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I wanted to know...

is Oslob the circus that people made it out to be. We asked our divemaster Larry at Savedra, he says he can’t come with us cos his boss dun like it. So we made our own plans, paid USD105 for 1 dive with a posh truck ride to oslob…. with trepidation…. Felt like doing something illegal. Will the extremist shark huggers jump out at you shaking there fingers… NO NO NO…..

I really wanted to know, do the dissenters of oslob have a valid point? When we arrived 1.5 hrs later from moalboal at 6:30am in the morning. There were already people in the water. Like an organised factory, rows of boat in a near distance calm, clear waters, there are the feeders and the guides in light blue shirts. Our guide gave us a briefing with the following points intact.:

  • no touching, no riding, no harassing and going too near the whaleshark or else kena fine a whole load of pesos plus 3 months in jail

  • watch buoyancy, no landing on coral, no touching corals

  • max 60 mins dive, gear up in the water and swim back to shore after 60 mins.

Our guide looked nervous when he did the briefing especially when I ask whether the food is good during the 3 months jail time for harassing a whaleshark.

Also perhaps, me and my IDC mate look like whaleshark rider potentials.

I did my own special meditation before entering the waters, the minute we are in, a whaleshark swam by. And then one by one, the giant fish maneuver to feeder boat, park, feed, swim away. For the whole 60 mins, it’s one whaleshark after another.

Is this the circus? More like an orderly petrol kiosk. The whalesharks are like buses parking at the side of the lil feeder boat, getting pumped up with brine. Then it moves away in a one way street. Another one comes in, get pumped, drives away to the highway. There are 3 to 4 kiosks that morning, so it happens that there are 3 – 4 whalesharks getting petrol at one go.

Is it my “guilty” conscience that I feel our dive guide were giving us the evil eye at the beginning, ready to “arrest” us the min we did something “wrong” to the beloved sharks. He did relaxed after 5 mins, since we are both scuba instructors with ahem “perfect” buoyancy and due respect for the gentle giants.

When we were there, the not so good divers we made to kneel at the sandy bottom for the whole 60mins so they dun do any nonsense.

In conclusion, am not saying that it’s a right or wrong thing to feed the sharks, everyone has their own opinion. But I did feel amazing being with the whalesharks although I agree with my buddy that it is indeed more “shiok” if it’s a chanced meeting in vast ocean playground that is indeed their real home.


Credit: Esther Lee

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