Kalani Honua Blog - whale shark

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Richard Koob

whale sharkOn my usual morning swim today, completely without any dramatic music, just a few feet below me passed a creature, much bigger than me and at least 10 feet long.

I had the sense of it being a friendly, or at least indifferent whale, but then recognized its shark-like features. It's blunt snout and beautiful light polka dots helped me surmise it was at least not a tiger or great white. So I relaxed a bit and watched it, but, being still somewhat uncertain, decided not to follow it, and continued on with my usual swim and a little extra apprehension.

Later, I searched the web and found the perfect-match image. Also I learned that whale sharks are gentle, but should not be touched or chased. More reassuring is the news that they eat plankton, not people. They're not likely to hang around long, and are rare to see on a regular basis in any single place in the world. As waters warm up they cruise the seas for cooler fare, and what could be "cooler" than Hawaii's naturist beach, right near Kalani. Hence, don't be duped by any tour operator who promises you a sighting!

diver with whale shark
As if there hadn't been enough excitement for one day, in the afternoon I took a couple of nature-loving Canadians to the nearby tidal pool sanctuary. There I saw the rare yellow-nosed chub with his rather plain chums. And I pointed our to Brian and Sharon how the yellow tail coris (see pics below) does a complete transformation from it's baby colors, Nimo-like orange and white, to it's glorious rainbow blue sequined yellow-tailed adult triumph. These fish start life as cleaners, removing parasites and dead tissue from larger fish, then, happy with the taste, start eating smaller fish as they get bigger.

Juvenile yellow tailed corvis Anilao yellow Coris

Fortunately whale sharks study at a different culinary school!