Here is some footage from our trip to Ningaloo Reef, Exmouth, Western Australia (May 2010) featuring our encounters with the largest fish in the world - whale sharks (Rhincodon typus). This trip was our first attempt at taking underwater footage.
These gentle giants roam the oceans filter feeding on some of the smallest macroscopic sea life - such as krill and plankton. Unfortunately, they are a threatened species and are still a mystery to scientists striving to understand their migration and breeding habits. Whale sharks can grow to about 13 m long (some unofficial reports state ~17 m) and can weigh some 30 tonnes! They have mouths wider than the height of a human and could conceivably (accidentally) swallow someone whole! The whale sharks that we swum with in this video were only youngsters and approx 7 - 8 meters in length. They still looked enormous, and it is hard to imagine what a 17 m whale shark would look like!!!
This was my 6th attempt to swim with whale sharks. I tried 5 times in Belize and Honduras whilst doing a PADI rescue diver course and narrowly missed out on each occasion. This time we hit the jackpot! :-) We spent an entire day swimming with the huge and graceful fish due to some clever organisation on the part of the Ningaloo tour operators who employ spotter planes to aid the search. In typical fashion, the Australian authorities highly regulate the interactions that visitors are allowed to have with whale sharks to prevent disturbing them. To be honest, this is probably a good thing to protect the longevity of this species, given humans are their greatest threat. However, as you can see we still managed to get pretty close! ;-)
Thanks to "Ningaloo WhaleShark'n'Dive" for an awesome day out. We highly recommend these guys for both dive and snorkel expeditions if ever you are out that way:
Most of the footage is from my trusty GoPro with the EoM bag. A couple of the shots, that we weren't allowed to get (i.e. under the shark), or couldn't get (i.e. of me filming!), were ripped from the whaleshark'n'dive souvenir video. I have also colour corrected all the clips using some custom filters - I am still working on these filters and if anyone has any suggestions on how to improve them that would be much appreciated.
It is fairly difficult to swim and film at the same time. It doesn't look it, but these fish were really cruising along at ~5km/h. Bry with her superior swimming skills was able to keep up with and even overtake the sharks at some points, but at the expense of steady video. It is possible to steady the video digitally, but it comes at the expense of frame size, so I have left it the way it was shot. After our amateur attempts of underwater videography we have developed a whole new appreciation for the amazing footage on real nature documentaries (i.e. David Attenborough etc)
Hope you enjoy!
For more of our Ningaloo Reef dive videos please check out:
(stay tuned, more to come!)
For our other videos:
Music credits: "Little Wing" written by Jimi Hendrix and performed by Stevie Ray Vaughan (I thought about using a recording of myself doing this song, but SRV does it so much better! hahah. I know that I don't have the license for this song, but I'm willing to offer Jimi or SRV's relatives the free use, non-commercially and with acknowledgement, of any one of my band's songs in exchange - can find them here: facebook.com/PCoRock and here: ilike.com/artist/Perpendicular+Columns+Of+Rock)
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