1. It All Started in 1998
January 1998 marked the discovery of whale shark aggregation in a bay near Donsol by a group of divers. The news spread like wildfire attracting tourists and sadly, even hunters. Responding to the media clamor which ensued the killing of 7 whale sharks, Donsol waters were declared a “whale shark sanctuary”. Soon after, hunting and trading was banned across the entire country by the national government (F.A.O.-193). That same year, tourism was initiated as a collaboration between World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)-Philippines and the local government to protect whale sharks from further consumptive exploitation while improving the socio-economic status of the community.
2. The Trendsetter
Donsol was the first place in the Philippines to spearhead a scientific study on live whale sharks. WWF-Philippines has monitored the presence of the gigantic fish in the waters of Donsol since 1998. Likewise worthy of note would be the collaborations with few independent researchers and institutes. They have indeed worked hard to collect a large amount of data on these leviathans, aiding to shed light upon their enigmatic life. By photo-identification and tagging, more than 380 individuals have already been identified. Some of them were tracked crossing national and international borders using these 2 methods.
3. Let’s Snorkel NOW!
Whale shark interaction is strictly a snorkelling activity in Donsol. In the months of December to July, a large number of whale sharks are commonly seen converging at Donsol Bay. They have been observed to be coming from migration from other areas of Ticao Pass, including that of the Montreal. They stay for 6 – 7 months after arriving somewhere between November to December, feeding on the influx of rich nutrients at the mouth of Donsol river.
4. They are Early this Year!
Thursday, 5 Dec 2013, the WWF-Philippines reported an unusual rise in interactions with the giant fish in Donsol in the last quarter of 2013, resulting to an increment in the number of tourists. It seems that they have deviated from their usual visit starting in Dec and ending in May. Since early November, WWF recorded almost daily sightings. Word is getting around and tourists are starting to arrive. Timely reservations for your trip are highly recommended.
5. Other Treats
Aside from whale shark interaction, Donsol proffers more interesting treats for divers exploring Manta Bowl and San Miguel Island. A parade of manta ray, bamboo shark, mandarin fish, lion fish, ghost pipe fish, puffer fish, seahorse, moray eel and colourful nudibranch surely make your trip something to look forward to.
If you are ready to meet the gentle giants and say hello to the rest of the entourage we just have mentioned, sign up NOW! and join our trip on 12 – 16 March 2014 for 5D4N Donsol Whale Shark Interaction and Leisure Dive Package . Limited spaces left, so hurry! For more details, please contact us at +65 65366532 or send us an email at [email protected] Dive with you soon!