Wowoowow! I want to doooo that! Like ASAP! Looks amazing!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14046422418558670995 nicole

    oh. my. goodness. this has got to be the coolest thing in the world. the pictures are so amazing, and i can’t even imagine the experience! this is going on my bucket list, for sure.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16639909668404009769 Daisy Bisley

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16639909668404009769 Daisy Bisley

    I’ve wanted to swim with sharks for years, but I always had in mind the dangerous ones where I’d be in a cage! But this looks incredible, and the pics are just fantastic

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09032790600097081536 David

    That looks awesome!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16539981187921601209 Dannielle

    This looks like such an amazing experience! and great that you got such nice pictures, although I’m sure you will remember it forever anyways!

    Dannielle @ Chic-a-Dee

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12838101155785905633 Jennifer

    These photos are amazing! WOW! Love it.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08563442390740639521 Amy @ The Tide That Left

    Oh my goodness, this is amazing. It’s just made me realise I really need to buy some kind of underwater camera for our travels. You never know when you might need it.
    What an experience! So glad that your flat tyre didn’t stop you from seeing it.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07672672046096104876 Melyssa @ The Nectar Collective

    Sometimes it trips me out because you’re such a sweet little lady but then you are also a total freaking badass! I would LOVE to do this! Though I think I would be FREAKING OUT right before. Your pictures are so cool! Love the adventure!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10414621469335501102 Erin Moran

    Amazing photos Chelsea! I showed some of my colleagues, they’ve decided they would never swim with whale sharks! I think I could, at least I hope I could :) However, any other type of shark I couldn’t do!

    Erin x

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10278068738190185891 Susanne V.

    That sounds absolutely amazing! And the photos are amazing too.
    If I ever had the courage to do that, I would!


  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02036362902000775806 Just Dont Tell Anyone

    well, I’m speechless now. They look HUGE! My God! how brave you are! I cannot imagine myself doing that.. I don’t know. I was some kind of a scared even to swim with dolphins. And these are Sharks.. no matter what they eat. I’m not sure if I could do that, even though it looks awesome!!!
    Probably I would just need a good and long preparation for it… :))
    Amazing photos! Your life is perfect, guys! =)))

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09003557241706804723 Leeann @ Join the Gossip

    This is so AMAZING! What a cool experience. These photos are incredible. You win for best weekend ever!

    Thanks for linking up :)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03922244857090646169 danica

    that’s awesome! what an amazing experience. :)

  • http://lifeisswede.wordpress.com/ lifeisswede

    Wow! I am awe struck by your amazing experience and adventurous life! Looking forward to reading more…

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01246255931160856214 Katie Cook

    Hoooollllyyyy Mooolllyyyy I would be SO scared! Like seriously whenever we snorkle, there is RULE that kEvin has to hold my hand because I’m so afraid of fish!! hahah! This looks amazing girl! I’m assuming you used an underwater camera…I need to invest in one of those!! Which one do you have? love your adventures so so much! love Katie

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10497313007456591101 Allie

    Ahhh would I ever do this? Yes yes and yes!! I’m trying to (legit) plan a trip for it…right now. Like I’m so jealous…you don’t even know. I almost died at the Georgia Aquarium, that would be a dream! Thank you for letting me enjoy it vicariously through you! xx

    Allie @ callmesassafras.wordpress.com

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10061342513632102748 Jennifer

    Oh my… I don’t think words can truly capture what a beautiful experience that must have been,

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11002982392134986326 Yuen Lim

    Wow that looks like so much fun! I’m probably be petrified, but that is just so cool (:

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14766667413506301036 Lizzy @ Lizzy’s Luggage

    WOW! Those pictures are AMAZING! So jealous! I’m sure the experience was priceless!


  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13920094316606620616 New Wave Domesticity

    Oh my gosh! AMAZING! Thank you so much for sharing this! It will now be at the top of my dream travels list!

    PS – What kind of camera did you use for the underwater shots? They are so clear and beautiful!!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02151528440168283486 Kenzie @ Chasing Happy

    Wow, that’s incredible! And I thought snorkeling with barracudas was exciting… you win! 😉

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06615647732466346042 Cassie Marshall

    THIS IS SO AMAZING,what an experience!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05895471667361654831 Sydney @ Always Without Words

    I want to swim with them so bad, but my husband would not. I’m dying to get into the water with them. I’d do it in a heartbeat.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11630940800322159103 Laura Cristina

    Love, Love, Love these pictures!!! What camera did you use? What an experience to swim with such amazing creatures! The closest i’ve come to a whale shark is seeing them at the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium, in one of the biggest tanks in the world and even through a gigantic glass these whale sharks leave you in awe.

    I don’t really like fish so i’m not sure i would swim with them but i know my husband would love this!!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15562865996607992430 VintageLoveandPhotographs

    Oh wow! That’s kind of crazy!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08468452077289444925 Setarra

    OMMMMMMMMGGGGEEEEE! This is soooo ah-mazing! You guys are such a fearless couple! And hot, if I may add (cute bikini!). What camera did you use to take pics with? These photos are soo clear and vibrant!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09110686438222134785 Kelsey

    Wow this is incredible. It’s unbelievable how close you can get to them too! I’d probably be too scared myself, but I love that you both gave it ago!
    Keep up the great posts, love reading about your adventures.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07128351244071104699 Alisha

    You know I would do it!! Looks incredible! Glad you had an amazing time! Much love <3

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01699594650305506763 M. at Making Sense of Cents

    Wow these pictures are crazy! Looks like a great experience.