Whale shark (Rhincodon typus)
The Whale shark.
The whale shark is the biggest fish in the world and can be frequently seen in the Andaman sea including the Similan islands. A whale shark (Rhincodon typus) can grow up to 12.5 meters and weight up to 21.5 tons. They can get around 70 years old, but this an exemption.
Feed themselves almost exclusively on plankton, the whale sharks are filter feeders. Whale sharks feed occurs either by active suction feeding, in which the animal opens and closes its mouth, sucking in large volumes of water that are then expelled through the gills. The other way is by ram filtration, in which the animal opens its big mouth and swims forward, pushing water and food into the mouth, or In both cases, the filter pads serve to separate food from the water. While it’s size can be intimidated, the whale shark isn’t dangerous for divers, just keep don’t get to close or get in their way.
The whale sharks are considered endangered by the IUCN due to the impacts of vessel strikes, bycatch losses, and fisheries, combined with its late maturation and long lifespan. The whale sharks are seen at the dive sites at the Andaman sea.
Where to see the whale shark?
The best dive sites to see the whale shark are the northern dive sites at the Similan islands, Koh Bon, Koh Tachai and Richelieu Rock. Sometimes the whale sharks can be seen close at the coast at Boonsung wreck. You can visit these dive sites and dive with whale sharks on a diving day trip or on a liveaboard trip.
When is the best time to see the whale shark?
The best time to see the whale shark at these dive site is from January till April.