Gentle Giants

Fall 2009 | Verge Magazine | Ran with Swim With the Sharks

If you can’t beat them, enjoy them: tourism may mean a new lease on life for whale sharks off Mafia Island.

Whale shark

Photo by Jon Hanson

There are seven people in the small boat lurching over the waves around Tanzania’s Mafia Island. It’s a sunny day but the wind is up, and it’s hard to see anything in the rough waters of the Indian Ocean—even a 13 metre, 13 tonne, grey and white shark.

Whale sharks, the world’s largest living fish, live on plankton and are harmless to humans. Every year, between October and March, hundreds of the spotted giants pass near the island, giving residents an opportunity to attract tourists with whale shark tours. Continue reading →

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