Because I have just finished swimming with a real live adult whale shark. Cutest cutest cutest thing ever. Never mind that it's as big as a bus.
Oh, and we have a video.
Taken using Tin's Powershot D10, which I strongly suggest you get if you plan to do the same thing. And if you can afford to, get it in Japan so you get all the accessories including the changeable face plates.
If you listen closely you can hear me squealing. Or gurgling because that's what squealing sounds like when done underwater.
I have no idea where my fascination with sharks started but I do remember the shark parts being the most mutilated amongst all the pages of our encyclopedias (yes, I lived in the time when encyclopedias were printed out instead of burned into CD-ROMs). So naturally I'd want to see a whale shark up close and personal, seeing as it's the only shark I would want to be up close and personal with. However, having watched Jaws and a couple of its sequels I have also developed extreme paranoia when I'm in the water. When we were "snorkeling" in Palawan (in quotes because we were wearing life jackets) I never moved more than a meter from the dock, and any shadow of a large fish would trigger panic attacks and would have me paddling like crazy back to the dock (and it took me years to traverse that one meter what with all the screaming and splashing around).
So I never would have imagined that, without the slightest bit of hesitation, I would jump into the open water God knows how deep from a boat that is still moving with only a flimsy life vest to save my ass. But we have been waiting for six hours (it was a cloudy day which wasn't ideal for whale shark watching) and I was so scared that I wouldn't get to see the whale shark after all the trouble I went through that when the kuya said "jump", I did just that. And when the kuya said "look down", what I saw, words could not describe. I have seen whale sharks in the aquarium in Osaka (Kaiyukan, where I bought Kai, my whale shark stuffed toy) before but the experience has absolutely nothing on seeing a whale shark where it's actually supposed to be.
Now I can tick off one giant box in the list of undersea creatures I would like to see:
(No dolphins because I think they're overrated)
[x] Whale shark (face-to-face) - Donsol, Sorsogon
[x] Whale shark (aquarium) - Osaka aquarium
[x] Manta ray (aquarium) - Osaka aquarium
[x] Beluga whale (aquarium) - Yokohama sea paradise
[x] Any shark (aquarium) - Yokohama sea paradise
[x] Hammerhead shark (aquarium) - Yokohama sea paradise/Tokyo Sea Life Park
[x] Nemo (face-to-face) - Palawan
[ ] Great white shark (aquarium)
[ ] Killer whale (aquarium)
[ ] Manta ray (face-to-face)
[ ] Goblin shark (aquarium)
[ ] Hammerhead shark feeding (aquarium)
[ ] Beluga whale giving birth (aquarium)
[ ] Blue whale (aquarium??? or submarine hahaha)
[ ] Humpback whale breaching (in a ship or something)
[ ] Great white shark breaching
[ ] Brad Pitt in swimming trunks (def. face-to-face :p)