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The whale shark, the largest fish in the sea, is an immense animal that can reach lengths of 50 feet. Though it seems to barely sweep its large vertical tail, the whale shark is capable of swimming much faster than a scuba diver, so chasing one is rarely productive. Like most marine animals, they are both curious and wary. If you are lucky enough to find yourself in the water with a whale shark, move slowly, avoiding jerky motions. Rather than swimming at the animal, set a parallel course and slide closer a little bit at a time. Avoid prolonged eye contact. By approaching in a non-threatening manner, you may enjoy an encounter of minutes or even hours with this amazing, gentle giant of the sea.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|