Post image for Swimming with whale sharks in Mexico

Swimming with whale sharks in Mexico

by on August 2, 2012

I’ve just entered the Daily Mail’s travel writing competition. The challenge? To write a 200-word article about any of the Mail Travel’s destinations. Squeezing such an amazing experience into just 200 words was quite a struggle, but all good practice for saying what you want to say in as few words as possible! Here’s my entry with added photographs:

You wouldn’t know hurricanes tear through Isla Holbox – a dot of land off Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. It feels peaceful enough to absorb unsettled weather, tell it off, and soothe it to sleep. Nothing more than a strong breeze suits this island and its kite surfers.

I’m not here to leave a wake. I’m here to swim unnoticed beside the planet’s biggest fish. I’m here for the whale sharks.

I clamber into the fisherman’s small wooden boat. He points out to sea and revs the engine. Soon, there’s nothing on the horizon but deep, dark ocean.

As an hour passes, my fear is replaced by disappointment. I squint, scanning every breaking wave. The crew shrug and shake their heads.

“Ten more minutes,” one says in Spanish.

And it’s then, as if a film director’s hiding behind the blue sky, that I see a fin. First one, and then another.

I plunge in, focusing on the dappled beast rather than what lurks below. I struggle to reach her yet she’s barely flicking her tail. Something shoots past and I raise my head to see a manta ray jump, slapping its wings against the water. I’d have braved a hurricane to be here.

Wanna enter your own travel story? You can join the competition to win a trip to the Deep South here.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Gina August 6, 2012 at 18:40

Glad you found them and got to swim with them! I swam with them in Mexico last month, too, and it was one of the most incredible experiences I’ve ever had while traveling.


Holly August 15, 2012 at 13:14

Yes, I was so happy. To think that five minutes more and we would have turned back was an amazing experience – I felt genuinely privileged!


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