With the first reports of whale shark sightings being received in mid October, and our own opening tour of the 2012/13 season finding 2 whale sharks on 3rd November, we had high hopes of a cracking whale shark watching season. So far, however, this season hasn’t been as outstanding as the last one when we were seeing 4 or 5 whale sharks on every tour right up until the end of May. This season whale sharks have been seen with about 95% reliability since the beginning of December. Although we did see 5 whale sharks on one tour at the beginning of January, most of the time we are seeing just 1 or 2 whale sharks. There have, however, been several occasions when guests were swimming with a whale shark for well over 30 minutes.
So far Padre Burgos Castle Resort has run 13 whale shark tours seeing a total of 24 whale sharks, with a couple of ‘misses’ in mid November and another one last week.
Dolphin watching, which is incorporated into our whale shark watching tours, has been sensational. On only 1 full tour (we’ve run a couple of shortened tours, and one where we drove to the whale shark sanctuary) have we failed to find dolphins. It is impossible to count accurately the number of dolphins we see, but the conservative running total now stands at over 1,100. On the last tour, we had dolphins swimming leisurely on their backs beneath our boat and looking up at us for some ‘people watching’!
Of course, the key question is how will the rest of the season pan out. January and early February form the rainy season here in Southern Leyte, and this year has been no exception. As we come out of that period into more stable and calmer weather all the local operators hope to once again record 100% success rates of finding whale sharks. We will be posting updates both here and on the News Page on our website. Stay tuned!