Yesterday was one of the best days ever. We started off by getting up at 3.30am (yes 3.30am) to be picked up for 4, to be taken down to Oslob by our really nice driver called John (it was funny that his name was John because it was like we had all our family back together lol). He managed to get us there in 2 hours and considering a lot of the vehicles didn’t even bother with headlights, we made it there without crashing!
I’m actually glad we got collected to early though because it meant that when it came to our time to snorkel with the Whale Sharks (Rhincodon typus) there wasn’t as many people there as I had been told there would be. Now I’m going to be honest and I know some of you won’t agree with this; they use some chum to attract the whale sharks, although most of them are ‘locals’ (one of their locals called Big Momma actually migrated onto Australia but unfortunately died, due to what they think was old age). I don’t normally agree with this but the fact that I was able to show my parents sharks and get their minds changed about their views on sharks being ‘scary’ and ‘man-eaters’, well thats enough for me. If a snorkel like that can change just a few peoples opinions then I think that’s pretty amazing. So little is known about sharks as well so sometimes the only way they can be studied is with close interactions, I know that’s not always the case but the more we can learn the better.
Here’s some fun facts about the beautiful whale shark;
1. (probably the most obvious) Whale Sharks are the largest fish on the planet.
2. Whale Sharks have around 3,000 tiny teeth (less than 6mm) but they don’t use them to eat.
3. Whale Sharks are filter feeders meaning they sieve plankton, krill, squid and small fish through their gills for much of their nourishment.
4. Whale Sharks aren’t fast swimmers, reaching speeds no higher than 5kmph. They swim by using their bodies from side to side, unlike other sharks (eg. Great White), who just use their tails.
5. Whale Sharks are in no way related to whales and although they are sharks, they are very docile and pose no threat to humans; in fact, humans are the main threat to them.
The second part of our day involved visiting Kawasan Falls, which was one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen. It’s a trio of picturesque waterfalls, natural swimming pools and lagoons that are accessible via trails through the jungle, which was also an amazing experience within itself. The water from the Kawasan Falls comes from the Kabukalan Spring and passes through the Matutinao River and Tanon Strait. We went from walking along side the rivers, to over bridges in the jungle, through the river, climbing up and down various parts of nature to access these unbelievable sights. It did make me laugh when we got to the top and dad was like “do we have to go down the same way?! I can’t do it I’m just going to get stuck in the jungle”, but he managed to get down and I’m proud of him for facing his fears :’)
I feel like we were really lucky as well because we had our own private tour guide so it was just him and us, giving us a very one on one, non-busy experience, which I am really grateful for. We were also only one of the few people to be at Kawsan Falls at the time that we arrived, but we definitely noticed a difference in the number of people that were there when we ended out tour at 11.30am.
So Top Tip; If you ever get the chance to visit these beautiful falls, GO EARLY!! It’s a much better experience and also allows you to get the ‘perfect Instagram’ photos without anyone else in the background ;).
I hope you’ve enjoyed a lot more pretty photos (sorry not sorry). Going to end this post, again, going back to the ocean with a short video of our Whale Shark experience. Love.