Whale Sharks of Holbox | JONATHAN BIRD’S BLUE WORLD


Next on Jonathan Bird’s Blue World, Jonathan goes into the ocean with the world’s largest shark! Hi, I’m Jonathan Bird and
welcome to my world! ( ♪ music ) I’ve journeyed to the warm and shallow waters of tiny Holbox Island in the Gulf of Mexico to find and film the world’s largest fish. Holbox is barely more than a
sandy spec on the map of
Northern end of the Yucatan.
It’s not your typical tourist
destination. Until recently,
this sleepy island wasn’t much more than a fishing village. There are no paved roads, and
everyone gets around in golf
carts or other non-conventional transportation. The highway here is a stretch
of beach where you can hit
maybe 20 MPH if you have a fast cart. Downtown, this island has the
charm of a place not yet
discovered by throngs of
tourists. But everywhere there are signs.
Something special has been
discovered here. Offshore in the cool waters of
the Gulf of Mexico, a giant
lurks! I get up early to meet the
boats to take me and the other
intrepid snorkelers on the
adventure of a lifetime. Right! Let’s go find some whale
sharks! Instead of catching fish these
former fishermen are now making
their living taking tourist to swim with the fish. A really
big fish. Using a GPS receiver to help
him navigate, the captain takes
us about an hour offshore. Our guide Andreas watches the
water with a carefully trained
eye on the horizon. Soon, we pass a pod of dolphins. They circle the boat a few
times to check us out, then
vanish. Then we come upon a group of
Eagle Rays frolicking at the
calm surface. I’ve never seen
the rays doing this before. I’m not
even sure what they are up to,
but after a few minutes we have to move on. We put boat back in gear and
keep looking. A ripple up ahead
catches Andreas’s keen eye. As we approach we find a
giant Manta Ray feeding right
at the surface mouth wide open. Manta’s can reach 20 feet
across, but this is just a
small one. Only about size of car Finally, Andres spots what we
are looking for the huge head
of a whale shark sticking up out of water. As we pull the boat up
alongside the shark, I can see
its massive mouth open and
funneling water in, like a gigantic storm
drain. The shark is feeding.
But what could it be eating? It’s more than 30 feet long.
What could feed such an
enormous animal? To find out, I don my snorkel
gear and hop over the side. The whale shark passes right in
front of me. The water is not
very clear, and this is where I get my first clue what is
going on here. The sharks have come to this
section of the ocean because it
is filled with plankton! Whale sharks might be the
biggest fish in the sea, but
they eat only plankton and small fish. The word plankton comes from a
Greek word meaning drifter, so
plankton are drifting organisms. Like these tiny
Copepods The water is filled with
Copepods jellyfish and other
drifting animals. They might be small, but these planktonic
animals are all food for the
mighty whale shark. Early in the morning, when the
water is calm, the plankton
forms a thick layer near the surface. Oooh! He’s just surface
feeding. What the whale sharks
do here is they swim across the surface of the water; with
their mouth open wide; and all
that plankton is sitting right at the surface gets funneled
right into their mouth. The enormous mouth swallows up
huge quantity of water The water comes back out
through the shark’s gills, but
cone like structure in the gills capture the plankton like an
enormous spaghetti strainer. So
the whale shark swimming through the water is like a big pool
skimmer, filtering the plankton
for breakfast. Each shark eats hundreds of pounds of food
every hour! It turns out that
eating plankton is very
efficient for a large animal. Conditions here around Holbox
Island are perfect for plankton
in the summer. The plankton
makes water really murky. But all
that food attracts huge school
of fish. It a bounty that feeds many kinds of animals. Mantas
Rays reed on the plankton, but
the whale shark is by far the most impressive animals
that comes here. Reaching 50 ft
long whale shark grow as large as a school bus, but they
completely harmless all they
are plankton and tiny fish. The fish attract other
predators like dolphins, birds
and bigger fish. That’s why
Holbox has always been a great fishing
area for the locals. That’s incredible. They are so
huge and so much plankton that
in the water we can only see maybe 20 feet under
water. So they are bigger than
the visibility you can’t even see the tail from the head! I can’t believe how many sharks
are feeding around the boat.
There is so much plankton here that it attracts whale
sharks for hundreds of miles
around. Some of the sharks have
escort schools of fish that swarms
around them for protection.
They too eat the plankton
splashing at the surfaces as they feed a
long side the shark. But when I
swim over to investigate they hide under shark as if
where huge swimming reef. Free
diving and keeping up with these sharks is hard work. They don’t
look like they are moving that
fast. I mean their tale just you know gently swishing
back and fourth, but they are
so big the tale so huge that they are actually move faster
than we can keep up with them.
Swim as hard as you can for about 30 seconds then your
pooped and give up. Off they go Later as the sun gets higher in
the sky and the air gets
warmer, the wind picks up and waves start to form. The
plankton layer dissipates, and
the sharks get harder and
harder to find. They are diving deeper out of
site.. Once they dive below we
have no way to find them. So we head back to shore My trip to Holbox has been a
tremendous success and lots of
fun. The economy of this tiny island has been transformed by
this big, harmless, pockadoted
shark. Here in Holbox the people love whale sharks and they are protected
by law. That’s the best part of
this story. ( ♪ music )

100 thoughts on “Whale Sharks of Holbox | JONATHAN BIRD’S BLUE WORLD

  1. Jonathan you are the right marine reptile teacher for my kids?????????????? BTW whale sharks are my favorite ?????????????

  2. Hi Jonathan…are u a marine biologist? your videos are very much enjoyable and resourseful…Seeing these videos now my intention is to be a marine zoologist…thank u

  3. ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♥♥£÷》《₩~¥€`♡♥♡♥♡♥♡♥♡♥♥8♥♡♥7♥7♥7♥÷|

  4. I love your videos i am 8 i stared to watched your videos when I was 3 thanks for inspiring me I want to be like you

  5. a manta ray comes…
    Jonathon:THey can reach to 20ft but this is a small one just the size of a car…
    me:OMG A CAR S BIGGER THAN ME AAAAAAAAAH

  6. I'm glad that the whale shark doesn't eat big things but why does such a big animal eat only small things I know why because the mouth doesn't open that wide so big things won't fit in it

  7. The whale shark is one of my favorite animals because people are always calling me big Swoll makes me like big things in the well shark is the biggest fish in the world the blue whale is the biggest animal in the world the orca is the biggest don’t fit in the

  8. What an absolutely amazing animal and how smart of them to protect them by law. I wonder how many murals there are in Hobash?

  9. I’ve just come back from Mafia Island another small island attracts Whale Sharks. Swimming with them is such a great experience. Love these giant big head babies!?

  10. even tho plankton are so small u can't even see them honestly I think whales mostly whale sharks will survive the longest because the problem with extinction is that they run out of food but in the ocean scientist say that there is as many plankton as there is stars in the universe but I don't believe that one maybe the galaxy tho that one is still kinda hard to believe but I guess so and theres billions no trillions of stars in one galaxy and theres trillions of galaxys in a universe

  11. This is a giant of a fish, yet a harmless filter feeder. Now imagine a Great White Shark that is the size of a Whale Shark – that would be the Megalodon. Scary!

  12. I love sharks and especially whale sharks as they do not harm us …
    But can I ask a question…
    Means everyone has a picture in minds that sharks kills ..But the face u are showing of them is totally different…So is that true that they are dangerous ..I mean i have this doubt that u swim along with them..It's just magical.or just amazing.. I also wanna do research on them or their behavior

  13. There's a meme going about wi either one of these or a basker going "RAWR!!! JK I only eat plankton!!!" Anyway, gorgeous mals & so good to see them getting loved here…

  14. I Do Love Whale Sharks ❤, There are Endangered Species so When I Grow Up, I Will Keep The Ocean Nice and Clean, No Garbage all Over The Ocean That The Whale Sharks or Other Marine Creatures That Will Might Eat It

  15. Oh me and my brother have a character called wily the whale shark and he is around 18 feet and is unintelligent

  16. This show was ultimately nostalgic I think it is one of the best tv shows in history it is so great and I loved it since I was 3 1/2 11/10

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