Turtle Bay Dive Resort Blog

The New Rules for Whale Shark Watching at Oslob Cebu

Posted by Chris White on Thu, May 24, 2012 @ 11:15 AM

Municipality of Oslob Controls Whale Shark Watching.

Whael shark at Tan-awan, Oslob. Photo by Tim Digger

The Municipality of Oslob Now Controlling Whale Shark Watching

The Municipality of Oslob which now controls the whale shark activities at Tana-wan, Oslob recently issued a new ordinance which became effective on April 15, 2012. The Council correctly observed that it is difficult to control whale shark watching, snorkelling and diving in Tana-wan. When there are large numbers of visitors in the water . Overcrowding and poor control may cause possible harm to the whale sharks. The Council have therefore passed resolution 326 amending ordinance 091:2-12. The amended ordinance provides for measures for protection and conservation of marine wild life, particularly whale sharks. There are new regulations and guidelines supported by fees, fines and penalties for violations.

The new rules and guidelines include:

• All whale shark watchers must undergo orientation at the Briefing Center on the rules for interaction with whale sharks;

• Whale shark watchers are limited to 30 minutes (I think this applies to those in boats);

• Life guards will be on site during whale watching hours;

• Dive Centers bringing visitors must be accredited with the Municipality of Oslob (Turtle Bay Dive Resort is accredited);

• No feeding of whale sharks by unauthorized personnel; and

• Only staff from accredited organisations may guide visitors.

Some Tips to Maximise the Experience.

For most whale shark encounters, you will find yourself in the open sea swimming with an animal that can move several feet with just one gentle motion of the tail. Additionally, you are also away from the immediate surface security of the support boat, as vessels should keep a large berth around these gentle giants to avoid disturbance of their natural behaviour, often filter feeding at the surface. You might not need to be a scuba diver, but good water and snorkelling skills are a must for you to be able to enjoy the encounter.

As with many sea-related activities, your physical fitness will also play a role in the success of the encounter. Of course, to thoroughly enjoy your trip you need to be comfortable with your snorkel gear. Using a mask and snorkel for the first time on such a trip might prove uncomfortable and compromise your enjoyment; so, if you are new to the gear, practice at home or take a lesson with a professional before your big encounter -- consider swimming and practicing few laps in a pool to improve your overall fitness level.

New Dive Ticket Fees.

With effect from April 15, 2012, the Municiplaity of Oslob increased whale watching fees as follows:

Foreign Visitors (no longer any extra charge for cameras):

• Whale shark watching from a boat = Php 500.00;

• Snorkelling with whale sharks = Php 1,000.00;

• Scuba diving = Php 1,500.00.

Philippine Visitors (not from Oslob):

• Whale shark watching from a boat = Php 300.00;

• Snorkelling with whale sharks = Php 500.00;

• Scuba diving = Php 600.00.

Future Changes.

From articles that have appeared in the media, it appears that the Council of Oslob are still reviewing the situation and researching how other municipalities control whale shark watching and so there many well be more changes in the rules to come.

Whale Shark Watching with Turtle Bay Dive Resort.

Turtle Bay now has a slot for whale shark watching every Thursday between 7:00am and 8:00am. We leave the resort at 5:30am and have breakfast on the beach after the dive. The cost for the trip including, transport, breakfast, one shore dive with tank, weights and guide is:

• Scuba divers = Php 4,500.00 (using your own gear;

• Snorkelers = Php 3,500.00 (using your own gear).

These prices EXCLUDE the cost of the dive ticket i.e. Php 1,500.00 for divers and Php 1,000.00 for snorkelers.

We usually need a minimum of four guests before we arrange a trip. We can also apply for a slot from the municipality of Oslob on other days if Thursday does not suit our guests’ schedule.

Tags: whale shark, whale sharks at Oslob, Diving the Philippines