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Whale Sharks Encounters in Utila, Honduras

See also - Whale Shark in Utila, Facts & Figures, Research, Controversy

The following an extract from personal scuba diving log of Steve Fox, (Deep Blue Divers & Deep Blue Resort) briefly outlining some of his whale shark encounters.

Thu 27-Jan-2005 Clear Skies calm sea East wind 1 Whale Shark in morning seen 3 more reported by fishermen off Hog Islands Reported that 3 boats saw Whale Sharks, Male estimated about 25ft
Fri 28-Jan-2005 Clear skies east wind no Whale Sharks.
Sat 29-Jan-2005 Overcast couldn’t get to north too rough at the bar.
Sun 30-Jan-2005 Good weather east wind no sightings.
Mon 31-Jan-2005 Good Weather east wind no sightings.
Tue 1-Feb-2005 Good weather east wind no sightings.
Wed 2-Feb-2005 Manta Ray seen at Diamond Cay.
Thu 3-Feb-2005 Manta Ray seen just inside white water from Diamond Cay.
Fri 4-Feb-2005 Whale Shark spotted off Iron Bound Clear calm sunny day East wind, divers managed to get in once with it, quickly descended and no information about sex, size estimated to be about 20ft
Sat 5-Feb-2005 Boils early on the morning reported by fishermen. Overcast, wind picking up from north no sightings
Sun 6-Feb-2005 No Sighting too rough for North Side.
Mon 7-Feb-2005 No Sightings too rough for North Side.
Tue 8-Feb-2005 Whale shark sighting off Pumpkin Hill Boat Captain and divers saw fin, was seen from surface but divers could not get in with it, East wind light, Rain Early in morning, most of morning overcast, brightening and sunny afternoon. Unable to tell size or sex.
Wed 9-Feb-2005 Sighting off Black Hills customers went in 3 times Male Whale Shark approx size 20ft light east wind First thing in morning very large boil, but no Whale Shark returned to same spot after dive found Whale Shark in much smaller boil, clear skies, water very clear. Sailfish also seen around boil.
Thu 10-Feb-2005  Whale Sharks seen, 2 of approx 20ft 1 very large one approx 35ft intense boils from Black hills to Rock harbor lots of birds seen with the boil, bright sunny day east wind, unknown sex, photos from guests to be submitted to Ecocean.
Fri 11-Feb-2005 Whale Shark spotted, it is one we have seen last year it has a piece missing from top lobe of tail fin was spotted at GPS position 16.04 86.51, just by Black Hills customers got 2 jumps with the Whale Shark clear skies early gradually clouding giving light rain at 2pm large boil
Sat 12-Feb-2005 Whale Sharks seen same as day before one with piece missing from top of tail fin then a much smaller one about 15ft seen both just outside Black Hills. Early morning overcast but bright clear skies by midday, large boil mild east wind.
SRI (Shark Research Institute) arrive at Utila Lodge
Sun 13-Feb-2005 Clear Skies east wind, moderate, small white caps on South Side to rough at bar to cross could not go north side.
Mon 14-Feb-2005 Clear skies South West wind in Morning just above moderate winds, calming in afternoon Whale Sharks seen
Tue 15-Feb-2005 Whale Sharks seen 3 Turtle Harbor, Rock Harbor lots of birds strong boils believed to be 5 or 6 Whale Sharks around. Pilot Whales near Black Hills Whale Sharks believed to be from 15 to 35 ft unknown se.
Wed 16-Feb-2005 Whale Sharks seen Sailfish swimming around boat, another boat said it also saw a Reef shark? in the boil
Thu 17-Feb-2005 Whale Shark seen 25ft off Pumpkin Hill
Fri 18-Feb-2005 No sightings east wind gentle calm clear bright skies.
During the week above SRI (Shark Research Institute) tagged 9 Whale Sharks
Sat 19-Feb-2005 No Sightings Strong east wind clear bright skies
Sun 20-Feb-2005 No Sightings
Mon 21-Feb-2005 No Sightings
Tue 22-Feb-2005 Clear skies strong east wind went to north side but too many white caps and too rough to spot
Wed 23-Feb-2005 Clear skies strong east wind white caps all over went Northside but no sightings
Thu 24-Feb-2005 No Sightings
Fri 25-Feb-2005 No Sightings
Sat 26-Feb-2005 No sightings S E wind first thing then to mild east wind clear skies good weather, Rumours from Dories that previous Sunday 20th Feb large Whale Shark was seen outside the entrance to the Lagoon
Sun 27-Feb-2005 East wind too strong to go North side clear skies
Mon 28-Feb-2005 No sightings went North side calm flat clear skies
Tue 1-Mar-2005 No sightings went North side calm flat clear skies
Wed 2-Mar-2005 No sightings went North side calm flat clear skies
Thu 3-Mar-2005 No sightings went North side calm flat clear skies
Fri 4-Mar-2005 No sightings went North side calm flat clear skies
Sat 5-Mar-2005 Whale seen on North side by Deep Blue Divers believed to be a Sperm Whale
Sun 6-Mar-2005 No sightings went North side calm flat clear skies
Mon 7-Mar-2005 No sightings went North side calm flat clear skies
Tue 8-Mar-2005 Whale Sharks seen 1 approximately 20ft off Turtle Harbor and another much larger off Pumpkin Hill approx 35ft
Wed 9-Mar-2005 March Boils all over North side but very spread and very shy as soon as a boil was approached it went down Cray captain of Deep Blue Divers boat saw Whale Shark tail in boil off Blackish point but when he approached it went down and didn’t resurface, Deep Blue Resort boat went from Blackish Point to approx 1 mile off Black Hills following boils all were going down as soon as you approach then returned to east of Pumpkin Hill and spotted a Whale Shark divers got 2 jumps the boil stayed up and on the second jump the Whale Shark approached the boat sat underneath and went vertical. He was approx 27ft seen at 16 07 002/ 086 51 658
Thu 10-Mar-2005 Too rough to go North Side rain in morning and North wind
Fri 11-Mar-2005 Didn’t go North weather bad
Sat 12-Mar-2005 Guest change over day, Whale Sharks seen by school boat
Sun 13-Mar-2005 Check out dive, Day School boat saw Whale Sharks
Mon 14-Mar-2005 Whale Shark seen Just off Pumpkin hill, no data
Tue 15-Mar-2005 Whale Shark we collected tag no it has been here for over a month SRI tagged it in February
Wed 16-Mar-2005 No Whale Sharks, small boils
Thu 17-Mar-2005 Birds, boils but no Whale Sharks seen
Fri 18-Mar-2005 Bad weather could not go north
Sat 19-Mar-2005 Couldn’t go north weather bad
Sun 20-Mar-2005 No Whale Sharks but small boil quickly appeared and disappeared at Raggedy Cay
Mon 21-Mar-2005 No Whale Sharks but Manta’s seen at Maze East boil seen in the area of Franks Bank
Tue 22-Mar-2005 Took out Jeff's boat went approx 5 miles out saw small boil but nothing else, Dolphins plus small Black Tip with the Dolphins
Wed 23-Mar-2005 No Whale Sharks NW Wind appeared overnight very rough on north went for quick trip over the Banks no sightings, rough seas lots of white caps
Thu 24-Mar-2005 No Whale Sharks, long time on the water left dock at 8 am and returned at 3.30 pm with just 1 dive the rest of the time was spent looking for whale Sharks we saw the first boils out by Franks Bank at 10.10am but the boil was not very big and kept going down, with the boil there was a very large pod of dolphins and we saw a shark swim past very quickly, we were unable to identify the shark, from there we went to Turtle harbor and did one dive and we saw a small Manta and eventually worked our way back to Franks Bank where we saw good boils but no Whale Sharks in them.
Fri 25-Mar-2005 went North side looking for Whale Sharks very calm clear skies, no boils, no Whale Sharks
Sat 26-Mar-2005 Resort Boat did not go north side as change of guest day reports of Whale Shark seen off CJ’s Drop off
Sun 27-Mar-2005 Guest checkout dive no North Side, reports from all other boats nothing seen.
Mon 28-Mar-2005 Strong North West wind couldn’t get north side
Tue 29-Mar-2005 20ft Whale Shark seen on Franks Bank. Rain at first, cloudy then clearing mid morning
11:50 am At this time shark was seen unknown species approx 5ft
12:45 pm Whale Shark was seen at GPS reading N 16 09 432 W 086 49 517
Strong East wind gradually building during the morning
Wed 30-Mar-2005 Plane that was employed to see Whale Sharks saw 3 but were to far away for us to see them, they also saw a large Manta and a big Pod of Dolphins, our school boat saw one of the largest Pods of Dolphins as well, during the period of the day we saw so many sharks, we believe it was a problem as they were splitting the boils not allowing time for the Whale Sharks to feed.

Saw first Whale Shark at 10.20am approx 20ft GPS N16 08 634 W086 50 405
Saw Whale Shark again at 10.50am approx 20ft GPS N16 09 479 W086 49 996
Saw Whale Shark again 11.15am same place as above
Saw Whale Shark again 11.35am same as above
Saw Whale Shark again 12.45pm GPS N 16 08 337 W 086 50 432
Saw Whale Shark again 12.50 same details as above.
Guest were in the water 9 times with Whale Sharks from 2 boats, also spotted were 2 very large Wahoo swimming by boat, and Sharks were seen many times by guests when they jumped in.
Guests said they saw 2 tags we can confirm 1 from the email I received from the SRI, this means there is approx 6 weeks between this Whale Shark being tagged and us seeing it again, has it stayed here all that time?
Hi Steve,

am wondering if you could help me I saw 2 Whale Sharks in Utila yesterday with the tag numbers 0169 and 0618 are they yours if not do you know who they are and if they are yours could you please tell me when they were put on the Shark

Tag 0169 is one of ours; it was placed February 16, 2005 on a shark 2 miles offshore, but I don't have a record of 0618 - either that number was misread or it has not yet been logged into our database. Where, off Utila, did you see the sharks?

Warm regards,
Marie Levine
Shark Research Institute
Thu 31-Mar-2005 No Whale Shark Sightings
Fri 1-Apr-2005 Strong East wind no Whale Sharks seen guests wanted to go to Cays for afternoon
Sat 2-Apr-2005 Rain Bad storm north wind guests couldn’t fly in
Sun 3-Apr-2005 Didn’t dive morning as guests just flew in, did afternoon check out dive
Mon 4-Apr-2005 Weather still bad rain most of the day no North side trips
Tue 5-Apr-2005 Whale Sharks seen not by us, but by Laguna beach they got 2 jumps
Wed 6-Apr-2005 Woman bitten by shark on leg it is believed to be a silky shark, it was their first jump with a Whale Shark.
Thu 7-Apr-2005 I didn’t go out on boat as I was checking on everything for the above woman but 3 Whale Sharks seen, I have never seen so many sharks ..not whale sharks….sharks
Fri 8-Apr-2005 Man has seizure on boat Again Whale Sharks seen the last jump where the man had a seizure was the smallest Whale Shark I have ever seen approx 6ft long, I am beginning to believe more and more that Utila is a courting ground for Whale Sharks again I have never seen so many sharks silky's etc around


10.25am we jumped in with one approx 20ft GPS N16 06 209 W 086 50 779
10.30am Utila Water Sports in with Whale Shark GPS N16 06 086 W086 51 010 same shark as above
10.50am Very large boil moving very fast N16 04 863 W086 50 597 different Whale Shark approx 25ft Damaged Dorsal.

11.08am GPS N16 05 026 W 086 50 531 Small Whale Shark approx 15ft
11.20am GPS N16 05 192 W 086 50 090 Same Whale Shark as before.
12.10am Smallest Whale Shark I have seen GPS N16 06 700 W086 51 476 Whale Shark was approx 6ft

Sat 9-Apr-2005 No Boat as guest change over day but our school in town saw 2 Whale Sharks
Sun 10-Apr-2005 No Whale Sharking as guest check out dive day but again 1 Whale Shark was seen by our school boat.
Mon 11-Apr-2005 9.30am Whale Shark seen at 9.30 GPS N16 07 929 W 86 51 813 small about 15ft.
9.50am Paradise in with same Whale Shark N16 08 040 W086 51 234.
10.15am UDC go in with Whale Shark they say about 20ft GPS N16 08 893 W086 51 860
10.30am seen again at N16 09 170 W086 52 139
11.10am Willy on Tiburone Saw Whale Shark at N16 07 111 W086 51 468
 Heard on radio Wagner had 3 jumps with a Whale Shark at Spotted Bay this is the other end of the island to where we have been seeing most of them.
11.30am We went in with a small one approx 12ft GPS N16 07 871 W 086 51 537 We got video of it.
11.40am In with same Whale Shark again at same location.
11.48am In with same Whale Shark again same location
12.00 Found tagged Whale Shark tag no.0173 Approx 22ft GPS N16 08 226 W086 51 554 found out it had been tagged the day before.
12.20pm Swin seen one just off Iron Bound.
12.50pm Swin's group Jump Again they believe they have see 2 different Whale Sharks.
1.10pm GPS N16 08 529 W086 52 180
1.15pm We got some very good video, there were 2 together but only video of 1 they were following each other GPS N16 08 351 W086 52 244
1.30pm We were near Swin GPS N16 08 715 W 086 52 586 BP 1004.7 Swin's group went in.
1.35pm same Location we went in
1.45pm same Location we went in
1.50pm same Location we went in
Tue 12-Apr-2005 9.30am Weather continues the same misty we have been told it is smoke from the mainland, at 9.30 GPS N 16 08 178 W 086 52 322 there were lots of birds but no boil, everything was right for Whale Sharks but no boil suddenly a whale Shark swam under the boat. After 20 mins at the location a very small boil began to appear.

9.50am N16 08 167 W086 52 413 Whale Shark appeared in a small boil Whale Shark was approx 25 meters long.
10am We see UDC jump with Whale Shark at N16 08 502 W086 52 546 also very small Manta seen by us.

Suddenly lots of boats appeared at this location, we moved away, it was to crowded.
11.20am Again we had been seeing lots of birds circling the surface but no boil.

11.45am GPS N16 09 231 W086 51 937 Whale Shark swam under the boat we could see it had a tag on, we were just sitting circling birds.

12.00 Just a couple of Tuna Jumping GPS N 16 09 064 W086 51 600 Whale Shark swam under boat again, it is a very strange day, weather has become very still no wind.

12.24pm Boil suddenly appears, what suddenly changed we have been sitting out there all morning and no boils, could it be tide.

Swin had been looking all morning on the other boat and having the same experience but at 12.24pm our boil appeared and we saw a Whale Shark on the surface at N16 09 041 W086 51 013, we contacted Swin the same had happened in a different location at the same time a Whale Shark appeared, he said his was quite a small one.

We moved towards where Swin was, 12.38pm Dan got good video Large Whale Shark seen we believe it to be 35ft at N16 07 919 W086 51 889 Also silky shark swimming around, we also saw him.

Minutes later we went in again with same Whale Shark GPS N16 07 858 W086 51 405 We believe it was female also at the same time swimming with it we saw another small one.

Boils have appeared everywhere at GPS N16 07 931 W086 50 956 We again went in with the larger Whale Shark at 1.10pm, 1.20pm, 1.30 pm
2.10pm we went in with another Whale Shark approx 20ft GPS N16 07 068 W086 51 293

Exceptional day, but very strange.
Wed 13-Apr-2005 I had to spend time sorting out a guest's problem, didn't dive, 3 Whale Sharks seen
Thu 14-Apr-2005 I did not go out as still sorting out a guest's problem prevented me but 3 Whale Sharks were seen again, I hope Dan got GPS readings etc
Fri 15-Apr-2005 Weather squalls so did not go North Side.
Sat 16-Apr-2005 Rain showers early on guest change over day so no dives.
Sun 17-Apr-2005 Bad weather rain rough seas so no north Side just south side check out dives with guests.
Mon 18-Apr-2005 North Side no Whale Sharks seen
9am Rain Cloudy
9.20am Rain Cloudy
10.45am Overcast
11.55am Sky clearing
Skies clearing strong wind large swells
Tue 19-Apr-2005 went out north side in afternoon on a hunch after looking at data had the best encounter ever 1hour 20 mins with one Whale Shark it stayed on the surface feeding all that time allowed divers very close.
The Whale Shark we spent all the time with was spotted at GPS N16 07 855 W086 51 493
Wed 20-Apr-2005 Went out afternoon again but saw nothing
Thu 21-Apr-2005 no log entry
Fri 22-Apr-2005 Sunny but lots of cloud, we are being told it is smoke from the mainland from them burning.
10am Boil but fisherman going through breaking it up lots of birds but not many tuna
10.30am Whale Shark seen but went down after BICD tried to tag
11.05am Another boil N 16 08 520 W 086 57 804 saw Whale Shark on surface
11.30am Seen and got good video GPS N 16 08 187 W 086 57 804 approx 20/25ft
11.45am Another seen on Surface not same as above GPS N 16 08 611 W 086 57 091
11.54am Another boil again different to both above N 16 08 799 W 086 59 445

