Inspired by Rob Stewart’s self-cam footage in Sharkwater, I turned my camera around and took some footage of me swimming with whale sharks off of Isla Mujeres, Mexico. Shot with Canon 5D Mark II, Tokina 17mm/3.5 lens. 0260619
Rob was in Isla Mujeres the week before I was, and shot similar footage (although he dove down, whereas I stayed on the surface).
Whenever I travel with Heidi, I rely on her to properly chronicle our experiences in words — and, of course, she didn’t disappoint. Heidi has just posted an in-depth trip journal from our time with the whale sharks in Isla Mujeres. I’m off to read it!
The hundreds of whale sharks that aggregate off of Isla Mujeres each year are here in a massive feeding frenzy. Their food are the eggs of bonito, which are released in huge quantities during spawning events in July and August. During our hours in the water each day with the sharks, our wetsuits act like egg collectors; by the end of the day, we have eggs all over our skin. Nathalie was nice enough to allow us to photograph eggs on her arm. She makes a great skin model.
It has been extremely difficult to capture the scale of the whale shark (Rhincodon typus) migration off of Isla Mujeres. Underwater, one can only snap a still photo of 4-5 sharks at the most, and my 11-shark video sequence was the best I could do. From the tuna tower of the boat, hundreds of sharks are visible, but the ones in the distance are hard to make out in a still photo at web resolution.
We’re going up in the air today to try to capture something that really shows the scale of the migration. The sharks are dwindling in number by the day because bonito spawn on the lunar cycle, but hopefully, we will come back with something compelling!
We had in excess of 500 whale sharks (Rhincodon typus) at Isla Mujeres today in perfectly clear skies and mirror-flat water. I am speechless… but not speechless enough to try to upload some video (the internet is fast enough tonight for me to get a few videos online).
Click through for 3D version of the video, plus a bonus video of Heidi Connal swimming with a “botella” (bottle) — a whale shark that is vertical in the water gulping water without moving (well, it rotates, but it stays in the same place). (read more »)
A whale shark (Rhincodon typus) feeds in a bonito spawning event off of Isla Mujeres, Mexico
There’s no other way to put it: our first day of photographing the whale shark aggregation off of Isla Mujeres, Mexico, was absolutely epic. Within an hour of leaving port, we found a group of over 300 whale sharks, all feeding constantly on the huge concentration of fish eggs in the water. I’m exhausted now and don’t have time to process and video (I’ve been shooting both 2D video with the Canon 5D Mark II and 3D video with my custom rig), but I can at least present a few photos (for now — more later, including 3D, slow-motion whale shark feeding!). (read more »)