Swimming with a Whale Shark is a true MISOGI. The chances of even spotting these elusive creatures, the largest fish in the ocean is maybe a 10% chance.
But I was determined to find one anyway!
I was on a plane to London to speak about my new book when the gentleman next to me started a conversation.
“What do you do?” he asked.
“I write about Work Happiness and I speak about it at conferences and within companies,” I replied. “How about you?”
He went on to tell me that he used to work for a major corporation in engineering and now he works for a UK University where he is the inventor of tracking devices for Whale Sharks. My skin got goosebumps.
And, he continued; his research team would be in the Maldives the following week to find one or more and put the device on so that they could better understand the species and how to protect them.
It just so happened that I was going to the Maldives the following week too. On a trip with 20 people for a friend’s birthday. The plan was to surf, snorkel, fish, scuba dive, sun and maybe, just maybe, swim with a Whale Shark.
I asked the Captain of the boat if he thought we would find one. He wasn’t hopeful.
“I haven’t seen one yet, and I’ve been on these waters for many, many years.”
Bummer. But I was hopeful.
Toward the end of the trip, I was on a dive with 2 others on the trip, when one of the tenders sped up to us and hurried us out of the water.
“Let’s go! Whale Shark!”
I was so excited. The boat managed to round all of us up, get us on the largest tender and drive us to the Whale Shark that had been spotted by a plane and another boat.
We were there in 15 minutes and the rush of adrenaline was through the roof as 20 of us jumped in the water with our snorkeling gear.
“Go, go, go!” The crew was encouraging us to jump in as fast as we could. It looked like a scene from the movie Titanic, with all the splashing and thrashing.
And then, it happened. I looked down and all was quiet.
Directly under me (about 15 feet) was the largest fish I had ever seen. I could almost touch the Whale Shark. It was the most beautiful, transformative experiences of my life.
He started to rise (as they warm themselves on the surface), to the point that I thought I would be riding him any minute.
And then, after about 1/2 hour, he dove deep into the abyss.
Somehow, my intuition told me that I would see one AND swim with one.
I have such a respect for the ocean and for these beautiful, peaceful creatures, that now I donate to their preservation.
This experience was a huge MISOGI for me because it had about a 90% chance of failure.
But I did it. Now I have no fear of anything in the ocean (even Great Whites that are often spotted offshore where I live). I feel aligned with nature and more sure about my love of this earth.
I have changed.