Guest Perspective – Whale Shark Swim

Swimming with whale sharks is a bucket list experience for many people, and something lots of our guests choose to do here at Ningaloo Reef. To help explain what this experience is really like, we asked one of our recent guests, Jodie, to describe the day she met these gentle giants of the deep.


“Today I had THE most incredible experience of my life… I swam alongside ENORMOUS whale sharks at Ningaloo Reef!

When I woke up in my eco-luxe safari tent at Sal Salis this morning, I could hardly contain myself! I was so excited and just a little bit nervous. I’d been looking forward to swimming with whale sharks for YEARS, and today was the day!

We enjoyed a gourmet breakfast before being kitted out with snorkelling gear and transferring to Tantabiddi Boat Ramp. Before we knew it, Live Ningaloo’s boat, Wave Rider was cruising to one of Ningaloo Reef’s finest snorkelling spots, where we would encounter an aquatic paradise, which was positively teeming with colourful marine life.

While our intimate group of ten immersed ourselves in this unspoilt underwater wonderland of coral and sea creatures busily going about their business, a spotter plane was looking for whale sharks for us to swim with. After a little while, we jumped back aboard Wave Rider and waited for the signal.

It wasn’t long before the stars of the show were close by. We all gathered at the edge of the boat. We could hardly wait to jump in and swim alongside these gentle giants of the deep.

Whale sharks may be the largest fish in the sea, but they are completely harmless to humans… That’s what I kept telling myself, as I waited for the signal to take the plunge of my life!

Captain Murray gave his two thumbs up signal and we didn’t hesitate. We slipped into the water and as we looked down, white spots came into focus below us. A massive whale shark was making its way to the surface. It was gracefully moving through the water just a few metres away from us, completely unfazed by our presence. I wasn’t the least bit frightened of it. The adrenaline was rushing through me and I felt so ALIVE! We swam as fast as we could to keep up with this delightful creature, but it had soon disappeared into the deep. It was the most exhilarating experience of my life!

We could hardly contain our excitement as we jumped back aboard Wave Rider and devoured a delicious lunch of crisp salads with vinaigrettes,  cold meats and freshly baked bread.

We wanted more time with whale sharks, and we weren’t disappointed. We were given several more opportunities to swim with these amazing marine creatures in the world-renowned turquoise waters Ningaloo Reef throughout the day.

I am so happy I’ve finally ticked this amazing experience off my bucket list, however, I fear everything else on my list will pale in comparison!

Back at Sal Salis the team followed up our experience with talks by another biologist and then a bushwalk with one of their guides. This really helped to set the scene in terms of the ecological significance of not only the whale sharks, but the Ningaloo Reef and the Cape Range National Park.

Now it’s time for sunset drinks and canapes by the water followed by some star gazing… I haven’t even left yet and I already want to do it all again!”