Maarten Schafer - Swimming with a whaleshark
Maarten Schafer - Swimming with a whaleshark

Maarten Schäfer

We are sailing in the Gulf of Aden towards Djibouti. Our captain, Maurizio, who is a barista in his spare time, is standing behind his espresso machine preparing a caffè latte macchiato. Suddenly the calm is disturbed by one of the crew: “Whale shark!” Leaning over the rail of the 38-metre schooner, we scan the water’s surface but can see nothing but waves.

“Whale shark!” the sailor calls out again and gestures towards the waves. Suddenly we see part of a tail fin emerging above the surface, slowly cutting through the water.

We abandon our coffee and upon Maurizio’s directions Marco, an Italian photographer, and I get into the Zodiac with our underwater cameras and our snorkeling gear. The sailor takes us to the place where we spotted the whale shark last.

Whale sharks are the largest fish on earth, measuring more than 12 metres in length and weighing up…

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