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Whale Shark Report


Author: Capt. Darren Mc Clave
Publication: Parrot Bay Village

March 8, 2004
On the first day of the second annual fireman's knockdown IFF fishing tournament we spotted a two and one half meter whale shark fining the surface 3 miles off the Matapalo point on the Osa Peninsula Water temperature 83.6 Fahrenheit at 7:50AM The shark swam to the boat as we coasted to a stop 5 or 6 meters away. The shark rubbed its head on the boat bottom and proceeded to swim under the boat and surface on the portside. We photographed and gave the photos to George Burgess of Florida Museum of Natural History with longitude and latitude printed on the photographs.

March 15, 2004
Longitude 08 degrees 05 minutes latitude 83 degrees 20 minutes While offshore marlin and sail fishing we spotted brown boobies and common terns diving into and pecking at the surface in an area approximately 2 to 3 square meters. This is a common sight and often larger predator fish have bait balled up and are striking through the bait, the birds feed off the scraps and take advantage of the disoriented bait fish forced to the surface. As we came up with 4 teasers trolling behind the boat with 3 live baits ready on deck rigged with circle hooks we passed the birds and the dark cloud of bait balled up just under the surface, was in the shape of a donut about 4 meters across and in the center was a shark. On our third pass we were sure it was a whale shark about 2 _ meters in length.

April 18, 2004
Punto Blanco Southern Pacific CR Latitude 08 degrees 22 minutes and longitude 83 degrees 08 minutes, 84.6 degrees Fahrenheit While trolling for Wahoo and mackerel, Darren McClave, Art Augustensen and Steve Petras spotted 2 large Whale Sharks fining on the surface about 200 meters apart. Art operated the boat and took photos from the deck. Steve and I donned mask, snorkel and fins and jumped in with an under water camera. The first shark was 4 arms length (fathoms) and the same shark was missing the top 10 centimeters of its upper tail fin. My first guess by sight was boating accident. There was a large remora (cleaning fish) attached to its tail. The second shark was of the same length. We spent approximately 10 minutes with each shark as they did not mind being touched but would not stand for having their dorsal fin grabbed. With one strong thrust of their tail they would quickly move forward 10 meters. Both sharks were feeding on clouds of perfectly round fish eggs suspended in the water from 0 to 3 meters. I suspect they were flying fish eggs due to the many juvenile flying fish in the area. The two sharks were swimming in tight circles two to 3 times their body length with mouths open in dense clouds if the circular fish eggs. When Steve and I got back on board the boat we were covered with hundreds of perfectly round clear fish eggs. The whale sharks were observed for approximately 45 minutes. We left to fish off shore as they were both swimming on the surface in tight circles about 200 meters apart.

April 24, 2004
Longitude .08 degrees 22.5 minutes latitude 83 degrees 10 minutes 84.3 degrees Fahrenheit We were anchored in 30 meters of water, bottom fishing with a 2 _ kilo chum bag of thread herring, as a three and one half meter whale shark swam up current in our chum slick directly to the chum bag tied 10 centimeters under the surface. The shark stemmed the 2-_ knot tide long enough for myself to don mask, snorkel and fins (approx 3 minutes). The whale shark was 3 full arm lengths from the crest of its head to the cleft of the tail. I held onto the dorsal fin as the shark swam off about 100 meters descending down about 10 meters. I let go and swam to the boat.

Whale shark sightings are always a special event, mainly during the months of February, March and April and we at Parrot Bay Village are excited to help with documenting these tremendous creatures, the largest fish in the sea.

Sincerely Capt. Darren McClave ~ Parrot Bay Village

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