How beautiful is this 😍
Photo by ft. 💎
Words by Brinkley below.
We got up at 4 am, jumped in another small wooden boat, ready to make our way from the island of Maratua, over to East Kalimantan, and along the way, in the middle of the ocean, we came across a patch of ocean where were neither shy, nor hide to find. 💧
I have worked with whale sharks for the past few years at home in Australia, in both tourism, and research/ conservation, on the Ningaloo Reef, a place that leads the way in whale shark tourism. Teaching people about their importance in our ecosystems and their struggle against extinction due to anthropogenic pressures such as overfishing, being targeted for their fins, and falling victim to plastic pollution. Before this trip I hadn’t seen a whale shark anywhere else, and have been intrigued to see how things were run elsewhere. .
After steaming for 4 hours, we arrived at a small boat with winged platforms in the middle of the ocean far from anywhere, with very fine nets that were dropped into the water periodically around the full moon, a fisherman would live out here for a month, in a tiny wooden hut on the boat the size of a normal household toilet, and fish for the month.
The whale sharks were attracted to the organic matter that was grinded up and falling off the platform into the water, they swam around under this set up, filter feeding on whatever was around, and then diving.
The Indonesians told me about how they call them the “ Star Sharks “ , and in a place where many people would easily resort to accepting more money to catch, kill and sell these animals fins, these fisherman have chosen to live in harmony with these animals, and let the odd few tourists who come by every once in a while, to jump in and swim with them. ⭐️⭐️⭐️
There was around 7 whale sharks when we first jumped in, and we spent about 2 hours in the water with them. I was thrilled to see not one piece of plastic floating by during this time. .