Whale Shark (Rhincodon typus) - Vilamendhoo, Maldives
In July 2002, at the age of 10, I learned to dive. I started out with my PADI junior-open-water-diver certificate, and have now worked my way up to being a certified Rescue-Diver. I remember always enjoying swimming, and then when I was introduced to it, loving the sea; so much so that i am in the middle of a Marine Biology Degree at University.
My father has always been a keen diver, he was the one that got my sister and I into it. One day during my first holiday to the Maldives, he came back from a dive and told us that he had seen three whale sharks all swimming together on the surface, and he just floated on the surface and watched them for half an hour. At the age of 10, and knowing very little about the sea, I dreamt of seeing a whale shark and was very eager to get into the water. This was when why goal of one day encountering a Whale Shark started.
Every holiday after that, I was determined to see one, but unlike being determined to do well at school, or to save money, this was completely out of my control. I just needed to be in the right place at the right time, and for that holiday, and 9 years of holidays after that, I was definitely in the wrong place and at the wrong time.
I saw an array of other species of sea life, including manta rays, eels, other sharks, but nothing even close to the power and size of the Whale Shark. At the age of 19 and half way through University, this was probably my last family holiday. I knew that this was going to be my final chance in a long time for me to see a Whale Shark. And now after diving every year since 2002 my search for the elusive shark is over, and it ends at the perfect time.
My search for my first ever Whale Shark is complete, I may be greedy, but I am really keen to see more, and I am still as excited as I was when i first heard about them at the age of 10. I can't wait to get back into the water with them, and I really hope that I do not have to wait another 9 years to do it.
-Callum September 2011
Just a quick note to say thank you for all the comments and favourites I have recieved over the last day since managing to get onto the flickr blog. I have had the highest amount of views in over a year today, thanks to all.
I have been obsessed with sharks since the first time I went diving at the age of 10. This obsession led me want to photograph them, and learn about them. I am now in my second year of university studying marine biology, maybe some day I will get to swim with them for a living.
- Callum Feb. 2012