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Diving With Whale Sharks

Diving With Whale Sharks

Diving with Whale Sharks



Diving with whale sharks in Belize at Isla Marisol should be on every diver’s bucket list.  Whale sharks are sighted during the days surrounding the full moon between the months of March and June. Isla Marisol is a licensed whale shark tour operator with 16 years of whale shark diving experience. Whale sharks can also be sighted during our Whale Shark Snorkeling Tour.

Guided Whale Shark Diving

As with any wildlife excursion, sightings are likely but not guaranteed. Whale shark trips are half-day excursions to Gladden Spit Marine Reserve, and include 2 blue water dives suitable for intermediate to advanced divers. A local check-out dive at Isla Marisol is required before participating in whale shark Dives. A minimum of 6 participants is required to make the trip to Gladden Spit, which is approximately 40 minutes away. Trips may be postponed or cancelled due to inclement weather or unsafe sea conditions.

Strict regulations exist to protect both the whale shark and the snapper during this sensitive time. Whale shark tour operators require special licensing and tour guides are required to participate in specialized training. Access to the area is restricted to a certain number of boats and only during certain hours. For a complete list of rules, click here.

Gentle Giants

The whale shark is the largest fish in the sea and can grow up to 60 feet in length. Though they are huge, whale sharks are gentle and curious and pose no threat to humans. These slow-moving fish are filter feeders, eating plankton that is made up by tiny plants and animals. Whale sharks are easily identified by white spots that cover their skin. Like a fingerprint, the patterns are unique and can be used to identify individuals. These gentle giants may live to be over 100 years old!

During the full moon from March to June, cubera snapper group together and spawn in Belize. Whale sharks visit Gladden Spit Marine Reserve to feed on the freshly released, nutrient rich, cubera snapper spawn. Divers and snorkelers visit from around the world to witness this amazing spectacle.

Included in Whale Shark Tour:

  • 2 blue water dives
  • Round-trip boat ride to Gladden Spit
  • Gladden Spit entrance fee
  • Lunch
  • Weight and tanks (does not include scuba gear)

Price per person: $198

Rates are in US$ per person.

Gear Rental: $35/day or $150/week

Includes BCD, regulator, mask, fins, and wet-suit.

2020 Whale Shark Dates

Isla Marisol anticipates 2020 whale shark excursions during these times:

  • Monday, March 9th (Full Moon)
    • Best time to book: March 7th - March 21st
  • Wednesday, April 8th (Full Moon)
    • Best time to book: April 4th - April 18th
  • Thursday, May 7th (Full Moon)
    • Best time to book: May 2nd - May 16th
  • Friday, June 5th (Full Moon)
    • Best time to book: June 3rd - June 17th

Diver Expectations

  • Divers must present a dive certification card and complete a liability release prior to diving.
  • Divers are required to demonstrate the ability to set up a full set of gear prior to the first dive.
  • Divers are asked to rinse personal gear, including wet suits, fins, mask and snorkels at the end of the dive day. BC’s, regulators, tanks, and weights will be taken care of by Isla Marisol staff, who will set up and break down equipment and prepare gears for subsequent diving.
  • Divers should pay attention during all dive briefings and adhere to the dive profiles and time limits outlined by the Divemaster. Divers who use a personal dive computer are asked to consult first with the Divemaster if planning to dive a different profile.
  • Divers are responsible for checking dive tables, and staying within the limits of the dive table. No decompression diving. If a diver enters decompression, they may not be able to dive again for the remainder of the day.
  • Divers are expected to utilize the buddy system. If a diver has no buddy then they will dive with the Divemaster. No solo diving.
  • All dives are drift dives with boat and captain above following the divers' bubbles.
  • Divers must wait 18-24 hours after diving before flying.
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