The Sea of Cortez is known for encounters with WhaleSharks. The whaleshark is the largest shark and the biggest fish in the Ocean. The WhaleShark is a filter feeder using his enormous mouth (up to 4 feet wide) to ingest clouds of plankton as he swims through the Sea.
We have seen WhaleSharks up to 50 feet in length, (Females are larger than males), weighing up to 15 tons, but 25 – 30 feet is more common. It is truly the largest fish in the world.
While we have encountered WhaleSharks on all of our divesites the most likely time and place to swim with one of these gentle giants is on our weekly WhaleShark Trips to La Paz, which we run from October thru March. And if we are lucky, we can still find them up in La Paz into April.
MORE ABOUT WHALESHARKS
The whale shark (Rhincodon typus) is a slow-moving filter feeding shark and the largest known extant fish species. The largest confirmed individual had a length of 12.65 m (41.50 ft) and a weight of more than 21.5 metric tons (47,000 lb), and unconfirmed reports of considerably larger whale sharks exist. Claims of individuals over 14 m (46 ft) long and weighing at least 30 mt (66,000 lb) are not uncommon. The whale shark holds many records for sheer size in the animal kingdom, most notably being by far the largest living nonmammalian vertebrate. The species originated about 60 million years ago.
The whale shark is found in tropical and warm oceans and lives in the open sea, with a lifespan of about 70 years. W hale sharks have very large mouths, and as filter feeders, they feed mainly on plankton.
Despite its size, the whale shark does not pose significant danger to humans. Whale sharks are docile fish and sometimes allow swimmers to catch a ride, although this practice is discouraged by shark scientists and conservationists because of the disturbance to the sharks. Younger whale sharks are gentle and can play with divers. Underwater photographers have photographed them swimming uncomfortably close to humans without any danger.