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Date :
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April 14, 2004

Whaleshark Mooning at Donsol, Philippines

Every place has it's little summer getaway.
In Munich people go sunbathing at one of the plentiful lakes north of the Alps. In Hong Kong every Sunday droves of people hop on a ferry or a junk and cruise to one of the "Outlying Islands" like for example, Lamma Island. In San Francisco you either cruise up to Sonoma or down to Monterey.
In Manila we drive down to Donsol, southern Luzon and moon whalesharks.
Originally I wanted to see if I can get those beasts excited by stroking their flanks and maybe tickling their balls a little but that got me into trouble with the local wildlife preservers. You are not supposed to touch them. Well, they didn't say anything about visually stimulating them a little and that's how I ended up mooning them.

Those wildlife preservers down there did a really great job.
In Donsol, where those animals congregate in large numbers, the locals used to slaughter them by the hundreds and sell the meat and blubber to Japan and the fins to China. One day a wildlife guy happen to pass by, found out about those whalesharks and started a program to protect them. He convinced the local fishermen to stop hunting the fish and organize whaleshark spotting tours for tourists instead.
It works wonderfully. The tourists are happy because they get to experience something they normally could only watch on Discovery Channel. The fishermen are happy because they are making good bucks from the tourists and believe me the whalesharks are really happy too. At least they were until the aggressively shy Stick Insect Hunter got to them.
There are a lot of whalesharks down there. We saw eight of them within one hour and that is not counting the ones other boat parties around us were interacting with.
Whaleshark spotting works like this:
You are on a small boat with about five guys on it. Three are steering the boat (which can get really tricky once you are near the shark), one is sitting on top of the mast to look for the fish and another one is the dive guide.
Once your spotter spotted one, they direct the boat towards it and then at the command of the guide you jump into the water right next to the shark. Now, those babies are big, really, really big. They average 25 ft in length and weight about 15 tons. To put this in perspective, that's the size of a ten wheeler truck and double it's legal weight. The first time I jumped in the water it was a little murky. Once I had my mask and vision adjusted I was looking at this huge, grey-brown wall with white dots on it right in front of me. I almost jumped back out of the water and up on the boat again in panic. It does get easier though after the third or fourth one and after seven it's plain routine. It took me about five sharks before I got brave enough to moon them a little.
That's how that unfortunate incident happened whereas I unintentionally almost killed our diving guide.
When he saw me mooning the shark he laughed so loud that I could hear him underwater from a few feet away. As you all know you are not suppose to laugh very hard when you are eight feet under water. Fortunately we were able to revive him.

Those cheap underwater cameras are not really that great. None of the mooning pictures turn out well. Anyway you guys have all seen my ass before. Here are some pictures of the sharks and a picture of me mooning. You can put them together in your mind.

Oh yeah, I nearly forgot. Did you know that Calamaris are actually made of the assholes of whale sharks? The next time you order a plate full of deep fried calamari please keep in mind how many whalesharks have to be slaughtered just to get one plateful.

click pictures to enlarge


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