It's 22nd of February, almost noon comes to life on board the whale shark expedition boat off Diani Beach. WE HAVE A WHALE SHARK!
Volker Bassen, seasoned captain, pilot and deep sea diver who also happens to have a passion for whale sharks shouts on top of his voice “Everybody in” to some of the guys snorkelling next to the boat admiring turtles.
The radio suddenly crackles again, “we've got 2 sharks, i repeat we've now got 3 sharks!”
As soon as everybody is in captain Bassen guns the engines, within seconds we are cruising at 60km/hr towards the spot where the airplane located the sharks.
“It's far, we'll need about 20 minutes to get to where they are so get
ready to jump” Bassen shouts on top of his voice in order to overcome the roar of the twin 200Hp engines as we almost ﬂy along the Kenyan coastline.
After about 10 minutes the radio comes to life again. “We see you, about another 5 kilometres” we hear the pilot saying, the boat suddenly turning over so slightly, almost automatically, a smooth, well- rehearsed manoeuvre. After all, Bassen and his team have successfully been ﬁnding whale sharks like this for the past 2 decades.
“We now have 6 whale sharks, i repeat; we now have 6 whale sharks, 2 are huge, at least 10 meters in length!” Bassen grabs the radio, “Ok, guide me to the biggest one!” He shouts.
Soon we can see a small dot in the sky, it's the spotter plane circling the area where the sharks are. “Everybody ready? 5 minutes to contact” Bassen shouts. “It's at your one hundred meter”
The boat suddenly slows down while turning. It heading straight ahead of the boat guys, I'll position us in front of him, jump when I tell you to Bassen tells us in a calming voice.
As for me, I'm about to pee in my pants!