Whale Sharks & New Years

Dec 31, 2015 - National Geographic Sea Bird

Whale Sharks & New Years
Whale shark feeding.
Whale Sharks & New Years
Whale shark feeding.

Cloudy skies found us harbored in La Paz, where we started this final day of 2015.

For the first time, National Geographic Sea Bird organized snorkeling with whale sharks out in the Bay of La Paz. Whale sharks, the largest fish in the sea, are slow-moving filter-feeding sharks, growing up to 12.65 m (41.5 ft.) in length. The Sea of Cortez is regarded as a whale shark nursery and they find shelter as well as an abundance of food in the vicinity of La Paz city.

Observing the regulations set by the Mexican government to protect both animals and visitors, guests had the fabulous opportunity to swim with these magnificent creatures snorkeling in small groups. Careful to not touch part of the shark, swimmers approached within arm’s length of these gentle giants as they glided effortlessly through the plankton-rich waters. Two separate rounds of NG Sea Bird guests set out to find the whale sharks and everyone returned aboard with unforgettable memories.

On our way to Bahia Bonanza on Isla Espiritu Santo, Octavio gave a presentation on cetacean biodiversity in the Sea of Cortez.

We ended the day at the beautiful Bahia Bonanza with a barbecue dinner on the beach after short walks in the desert and a stunning sunset. After enjoying a bonfire on the beach under the stars, we rang in the new year back on board the ship with libations and good cheer. We all went to bed with hopes of a wonderful 2016 New Year.

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About the Author

Octavio Maravilla


Octavio was born in Mexico City and moved to La Paz at age 19, to study Marine Biology at the Baja California Sur State University. He began his field research on California sea lions, working at Los Islotes, a small rookery close to La Paz City. Later, he expanded his research to all the sea lion colonies in the Gulf of California and over the Pacific coast of the Baja California Peninsula — aside sea lions, he studied three other species of Mexican pinnipeds, harbor seals, elephant seals, and Guadalupe fur seals.

About the Videographer

Rodrigo Moterani

Video Chronicler

Rodrigo Moterani was born in Brazil, where he still lives. After spending his teen years playing with camcorders and VCRs, Rodrigo ended up working in the field of television journalism and video production in his home country. He graduated with a degree in communications in 1997.

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