Whale shark season swims on
Nearly two months after the end of the usual whale shark season, operators are still spotting up to three of the gentle giants every day.
Whale shark season normally stops at the end of August, when numbers tend drop quickly, at which point tour operators switch to marine eco tours at a reduced price.
Ningaloo Blue owner Peter McKissock said in his years at the helm he had almost never seen the whale sharks around so late.
“They stayed around late in 2013, but prior to that we have barely any record of it,” he said.
“We haven’t actually been doing much with the humpbacks because there are still whale sharks around.
“There’s still a good chance they will stay around a bit longer, maybe another week or two.”
Mr McKissock said children had benefited from the long season, with a good run of sightings during the school holidays.
Exmouth Visitor Centre spokesman Ben Knaggs said since operators had switched to marine eco tours there had been only three no-sighting days.
He said this, coupled with a successful start to the humpback swim trial, had made for happy travellers.
“The humpbacks themselves have proved to be much more interested in the tour groups than was first anticipated, with tour operators working out of both Exmouth and Coral Bay reporting success rates for underwater interactions with humpbacks as high as 90 per cent,” he said.