Tinea's Adventure Swimming with the Whale Sharks

Tinea's Adventure Swimming with the Whale Sharks

Her love for the water started off at an early age. She grew up in the pool, as a swimmer/diver and still to this day has a passion for 

the sport. Meet Tinea. She now also has a passion for exploring and traveling. So when you put these all together, it is no wonder that for many years,

she had only dreamt of swimming alongside the whale sharks.

In August 2019, she sat at the "vacation makers" desk at the hotel resort she was staying at. She was setting up an excursion to go snorkeling with the sea turtles and then to hike pyramid ruins in Tulum - and at the moment that the service rep leans over to grab a pamphlet, a new brochure was revealed - with a huge whale shark right on the front. She smiled from ear-to-ear and then asked "do you offer this excursion too?". Only to hear back "of course we do". This very moment had been on Tinea's experience list for so long.

Sign here, read all the rules and then the rep says "just know that you are not guaranteed to see them", but Tinea was going to take her chances anyways.

She walked back to the hotel room and couldn't stop smiling and saying "I can't believe I just booked a whale shark excursion, I can't believe it". The morning of the excursion, she got into the transportation bus and was off for an 1.5 drive to the harbor just north of Cancun. I think at this point, her nerves were starting to kick in. This was possibly going to become a reality. She suited up, and got in the boat for a possible long ride.

The boat's captain and guide said that the boat ride out to the "feeding location" would take anywhere from an hour upwards of 4 hours. Along the way, the sea 

parted from gorgeous teal, see-through waters over the reefs, to dark blue oceans hiding the secrets of such majestic animals. At this point, she didn't realize that in only about and hour, she was about to come 

face-to-face with these massive, yet beautiful creatures.

As the boat arrived into the protected waters, the captain mentions that they are in 300-400 foot deep waters and that by the looks of it, there were over a dozen whale sharks in the area feeding off the plankton. 

At this point, everyone is suited up, life jackets on and snorkeling equipment ready to go. The guide points over to Tinea and tells her she is going first. She only had seconds to get into position on the edge of the boat and be ready to jump in. As the captain maneuvers the boat into the right drop off location, he yells out "en el agua, el agua, el agua" - (in the water, in the water) and just like that she jumps in with the guide by her side. 
Just a few minutes later, she is back on the boat and when asked what she saw "not much, I was so overwhelmed and trying to get my bearings, all my senses were heightened". She knew that everyone had two opportunities to jump in, so now that she knew what to expect, she thought to herself that the second jump, she would have a better view.  After everyone had an opportunity, it was Tinea's second jump and this time, the captain dropped her off - literally right in front of the whale shark. Tinea said "it felt like I was expected to jump right on top of the whale shark".  Her guide held her GoPro and was able to capture such an unforgettable experience. [You can watch the footage in the video below].
She was finally getting to take in the feelings, the joy, the  excitement and the fear (all wrapped into one). She once again got back to the boat and this time, couldn't stop smiling. She had done it, she had swam with the whale sharks, she had finally had the opportunity to check something off her experience list.
This was that moment in life where you create just a vivid memory that will stay with you a lifetime. But, the story isn't quite over. The captain gave her an extra jump..... (yep, she got a third chance to take in all the senses again). She quickly suited up and made her third jump - this time, so close that she said she could reach out and practically touch it [lets just preface that you are not allowed to touch the animals due to their sensitive skin as well as you could not wear sunscreen, to protect the reefs]. She was on cloud 9. This was truly a moment to remember.....

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