Swimming With Whale Sharks: My Bucket List Dream Came True in Utila, Honduras by Sheri B Doyle
For years, one of the adventures topping my bucket list was to dive/snorkel with a whale shark. The beautiful grace and gentle nature of these huge fish fascinated me. I wanted to be in their presence for even the briefest of moments. One of the best places to swim with whale sharks is in Utila, Honduras.
I found an amazing resort, Utopia Village, which follows very safe diving practices. They fully respect the whale sharks while still giving the divers a great experience. I knew this beautiful resort was the place to fulfill my top bucket list wish.
As with all of nature, there is no guarantee you will see or experience what you are after. It boils down to two things: skill of your guide and luck. I was fortunate to have both. After days of beautiful scuba diving and even snorkeling with dolphins in the open ocean, there were still no whale sharks. On the last day, our boat captain got a call – whale sharks had been spotted. We were off.
Photo: Utopia Village in Utila, Honduras
The anticipation of being able to swim with a whale shark was almost too much for me. Sitting on the edge of the boat, snorkel mask on, fins dangling over the edge, I waited, breathing deeply and convincing myself not to be disappointed if it didn’t happen. There would be other trips. Luckily for me, the boat captain, Elvis, never gives up easily. Soon, the call came to jump into the water.
My adrenaline soared and as I hit the water, my face immediately looked down. There it was. This gorgeous creature I had been dreaming of for years swimming below me, just as graceful and peaceful as I had dreamed. The snorkel lasted a few minutes and he was gone. But I was forever changed, not only because I had achieved one of my top goals in life, but also I had done it with beautiful people who share my love and respect for whale sharks.
That night, as we drank beer on the beach to celebrate, I knew I had to do this again. Luckily for me, I was able to dive many more times with Utopia Village and with the whale sharks. Whenever I need a peaceful moment in my life, I think back to the feeling of being in the water with such an amazing creature.
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