On Friday evening we skipped our usual pool swim in favour of something a little more exciting.
We passed the beautiful RMS St Helena which had just arrived in port and headed out into the ocean.
You see, there was something rather special in the water.
Something rather large in the water.
Actually about 10 large somethings.
They were there to hoover up the ocean and in the process consume the thousands of fish eggs that are released at this time of year by the spawning fish.
They are whale sharks, the biggest fish in the sea.
Until recently, little was known of their wanderings across the ocean until a photo was taken in St Helena waters last year of one that was clearly pregnant. Now the wonderful people in the marine team have tagged one to see where she goes. You can follow her too!
They are completely harmless, and just ignore boats in the water.
They also ignore people in the water. So, (strictly following the guidelines (p20) so as not to distress them or us) in we got.
And this is what we saw...
They were each between 4 and 10 metres in length.
They are accompanied by pilot fish and sucker fish that travel the oceans with them.
The pattern of spots is unique to each individual and a whale shark register exists to track their movements round the world.
They are gentle giants, although it is hard to remember that when they get close.
Especially if they come straight towards you. (Freak out, moi?)
So, massive fish, ocean at least 1km deep, what do we do? Encourage the Smalls to go in too!
They wore life-jackets and J held on to them in a vice-like grip, but we couldn't let them miss out on this one. We were hugely proud of Tall Girl and Tiny Boy for giving it a go.
Big Trouble doesn't like the sea though, so he stayed on the boat with his wee pal and supervised the Skipper.
So, for scale, the boat is 10m long. So are the fish.
(Thanks to J for the underwater camera work - just breathing was demanding enough for me!)