After a fabulous start to the whale shark season right at the beginning of November, late November through mid December was disappointing with few reported sightings. Things picked up just in time for Christmas and, despite rather rainy weather and a tropical storm passing nearby just before New Year, whale shark tours over the festive season were very successful.
That storm brought a lot of rain and water visibility was dramatically reduced for several days. By the end of the first week in January, however visibility was much improved and since then the whale shark watching has been getting better and better. As of now there are plenty of whale sharks around, and they are easy to find making for multiple interactions on each tour. With the help of marine biologists working with the Physalus marine conservation group, we yesterday identified 3 different whale sharks which had been seen here in 2013, which is interesting and doubtless many conclusions will be inferred from this small amount of data! The whale shark tours run by Padre Burgos Castle Resort are usually joined by one of the marine biologists from Physalus, who will be working here studying whale sharks until the middle of June.
A few boats have been making the 5 to 7 hour trip over from Cebu to bring guests to see the whale sharks here in Southern Leyte. Oslob, in the south of Cebu Island, is much closer for such people, but they will surely have relished the wonderfully natural and totally uncrowded whale shark interactions here and found the trip more than worthwhile.
With the poorest weather associated with the north-east monsoon, or amihan, hopefully already past, and plenty of whale sharks frequenting the coastal waters of Sogod Bay, we are looking forward to a long and very successful season.