It may look a bit scary.
However, we assure readers he only eats plankton and smaller fish.
The image of this 38-foot Whale Shark was captured on both an underwater still camera and video by underwater photography enthusiast Bob Geddes during a trip off Seven Mile Beach on Sunday in Grand Cayman.
Mr. Geddes, who has lived in the Cayman Islands for about seven years, had never seen a Whale Shark in these waters.
“It was pretty awesome,” said Mr. Geddes, who free-dove into the deep waters just off Calico Jack’s along Seven Mile Beach to get the photos. “It was definitely bigger than the boat. It came right up and bumped the boat.”
The 24-foot craft owned by local resident Billy Adam was never in any danger, Mr. Geddes said. However, the arrival of the Whale Shark sparked an incident that Mr. Geddes described as “the water coming alive” with loads of silver-sides and jack fish floating alongside the craft.
Mr. Adam said there was a mini-whirlpool alongside the boat as the Whale Shark sucked in the water to feed on the smaller fish.
Whale Shark sightings are not unheard of in the Cayman Islands. In fact it was just in March of this year that a 35-foot whale shark was spotted near the Kittwake dive site along Seven Mile Beach.
The 35-foot shark was believed to be on a migratory path and had stopped off to feed on sea thimbles.
The docile creatures can grow to 50 feet in length and eat mostly plankton and bait fish through their wide mouths.
According to the Whale Shark conservation website www.whalesharkproject.org the creatures generally tend to inhabit warm waters, between 18 and 30 degrees Celsius.
However, the site states that tagging data has indicated Whale Sharks spend significant periods of time diving to great depths and into water colder than 10 degrees Celsius, presumably to feed.