I have to say that the whole whale shark diving thing in Mexico is about the most ecologically disgusting event I have participated in in the last decade. The Mexicans do not give a damn about the animals. There were between 45-65 boats following the whale sharks, with 10-20 divers on each boat. It was a zoo. Many of the manta rays had propeller marks on them. very sad. We were able to be alone with them because we could swim faster than most of the people. The Mexicans have tagged a few of them so that they can locate them each day for the divers. I am certain they are not tagged for research. When I booked the dives I did not know what the set-up was. All in all it was very sad. The only reason those whale sharks are protected is because so much money is being made off of taking people to see them. Hopefully the shark finners will not find them.
The tour operation was average. I have been a certified diver since 1975, and have lost count of the number of dive boats I have dove off of. The sandwiches were far from "deli" quality, in fact the first day I almost threw up when I bit into the sandwich. It was white bread, 1 grey colored piece of processed ham, and a slice of plastic American "cheese." I complained and the next day my husband said they were better. The water was VERY, VERY rough on the second and third days. We pre-booked three days. I was VERY surprised that they sent us out on the boat they did on the third day. We had to travel 5 miles farther out as the whale sharks had moved, and the boat was entirely to small for the size of seas we found ourselves in. I was nervous. When we arrived back on shore I went to change and rinse off and some guy was yelling at me "the shower is not to be used, it is not part of your trip." Well the bathroom was where we changed, and for the price we paid, a simple rinse off before an hour long ride back to the hotel did not seem unreasonable. The guy said I needed to use the outside hose. That was not going to happen. Another diver and I went and rinsed off, and changed. No problem. I then went to buy a t-shirt and another guy took the t-shirt down so that I could try it on. The "Captain" came and started yelling at me not to touch his t-shirts. I bought one despite his rudeness. The Captain is definitely a control freak! I am not sure what he is the Captain of, as they round up local boats if they have extra people. It was odd.
The operations all end up at the same point. Be careful if you take children out, as the boats are all jockeying for position and they are not watching for people! We came home with some great pictures but the entire experience reminded me of how much trouble our oceans are really in. Don't let the whole "biodegradable sunscreen" and other ecological references fool you. The boat marks on the manta rays backs tell all.
One more thing, if there was a bathroom on any of the boats, I have no idea where it was!!!
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