Whale sharks, the largest fish in the sea, usually live in the tropics. About the size of a school bus, growing to 40 feet long and weighing in at 20 tons, they prefer warm water, migrating every spring to the continental shelf off central west Australia, where the Ningaloo Reef provides them with an abundant supply of plankton, their food of choice.
So Michael Krivohlavek, 21, a mate for Daymaker Sport Fishing Charters out of Charleston, S.C., was surprised to see a whale shark surface behind his boat recently. The fishing boat was in 150 feet of water about 36 miles off Charleston at the time.
Krivohlavek grabbed his camera after the giant fish “popped up” behind the boat. “He was very interested in the boat,” Krivohlavek told Myrtle Beach Online. The fish “did a couple circles around the boat,” he said.
You can see his video, below.
Although massive, whale sharks are gentle giants. Indeed, the males are fairly docile, occasionally letting a swimmer tag along for a ride. They swim with their mouth open to catch plankton and small fish, and they can live to be 70 years old. They are listed as a vulnerable species. Read more: