The welcome news is that, after a bit of a hiatus around the end of January and the early part of February, whale sharks are now being found easily and reliably and there are many more of them around. On yesterday’s tour we saw 4 whale sharks in the space of just 90 minutes.
The rainy season on Southern Leyte is now well behind us and we are having mainly sunny days and only very occasional showers, although the north-east wind continues to give rather choppy conditions off west facing shores and out in the middle of the bay – making for great sailing conditions!
A non-profit organisation, Physalus, has recently come to Southern Leyte to monitor the whale shark watching activities here and to compare with them with Oslob, Cebu. As posted previously, the whale shark watching in Southern Leyte is very well managed with the big advantage that it is very quiet. My one criticism of the guides here is that they are not strict enough with people who break the rules. On both of our last 2 tours guests of other operators were deliberately touching the whale shark and this was witnessed by the spotters and the observers from Physalus but no action was taken against the offenders. On the Padre Burgos Castle Resort tours anybody who deliberately touches a whale shark, or interferes with it in any other way, will not be permitted to continue with their whale shark interaction, and if they are part of a private group the whole group’s interaction will be terminated. Touching or interfering with a whale shark is self-evidently harmful to this wild creature and usually also causes it to dive meaning all the other people hoping to swim with it and observe it will miss out. The rules are clearly explained to everyone and hopefully the official guides will enforce this zero-tolerance policy for all offenders to ensure the whale sharks are disturbed as little as possible and all guests are able to enjoy their whale shark watching to the full.