The Whale Shark is the largest ever recorded fish and one of the largest living creatures of any kind found in the world today. The largest ever accurately measured whale shark was 40 feet, 7 inches in length, it had a 4.5 foot wide mouth, a 4.5 foot high dorsal fin, and 6.5 foot long pectoral fins. These filter feeders despite their massive size do not represent any harm to humans. They are very gentle and can be quite playful, reason why Whale shark diving and snorkeling has become one of the most popular attractions in Belize.
The best known spot for Whale Shark diving and snorkeling is Gladden Spit. Gladden Spit is around 60 minute boat ride from Hopkins. It is locally known as “The Elbow” or “Point of Reef” and has a short sloping shelf that drops off steeply at about 160 feet/50 mt then drops off into the blue abyss. Every year, around the full moon in the springtime, an array of reef fishes such as mutton snappers spawn (reproduce) in this area and release millions of baby fish eggs which are what the whale sharks come here to feed on. This is a world famous whale shark feeding site where divers can witness large schools of courting snapper and whale sharks while diving or snorkeling.
Other common sightings while at Gladden Spit are, bull sharks, dolphins, turtles, mantas, schools of other fishes like horse eye jacks, crevalle jacks, mutton and dog snappers and the occasional game fish such as wahoos and kings.
The whale sharks in Belize normally appear about 3 days before and 3 days after the full moon with records showing that the best months for sightings are April and May.
The 2016 Belize Whale Shark Season dates are:
March 22th to April 2nd (Full Moon – March 23)
April 21st to May 2nd (Full Moon – April 22)
May 22nd to May 31st (Full Moon – May 21)
June 19th to June 30th (Full Moon – June 20)