Bumper whale shark season lapped up
Whale sharks are loving the Ningaloo Reef so much this year, they are sticking around a a little while longer, with operators recently sighting as many as 40 fish in a day.
While the advertised whale shark season finishes at the end of July, the star attractions of the reef have ignored the memo, building on a successful 2015 season.
Kings Ningaloo Reef Tours owner Bill McDonald said the season so far had been as busy as last year, despite losing some time because of bad weather more recently.
Mr McDonald said he had never seen so many whale sharks hanging around at this time of year.
“Coral Bay has just started to drop off, but we usually have them here for at least six weeks after Coral Bay,” he said.
“Generally, after this school holidays, things start to drop off but the town is still pumping and the caravan park is full.
“I reckon they will be here until the end of August at least.”
Mr McDonald said this period could represent good value for customers with operators offering more bargains as competition for fewer tourists heated up.
Indian Ocean Imagery photographer Leith Holtzman said the season had potential to be a repeat of 2013, during which whale sharks were still being sighted in October.
“It’s been an amazing year, with not one day where we haven’t seen a whale shark,” he said.
“Normally, the Exmouth whale shark season lasts about four to six weeks longer than Coral Bay and they are still getting lots down there too.”
Whale sharks aside, the recent rains have bought the land alive as well, with Cape Range and surrounds covered in green and wildflowers starting to sprout.
The humpback whale swim trial is also due to start this weekend, potentially giving tourists the chance to see multiple megafauna species present off the Ningaloo Coast on one trip.
Tourists swim with a 6m whale shark off Cape Range Peninsula.