The months of June to September are busy around the Isla Mujeres which is the time of year for the whale shark migration. Whale sharks feed on the tiny bits of plankton and swarm the area where the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico waters combine. Swimming with these sharks in their natural environment brings professional photographers and tourists alike to the seven-mile area where the sharks feed. This is a once in a lifetime experience that needs to be undertaken to help appreciate and understand these magnificent underwater giants.
The eco-tourism is designed to work with the whale sharks by understanding their migration patterns and when the best time to find them feeding. There are number of whale shark tours on the Isla Mujeres but it is important to keep a few things in mind. First these are not tame, they are in their natural environment and divers, photographers and swimmers need to remember that. Be selective in your tour group, choose one that is trained in underwater rescue and lifesaving with the proper equipment.
Reputable boat tours will answer your questions and offer proper equipment and have their certifications in order. Swimming with the whale sharks is one of the highlights of your trip. Be sure to follow the rules which are enforced by the Mexican authorities. It is better to stay with the authorized tour boats and charters than risk jail time and interruption of your vacation.
Whale sharks live from 60 to 150 years and are solitary animals. They have been studied and observed for several years and adults are usually twenty-five feet in length with a five-foot mouth filled with over 300 teeth. They strain plankton from the water as it passes through their gills. Each whale shark has a unique pattern of stripping and dots along its skin. Come swim with these giants and make your next vacation a true ‘fish story’ .