After what seemed like a lifetime of waiting around in Manila and miles on the road, we were checked in to a nice room with a sea view and a plan to get on a boat at 7am the next day in an effort to see the whale sharks. All suited and booted with fins and a mask (rented, I dread to think of the mouths it had previously been in) we were on the boat for a couple of minutes before our guide called out for us to leap off the left side and look down - but it was swimming in the murky depths of the water and may as well have been a plastic bag for all we saw. However, the next time we jumped in (and our guide pulled me along as I was too slow with my newly aquatinted flippers to keep up) we were swimming right above one and could see it perfectly, which was incredible and terrifying at the same time. We were kicking ourselves for not buying a waterproof camera that we’ve been umming and ahhing about for a while as we have no images of them!

The last time we jumped in, Will and I were the last to get off the boat - my fault - and were quite far away from the group who were chasing one, but in a turn of luck, the whale shark they had in their sights changed direction and swam right next to us! It was enormous and for a moment I thought I was going to be sucked into its mouth, but it peacefully swam past us (until its fin smacked Will) I’d never done anything like it before and it was amazing, I can’t believe its size and how close we were able to get.