Join us for We Move Forward 2016 and celebrate Internation Women's Day on Isla Mujeres! www.wemoveforward.com??  
For real-time updates, follow us on Facebook
Sharing La Isla
Isla Mujeres information Sharing
Isla Mujeres Q&A Board Isla Q&A Board
Message Board Isla Chatter Board
Trip Calendar Trip Calendar
Isla Mujeres Recipies Isla Recipes
Isla Mujeres Postcards e-Postcards
User Stories Isla Stories
Isla Mujeres Photos User Photos
 
 

Vacation Journal
| Isla Stories Main Page | Add or Update Your Stories |

¬¬swimming with the whale sharks: a chance of a lifetime and a very special day…

By: Jimbo de Isla (View Profile)
Date: 8/10/2011

it has always been interesting listening to folks try and explain their experience swimming with the whale sharks...

they seem to get all tongue tied...using lots of words like awesome, unbelievable, incredible, etc...

many seem to struggle to find the words to describe the experience at all...they get frustrated and give up and tell you that you just HAVE TO do this…

and now i know why...

i was thinking it would be interesting to go back and ponder my decision to make this special trip...it might help put this whole thing in perspective for the few that care to listen…

i recall talking to a fellow Fibromyalgia buddy on the beach 3 years ago...she asked me if i thought it would be worth going...she knew full well that going would be difficult (to say the least) on her body...banging around on a panga for and hour and a half up and an hour and a half back just might do her in...i told her that i thought it was not worth the pain she would likely endure as it would ruin the rest of her time on the island and it might take weeks to recover...

of course she decided to go on the trip and later she told me when they arrived at the spot with the whale sharks she could hardly get in the water and she could not swim and they had to pull her out of the water and her dream of seeing the whale sharks went horribly...then the ride back to land was very difficult for her as she lay flat on her back and she told me later it took a month for her fragile body to recover...

recently i went out on the water for a snorkel trip...it is a 2 hour tour of the waters around la isla...it was fabulous for an hour, then i had to ask to be taken back to land as i could not function any longer...my body locked up…I could not move my head and I had to be done and back on land …FAST…head pounding, neck hurting, shoulders on fire, hips hurting, etc…

and so i have put a whale shark trip off for a long, long time...not wanting to face the pain of the trip my body would likely endure...not wanting to head out for an hour and half only to find there is no way to get into the water and get to land any time soon...

i met Captain Jorge Mostalac at Mark & Donnas Ixchel Penthouse Happy Hour a month or so ago...he seemed like a very nice guy and so i contacted him to see if he would meet with me to talk about my concerns before i went out...

he assured me that he would do all he could do to help me and he was very confident that i would enjoy the experience...he has that look in his eye like he knows something you don’t; know…i trusted him and gave him my deposit and prepared for the trip the next day...it cost 125.00 per person to go with Jorge although others cost less for their smaller boats that are not covered, etc, and I am glad I decided not to skimp…not on a day like this…not with this wreck of a body…not for a special day like this…no way…

i was a good boy and went to bed early on a saturday night so i could be up with the sun and meet Jorge at 7:30...a couple of friends decided they would go on the trip too and i was glad they were going with me...

we were to meet him at Bally Hoo, but he hollered at us from Velasquez and we sat down and had some fruit and bread before we left which i thought was a great start to the day...

we boarded his large 33 ft boat - complete with GPS, radios, life jackets, 2 awnings, an on-board bathroom, padded seats, chicken sandwiches, soft drinks and bottled water - and headed over to Punta Sam and picked up a family of 8 mexican folks that live in cancun...some had done the trip before and wanted to share it with their kids...they were very nice people…

we headed northeast and we were really moving along fast…25-27 knots...we passed quite a few boats on the way up…I tried to distract myself from the screaming in my neck…I wished I had a pallet of Tylenol to take right then and there…Jorge was very cool asking me over and over if I was ok…what a good dude he is…and of course, I lied thru my teeth telling him I was fine…

we were one of the first boats to arrive…only 4 others in the water when we got there…when we left, there had to have been FORTY boats out there…wow…

as we were slowly moving to the point of the whale sharks, you could see them from a distance with their fins sticking up out of the water…and as we drew nearer, it became apparent to me that this was no ordinary snorkel trip…this was going to be much, much different…

many, many times i had heard others say they saw “hundreds” in the water…and I always kind of doubted it…I thought they were exaggerating to make a point…I thought there must be a lot…too many to count, but not hundreds…well, I can attest that there were HUNDREDS in the water that day…as far as the eye could see…they came right up to the boat and they looked you in the eye and passed on by gracefully…then another, and another, and another…

