Swimming with whale sharks ~~ Ecotourism in Mexico


There is a saying that goes by “humans only protect what they love and they only love for they know.” Is that an absolute truth? Do we need to be in touch with what we love to feel entitled to protect it ? So what happens when it comes to wild life? Can we protect it without interfering with it? And if so, how do we do? What should we do? It’s off the coast of the Gulf of Mexico where the sea meets the Atlantic Ocean and the plankton abounds in masses that the whale sharks gather around to have a feast. They come here every single day for months. The thing is they’re not the only ones invited to the party. How many boats were there that day ? Too many. Is it what a ecotourism is all about? Is it supposed to be like this? It sure felt like I was doing something wrong. Like it was wrong to be here in the first place. But once you get in the water, something magical happens. In a deep silence, they appear from a close distance in the light of the ocean. And they swirl, they flit with curiosity with lightness with agility and gentleness. They put on an enchanted show under the surface and weirdly enough, They let us watch. They let us be a part of it. As I was swimming, watching them dancing so freely in that piercing blue light I couldn’t help but wonder… Is it okay for us to be here? Or are we depriving them of their own space just for the incredible chance to dance with them? Is it the price that they have to pay to be alive ? To be free and wild ? Endangered but protected ? Now and tomorrow ? Is it the only way? I don’t know… All I know is, dancing with them has been one of the greatest privilege I’ve ever had. So what if this is what ecotourism is all about ? Letting us be close to what we love in the wild so we can feel involved enough to want to protect it ? What if every single person who comes to swim with them could feel the same grace and the same will to protect them from humans’ craziness as I do ? What if I’m not the only one to think like that ? Then maybe it’s okay. I mean, until we figure out another way… Right ?

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