Earlier this year, I spent a few days diving with whale sharks in Mexico. ( you can see a post about that trip here: http://tinyurl.com/o4u48vy  ) Well, I was fortunate enough to dive with them again in Indonesia recently, but this was quite different. First of all, Mexico has regulations to prevent you from actually SCUBA diving with the sharks in order to protect them. You are restricted to snorkeling and free diving. It's still amazing, but if you're like me and your free diving skills limit you to about 4 seconds underwater, it can sometimes be frustrating. The whale sharks I dived with in Indonesia were in Cenderawasih Bay in West Papua. It's a bit famous in diving circles for the whale sharks that gather there.
In Indonesia there are no regulations on diving with the sharks, so it was great to get underwater and follow them wherever I wanted. The other cool thing about diving with them here is that the whale sharks hang around local fishing platforms called "bagans". They come up to the platforms to try to syphon small fish from the hanging fishing nets. The fishermen also help both the divers and the whale sharks by pouring pieces of fish into the waiting mouths of the sharks, which keeps them hanging around. I was told the fishermen think the whale sharks are good luck. The whale sharks will come up and bring their heads out of the water for the free snacks. They can hang there for quite awhile, then circle around and come back for more. It was a great couple of days we spent there, and quite a photo-op.