Whale shark

Rhincodon typus

Ulysse Explorer invites you to discover, observe and swim alongside the Ocean’s largest fish, the whale shark, Rhincodon typus.

The Nosy Be region is home to a number of marine species, including the whale shark, mainly juveniles which is a common sight when out at sea. Every year, more and more tourists from all over the world come to the region to meet these “gentle giants”.

The best time of year to see them is from October to December, but they can be seen the rest of the year when scuba diving or on a cruise.

This majestic fish of impressive size features a unique pattern of ridges and dots on its thick dorsal skin. These markings are as unique as human fingerprints. A recent technique reported by Australian researcher Brad Norman makes it possible to identify individual whale sharks based on the exact positioning of their white spots.
Their average size is around 8 metres, but some can measure up to 14 metres and weigh up to 12 tonnes.

Whale sharks may impress with their huge, massive size, but in reality they are harmless, non-aggressive fish. They feed mainly on plankton, which they filter, krill, small fish and squid.

They travel at a slow pace (around 5 km/h) but are capable of covering thousands of kilometres during their migrations. They are generally rather solitary, although groups can sometimes be seen in certain lagoons during the animal’s reproduction period or that of the corals, as they also feed on the milky soup that the corals disperse.

Although we still don’t know what happens during gestation, we do know that the young are born fully formed and measure around 45 to 50 cm in length, and that the fish reaches sexual maturity between 20 and 30 years of age.

Their average life expectancy is estimated at 70 years, although they can live for 100 years or more. These fish have no known predators apart from killer whales and, above all, humans.

Although they are neither a threat to divers nor to humans in general, these harmless creatures are unfortunately under increasing threat from human activity and overfishing. Whale sharks are currently listed as a vulnerable species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

This video shows the whale shark opening its mouth wide to capture its food. Its gills, which enable it to breathe, also filter water and food.

Whale sharks are docile and very easy to approach, which is why we strongly advise against touching them, so as not to transmit diseases and bacteria to them. A few metres are needed to observe them respectfully and, above all, to facilitate their movements.

We are committed to introducing you to this wonderful creature in a respectful and gentle way, so as to disturb it as little as possible and leave you with the memory of an unforgettable creature.




Whale watching

From August to October, we spot and approach groups of whales without disturbing them.


Green & Hawksbill

Dive or snorkel to observe the green turtles and hawksbill turtles present in the region.


Our dives take place in the bay of Nosy Be, more specifically around the island of Ankazoberavina.