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Tourists were treated to a lucky encounter on a trip to The Great Barrier Reef on the 5th November 2010 when the boat they were aboard (Aristocat) came across a Whale Shark.
The Whale Shark stayed with the boat for around 25 minutes, during which time this photo was snapped.
“In 20 years, I’ve probably seen about 10 of them,” said Scott Nelson, skipper of the Aristocat.
“November definitely seems to be the month for them, but to get them out here with tourists in the water, it’s a very rare sight indeed.”
The Whale Shark is the world’s biggest shark and biggest fish – it is not actually a whale. Whale Sharks are harmless to people and can grow up to 14 metres long and weigh up to 15 tons. It is estimated they can live for 100 – 150 years.
The Whale Shark is a mysterious animal and it wasn’t until 1828 when the first whale shark specimen (known to science) was discovered off the South African coast.