Updated: May 21, 2020
As a Florida native, I was practically raised on the water! I’ve always known and appreciated the great blue, as a kid I was convinced I would grow up to be a marine biologist and spend the rest of my days at sea, (that was before I found out I would have to be good at science for such a job). Sometimes I would say that I am more at home in the ocean than I am on land! But, in all my years, never have I seen anything like this!
We started the day with the notion that it was going to be a beautiful day. The sun was shining in a warm and soft kind of way, not in a humid and scorching way. The water was as still as glass. There was not a cloud in sight. It was the kind of Florida day that people come across the country to see. So, when we had a wonderful day out on the water, we were not surprised. It’s what came towards the end of the day that had us speechless.
We took a deep-sea fishing charter out for my little sisters birthday and we had an amazing trip with Captain Josh from Siesta Kation Charters. We spent the day breathing the fresh air, admiring the crystal clear water and enjoying each others company- and fishing, of course. I took a long break after hooking a 150-200 pound Goliath Grouper and wrestling with it for 15 minutes (I am sooooo sore today). We also caught a giant barracuda and we even caught a few nights worth of dinner! The day of fishing was so much fun and we thought it couldn't have gotten any better.
At our last stop, (well, what we thought was our last stop at the time) I couldn’t resist taking a quick dip in the gorgeous, cool water so I spent a few minutes working up the nerve to dive in and finally did. As soon as I hit the water, all my nerves calmed. It was a short lived swim, because being in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico might feel serene from the top of the water... but thoughts of what might be underneath quickly catch up to you and you're ready to be back on the boat. We made sure to get a few good Instagram posts and then we headed back to the docks.
On our way back, we were about 12 miles out from Siesta Key when we thought we saw giant birds or fins playing in the distance. We weren’t sure what we were seeing so our captain turned the wheel and we coasted towards the objects. As we got closer, we thought we were seeing two sharks feeding- with two huge fins we were sure it was more than one shark.
We were in awe once we realized we were experiencing a whale shark in its natural habitat! It was so large, the "two fins" we saw were its giant dorsal and its caudal fin. These gentle giants are filter feeders (hence the name "whale shark") and we even got to watch it do the thing!! The shark was not phased by us being so close and continued to cruise along the side of the boat, it even swam under the bow at one point! We were so close to it that we could have reached down and touch it if we had wanted to… okay, we REALLY wanted to but we didn’t want to disturb him! We would have jumped in to swim with the gentle creature but we were scared of what might be lurking under him.
I feel so blessed to have peacefully observed this natural beauty. This was truly the most amazing sight we have ever seen, and it just goes as a reminder of how lucky we are to live in such a beautiful world.
My words barely do this experience justice, but I hope that by sharing these pictures and videos with you, you will feel like you experienced it too! None of this footage has been altered or edited, so this goes to show the true beauty of the day