An underwater adventure turned into a fantastic photo opportunity for one lucky diver recently when he managed to capture an enormous whale shark appearing to smile right back at him with a mouth full of fish.
Evans Baudin, 32, a French marine wildlife expert, was diving off Baja California, Mexico, in June this year when he encountered the giant whale shark. He had been granted special permission to conduct research on the effects reduced marine traffic, a result of the pandemic, has had on oceanic wildlife.
“Thank you, thank you, thank you. My Whale Shark picture was selected as the Grand Prize Winner of All Categories in the Through Your Lens Photo Contest 2020 by Scuba Diving Magazine. Feeling so honored right now, especially after seeing the incredible work of all the photographers who entered the contest. I still can't believe the news, some of my favorite underwater photographers were also competing ... it's just wooow. Thank you to all the juries for choosing my image.”According to the WWF, whale sharks (Rhincodon typus) are the largest shark, and indeed largest of any fish alive today. They feed on plankton and travel large distances to find enough food to sustain their huge size, and reproduce.
They are found in all the tropical oceans of the world. Their white-spotted coloration makes these gentle giants easy to distinguish, and popular with snorkelers and divers at sites where they aggregate off the coast.
The maximum size of whale sharks is not known, but could be as long as 20 meters.
While sharks are known to be accompanied by remoras, Baudin's recent encounter shows just how intimate that relationship can be. The sea surely holds wonders stranger than this that we're yet to discover.
Here are some of the other winners of the photo competition: