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The Dives

My first trip to Djibouti was in 2003. On that occasion, I had the chance to spot 30 whale sharks, and the opportunity to swim with some of them. In Tadjura, they're here to feed, so they can stay vertically for quite some time. My personnal record was 15mn alone with "my" whale-shark. The animals spotted in Tadjura are usually small  and young ones, around 2/3m long. I saw once a 5m animal, the only one that size.

In 2005, it was an entirely different scenario. The plancton was very late, and very few animals had been seen since the beginning of the season (about a dozen in a month). On the afternoon of our arrival, we saw only one ws, for about 2 seconds.

At night, and it was the first of three nights in a row, we were surrounded by whale sharks around the boat. I think that it was on the last night that we had up until 8 animals at the same time. We had a powerful lamp on one side of the boat, which lured thousands of small fishes - like sardins - and the 10cm animals brought the 5/7m animals around us !! It was amazing, they were almost fighting for the small fishes, and they certainly didn't care whether or not we were in the water !!

As one can see on the sequence, we were very close to the animals. Contrary to the regular ws in Tadjura, they were bigger animals, around 5/7 meters long, with one 10m, and only one or two small 3m. We were allowed to swim with them for a long time, in fact, each time, when we went to bed, they were still around the boat.

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