Whale shark swim returns to Ningaloo as gentle giants spotted today
Whale sharks have been spotted off Ningaloo today, kicking off the touring season for North West operators.
Ningaloo Blue Director Pete McKissock sent spotter planes up several times over the past few weeks on the lookout for the gentle giants but recorded no sightings.
However, the creatures made their grand entrance today with not just one, but four whale sharks spotted.
Ningaloo Visitor’s Centre chairperson Jackie Brooks said 2019’s tours from Exmouth to Coral Bay were expected to start immediately, now that the first whale sharks of the year had been sighted.
“Tour operators are hoping that this will be another bumper year after the number of interaction swims for 2018 were estimated (to be) over 32,000,” she said.
“The number of tours rose once more, (with) 1,845 recorded last year and 1,734 the year before.”
Ningaloo Marine Park's tropical waters are considered one of the best places to swim with the 12 tonne whale sharks between March and August due to reliability of numbers and accessibility to interact with the slow moving giants.
The whale shark sighting success rate over the nine operators in Exmouth and two in Coral Bay was about 97 per cent, according to Ms Brooks.
“I am very excited on the arrival of the whale sharks,” she said.
“To be in the water with something that big is certainly an incredible experience.”
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