ThailandTourism

‘Tame’ whale shark swims with tourists for 5 hours in eastern Thailand

A “tame” whale shark swam with tourists for five hours off the coast of Rayong province in eastern Thailand yesterday.

Diving instructor Kru Off, from the Toy Boat Tour group, revealed that he took tourists out to Hin Pleng, a popular dive site about 13 nautical miles off the coast.

As the tourists were swimming and looking at the coral, a 7-metre-long whale shark suddenly approached the divers.

The gentle giant swam in circles around the boat and played with tourists until they were worn out five hours later.

Even when the boat set off back to the shore the whale shark followed for a while before disappearing, said Kru Off.

Kru Off said this one whale shark in particular is like a tame animal. He said he suspects it is the same one that returns to the Hin Pleng dive site every year.

Every year during January and February, a whale shark regularly visits Hin Pleng, with tourists planning trips, especially in hopes of catching a sighting of the elusive mammal.

Kru Off said his company has boats going to the site every day during these months.

Tourists who want the chance for an unforgettable experience like this can board a boat at Ao Ma Kham Pom pier in Kram subdistrict, Klaeng district, Rayong province, said Kru Off.

Last month, a four-metre-long whale shark visited a group of tourists on a snorkelling trip in the waters of Koh Chang in the Gulf of Thailand.

It was considered an extremely rare sighting as whale sharks do not usually venture into such shallow waters.

Danai Unglo, the owner of Mister Khai Tour Company, said he was leading a group of 15 tourists to go snorkelling at Koh Klum island in Trat province’s Koh Chang district when a whale shark approached the boat.

The shark stayed for about 10 minutes before sauntering back into deeper waters.

A 6-metre whale shark approached a longtail boat in Krabi province three weeks ago.

As the shark swam underneath the boat, the longtail boat driver noticed that a large piece of rope – which looked like trawling net – was tightly wrapped around its tail.

The rope cut deep into the animal’s flesh leaving a deep wound. The longtail boat driver says he believes the whale shark swam up to the boat because it needs urgent help.

Thaiger deals

leah

Leah is a translator and news writer for the Thaiger. Leah studied East Asian Religions and Thai Studies at the University of Leeds and Chiang Mai University. Leah covers crime, politics, environment, human rights, entertainment, travel and culture in Thailand and southeast Asia.