Diving with a Whale Shark

August 05, 2010 | By Elynn Lorimer

Diving with a Whale Shark
  • Introduction

An amazing encounter with a whale shark while diving off the Southeast coast of Malaysia.

Photos by Joel Grenehammar

For divers, you never know what you’ll see on any given dive, but usually the bigger the fish the more exciting it is.

So when we jumped into the sea off the coast of Malaysia and right underneath us in less than 10 metres of clear blue water was a 6m whale shark, it was like winning the lottery.

We hovered in the water, enthralled, suspended in time while this gentle giant moved amongst us with sinuous shark-like grace.  

He swam around us for about 20 minutes seeming to enjoy the bubbles and gawking admirers. And then as if suddenly bored with the attention, the whale shark vanished into the depths, leaving us in wonder and awe. We surfaced and just laughed. Wow.


  • Whale sharks are the biggest species of fish and can get up to about 15m.
  • They look like huge sharks, but as filter feeds they are harmless to anything bigger than a pinky.  
  • They are found in warm tropical oceans and travel with an entourage of smaller fish picking up the crumbs.
  • Whale sharks are considered by conservationists to be vulnerable to extinction although in some regions they are still targets of commercial fishing.

The Dive Itinerary: (this should be plotted on a map)

This trip was aboard the White Manta, a ‘liveaboard’ specializing in dive tours around Southeast Asia.

It departed from Singapore on Friday evening and cruised through the night in the direction on the Anambas Islands for wreck diving at the sunken ‘Seven Skies’.

After that we headed back in the direction of Malaysia, stopping for dinner and a night dive at Pulau Aur.  The next day, not far from here we saw the whale shark, finished our last dive and headed back to Singapore, arriving at about 10pm.


The price of this Liveaboard tour is between US$500 to $580 depending on your preferred cabin type (with or without bathroom).

Price includes:  meals, port fee, 2 nights accommodation, 6 dives, tanks and weight belt, dive guide, daily cabin service, towel, drinking water, hot beverage, snacks.

Excludes: Gear rental, diving on nitrox, personal and diving Insurance.

Check out the story links for more detail on this dive and others in the region. 

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Find out more about Liveaboard Dive Tours in Southeast Asia and the South China Sea by White Manta

If you are interested in diving in Southeast Asia, start planning your trip now by searching for flights to Singapore or Thailand.

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Travel Tips

  • Don’t forget your passport as you’ll need to get an Indonesia visa for this itin.
  • Check seasonality for different dive regions in Southeast Asia. Monsoons and pleasant diving don’t go well together.

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