It was a strange sight seeing so many huge creatures in the water and we were among them…and they knew we were there…and they seemed to be OK with us being there…it was a magical sight…

the rule was only 3 people in the water at a time, so I had to wait my turn to get in the water…and the first turn was gonna be kind of a quick one so all 11 of us could get in the water as soon as possible…the 2nd time around, we could spend more time in the water…

when I first hit the water, I knew I was in trouble with my body, but it didn’t seem to matter…

under the water is a deep, dark, beautiful blue, and I am unsure why…it is hard to describe…it is a soft, deep and dark color…a color I had not seen before…and I loved it instantly as it was calming yet enticing…you can see the abundant food floating in the water that the whale sharks crave…it was a beautiful canvass to an eerie, magical scene…I have had divers tell me of this color before, and I was glad to see it for myself…

when I first saw a whale shark while in the water, it was not a straight on shot…but it was cool…then after a few minutes, Jorge grabbed me by the arm and positioned me (he did this a LOT…awesome job my man…) so I can see an oncoming whale shark…mouth wide open…looking me in the eye…and veered off as he approached me…and just missed nudging me…

when that first happened to me, it was actually quite calming…kind of like it was ok to be there…like I had been given permission from this gentle giant to hang out with them for a while…

there were times I could see what I thought were baby whales sharks either attached to the bigger ones or swimming within inches of the bigger ones…I didn’t get a chance to ask Jorge, but I would still like to know…

it was fascinating to be in the water and look around and see so many whale sharks…they were EVERYWHERE…all around us…and when one swam on by, just turn around and there was another…

even just sitting in the boat we were all kind of quiet…kind of lock-jawed at what we were seeing…

I come to find out after my trip that we went at the absolute peak of the season…historically the first couple weeks of August there is a greater population of whale sharks in the water off the coast of the Yukatan…it was a blessing for sure…a quirky site in nature…and one that felt very surreal but calming…

So after the first time in the water and I had to get out for the others, I started feeling sick…very sick…I was able to get in the water a 2nd time, but I was not able to get in the water a 3rd time like the others…

Often, my wife calls me a bubble boy as my body is very sensitive to what I am exposed to…at first I thought it was motion sickness, but this was not motion sickness…I had been on the water enough and not been sick like that…I had a bad headache from the ride up and the exhaust was killing me…there were boats all around us…the rocking boat didn’t seem to help at all…I was very sick and my body hurt all over and I could not see well at all…I got sick over the side of the boat and my shoulders, neck and head were not doing well at all…there were so many boats in the water and they were idling and it smelled putrid to me…it would probably not effect others, but the exhaust was killing me…(as an example, at our house I am used to fresh air 24/7…when a boat cruises by in the water even though I do not see it or hear it, I can smell it…not good at all)…when we headed back and the exhaust stopped, I felt better, but needed to stop my body from pounding …most especially in my neck and shoulders…

I do not remember much after that…all I wanted was to get back onto land and stop my neck and head and shoulders and hips from hurting…the ride back seemed much more rough than the way out…I was flat on my back and holding on to the rail…it was about all I could do…many thanks to Joerge, Kodi and Rachel for their assistance that day…I am glad I was not alone…someone poured cold water on my neck and it helped me a lot…

I needed 2 people to help me off the boat …Jorge and my friends helped get me and my stuff back to my truck…I took them back to their hotel (I am glad I was able to drive) , then I headed back to take some Tylenol and some other pain med and a heating pad and just lay there and think back on the fact that I somehow survived the whole thing and that I actually pulled it off…I talked to my wife for a while, then back to bed and stayed there until late Monday morning…16 hours or so in bed…

Before I went on the trip, I was hoping to get a chance to get in the water with the whale sharks, and my biggest fear that day was I would not make it in the water (or not very well as happened to my Fibro friend 3 years earlier)…I felt a sense of accomplishment, but I also felt very, very blessed …God had touched me in a most unusual way…and I am very, very thankful…

I am glad I made the trip although I would not attempt that again…my body is simply wearing out…but it was absolutely worth it…

I strongly encourage anyone that is considering going out with the whale sharks to go with Captain Jorge Mostalik…please feel free to e-mail me at Jimbodeisla@aol.com and I can put you in touch with him…

Jorge was absolutely fabulous, and I could not have asked for more in my guide and boat captain…he is a new friend…and a good one…he was constantly checking on me on the ride up, in the water and on the way back…always making sure I was comfortable even though I lied to him and told him I was fine…my neck felt like balsa wood on the ride up…like it was gonna snap off at any point…it felt fractured and like I had pulled muscles and I was sore all over just going up…but none of that was the fault of Jorge…he made me very comfortable and I am very grateful to him for that…

I also recommend if you make the trip to see the whale sharks to plan your trip in August…

You will be humbled, you will be energized…and you will feel like you looked into the eyes of God…and that everything in life will be OK…

disfruta la vida...

Jimbo


Promote your Business with Us!

View our Site Map or Privacy Statement

Copyright© 2019 IslaMujeres.info. All rights reserved.