Whale 🦈💙🦈💙🦈 😅

Whale Sharks…💙💙💙 absolutely beautiful creatures! These are the largest fish in the ocean, about 30-40 feet long as adults and about 20 tons, you can see why they got the name Whale shark. 🐋 🦈

Rhincodon typus, as enormous as they are, these sharks are filter feeders. Like many of the giants in the oceans, including Baleen whales, they live off of plankton, krill, and small fish. However, they still have teeth! Teeny tiny nonfunctional teeth making up 300 rows in each jaw. Whale sharks are also generally found in warm tropical waters around the world, and have quite an eco tourism economy built around them. Unfortunately, they are also still hunted in places like the Philippines! Crazy!!! The IUCN has listed them a Vulnerable species because their populations continue to decrease.

At the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta, GA, you can swim with their whale sharks! Woohoo! As well as manta rays, other elasmobranchs (throwing some science at yeh, aka more sharks and rays 😜) and even a giant Green Sea Turtle 🐢. They call it Journey with Gentle Giants, and it’s really very nice! 👌 That’s scuba signal for “Okay!”

We went for our anniversary and John’s birthday, so this is scuba for “I’m going to kiss you now with my mouthpiece because I still want to breathe oxygen” No gillyweed used on these trips! 🌱

💙Be sure to get the video of your dive on the way out because of all the cool photos you can use off of it to post to social media. 🙌😁

And fun fact about their whale sharks: they have them trained to different colors to make sure that each one gets enough food. Since they’re filter feeders, it’s not easy feeding one piece of krill at a time, so training them to different spots or colored buoys helps to make sure they get good gulps of food. Training is not only possible, but helpful from keeping one from eating all of the food provided. Plus you don’t want to see whale sharks fight…it would ruin the peace image I have of them. 😅

With my whale shark print swim leggings from Waterlust, I’m not only supporting whale shark conservation but they look really cool and are functional for swimming in the pool when the temps outside start to drop! And each pair is made from 10 recycled plastic bottles! 😳 wow! Even better!

I love swimming with Sharks and other ocean animals, because you really feel a connection to the ocean. Most of us don’t live on or near the beach, so it can be difficult to see why the need to change habits is so important. But giving up plastic bags, straws, and other disposables is an easy habit we can adopt, and then getting out into nature can help us make that connection.

Start the change & be the change! Happy Shark Week and get in the water! 🏊🏻‍♀️

👋😁

References:

National Geographic and Florida Natural History Museum for the what sharks facts.

Here’s a link to the Georgia Aquarium, Journey with Gentle Giants program:

https://www.georgiaaquarium.org/experience/explore/programs-activities/animal-interactions/journey-with-gentle-giants/swim-with-whale-sharks

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