Boils seem to be everywhere with different Whale Sharks in
12.00 Good Video think it was the same one as a few days before with split Caudal fin GPS N16 08 685 W086 59 165

12.05pm In with a different on from above and saw another surface in the boil
12.15pm Another different one GPS N16 08 676 W086 58 969

12.30pm Same one as above Dan bumped by silky as he was filming
12.40pm Good footage Whale Shark vertical Tag no 608 GPS N16 08 015 W 086 58 781
12.42pm Saw another in another boil vertical feeding GPS 16 08 135 W086 58 814
1.00pm in again
1.10 in again
1.20 in again
Boils are everywhere right next to each other all with whale Sharks in.
Sat 23-Apr-2005 no log entry
Sun 24-Apr-2005 no log entry
Mon 25-Apr-2005 Small one seen by UDC about 9am
12.10pm spotted small one in a fast moving boil GPS N16 04 737 W 087 01 810 Came up and put nose to boat off of SW Cay
12.55pm We got 3 good jumps with him and got good footage
1.30pm Jumped again
Tue 26-Apr-2005 Lots of small jelly fish we had them a couple of weeks ago but now have them back again
2 Whale Sharks seen, I wasn’t on boat 1 off Pumkin Hill 1 off Turtle Harbor approx 20 and 25ft
Wed 27-Apr-2005 10.15am 1 large boil 2 Whale Sharks GPS N16 09 070 W086 51 548, had 2end jump with the Whale Shark approx 30ft

Found another different Whale Shark in another boil GPS N16 09 458 W086 51 214 approx 20ft, got another jump with him at 10.40am he has bad lower caudal fin look like it has been bitten, it has small pieces coming off. Second jump was at N16 09 668 W 086 51 005

Third jump with one with bad Caudal GPS N16 09 848 W086 50 705

Fourth Jump GPS N16 09 354 W 086 50 319 lots of thimble Jellies around.

11.35am Different Whale Shark about 20ft vertical in Boil GPS N16 09 396 W086 49 817 large white ramora on Whale Shark.

12.00 Another Whale Shark We are at GPS 16 09 326 W086 49 531 with one Whale Shark approx 20ft Swin is at N16 09 79 W086 49 48 with another we are approx .5 mile apart
Thu 28-Apr-2005  I wasn’t on boat 2 Whale Sharks seen 1 off Rock Harbor they say very Large possibly up to 40ft. Second one seen off Pumpkin Hill about 20ft
Fri 29-Apr-2005 Went out 9am as reports from previous day of very large Whale Shark seen off Rock Harbor.
10.55am Nothing seen so far very very quiet
12.50pm Very Large Boil Whale Shark Vertical in boil, Lots of jellyfish again GPS N16 07 481 W086 51 540
1.15PM Swin saw him again at N16 05 919 W 086 50 971
Have seen this Whale Shark before top of Caudal Fin Missing
Sat 30-Apr-2005 Morning Boat went west and saw Whale Shark approx 25ft off Spotted Bay, it now seems as if they are starting to move towards Belize, looking at Ecocean Site one is already there as a photo has been put into their library.
Sun 1-May-2005 We didn’t see Whale Sharks but we were told of one that was seen out on the banks a small one but no body could get in with him, he kept going down.
Mon 2-May-2005 Wind changed round small cold front from N.W. rough on north side, saw 2 Whale Sharks one off Pumpkin Hill, One off the new Airport between 9.30am and 11am
Wed 1-Jun-2005 Returned from much needed vacation, other things to do, no time for diving
Sun 12-Jun-2005 back in the water - Whale Shark seen off Black Hills approx 25ft
Mon 13-Jun-2005 Whale Shark seen off Black Hills approx 25ft
Tue 14-Jun-2005 Whale Shark seen off Black Hills approx 25ft
Wed 15-Jun-2005 Whale Shark seen off Black Hills approx 25ft
Thu 16-Jun-2005 Whale Shark seen off Black Hills approx 25ft
Fri 17-Jun-2005 Whale Shark seen off Black Hills approx 25ft - he must really like this place
Sat 18-Jun-2005 2 Whale Sharks seen 25ft and 20ft

See also - Whale Shark in Utila, Facts & FiguresResearchControversy