Whale Shark Conservation: The Women I Met in Dhigurah

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43 Responses

  1. Varsha Gawai says:

    Oh, what a great post I came through. You have put it very nicely. All the photos are awesome. I would like to meet Bobo. :)

  2. Raksha Rao says:

    That’s awesome. I heard so much about spotting whale sharks in Dhigurah when I was in the Maldives. But alas I wasn’t able to make it. Maybe I’ll visit Dhigurah next time then :)

  3. Alexander Popkov says:

    I did many kinds of photography but never tried underwater shots. What are the shots made with? :)

    • Teja says:

      We only needed to snorkel for this program, so I used my trusty Canon PowerShot D20. It’s good down to 10m. I’ve had it for some years now, and so far the seals are holding. :)

  4. Rachel says:

    This sounds like an incredible experience, and those whale sharks are spectacularly beautiful. And so glad you got to meet and befriend so many wonderful women, it sounds like a great group!

  5. Anu says:

    Being vegetarian or vegan is not easy – believe me I have to struggle a lot at times even in very touristy places.

    • Teja says:

      I think it’s getting easier though. I am often vegetarian while travelling, being Muslim (vegetarian food is automatically also halal). So I’ve kinda noticed it’s getting easier. :)

  6. Sarah Daisey I Detours with Daisey says:

    This sounds like such an amazing experience! I love the way you write, your voice really comes through. Thanks for teaching me a little more about sustainable tourism, this is something I’d like to look into in the future!

    • Teja says:

      Thank you! I hope you do – whether you shift actual travel choices to ecotourism, or even just changing some travel habits to be a more sustainable traveller!

  7. Vicky says:

    I love the way you write about your experience! This sounds like a great volunteering opportunity which you’ve documented so well!

  8. Daniela says:

    Great experience and very well written story that takes you on a journey!

  9. This Epic World says:

    Sharks! That word itself is scary. But when you add ‘whale’ before it, it just gives a better, rather, far less scary perspective. The world under water has always fascinated me but I’ve never even scuba dived before. But your writing made me feel it all and just dream about when I’ll be able to do it. Althought I’m thinking of diving with blue whales in Sri Lanka?

    • Teja says:

      That’s the beauty of this volunteering program! I did not dive – we only needed to snorkel!

      P.S.: There are blue whales passing by Sri Lanka?!?!

  10. Ella says:

    Beautiful article! I felt like I was there with you. I can only imagine how incredible it felt when you were so close to the whale sharks. I would love to swim with them one day!

  11. Aneesha says:

    I thoroughly enjoy your writing style. It’s very perceptive, and I really like how you document things. I simply got lost in your post. Took me a little while to realise that travel is truly more about the people you meet than the place sometimes.

  12. Summer says:

    Wow, what an amazing experience and opportunity. I enjoyed reading about your thoughts and journey volunteering. This looks like a beautiful place as well!

  13. Wow it was so great to read about your thoughts, musings, and experiences in the Maldives! Snorkeling with whale sharks is sure to be life changing!

  14. Gina says:

    I had no idea whale sharks were protected in so many different countries. I also didn’t know they hang out 1000 meters below the surface. That’s a long way down! They’re beautiful animals and it’s sad when anything dies. I’m glad that you didn’t have to collect samples when they wash up on shore. The odor would probably be terrible.

  15. neha says:

    I had so far read about several volunteering activities but nothing close to this. This really looks very interesting and worth doing. Given the endangerment that the species is facing, it is very important to preserve them and understand what nurtures them and what harms them. Good job there!

  16. Lydia Smith says:

    Teja, your use of words are amazing! You are indeed the urban story teller luring us with your magic. Since I started reading your blog, there’s this message you’ve always passed across – traveling with purpose. What more, you give detailed description of your experiences and make not only traveling but volunteering also fun. You’ve sold me out to visit Dhigurah. I wish to come across one day. WISH

    • Teja says:

      Thank you so much for the support, Lydia! It is my dearest hope that we all can become more aware in life and travel – even in little ways. And yes, I know people enough to understand that indeed, sustainability advocates have to show that it feels great!

      I wish you manage to get to Dhigurah too!

  17. Jessica Esa says:

    Fantastic post and so much detail! I’ve never visited the Maldives but I’m very tempted to now!

    • Teja says:

      I wouldn’t have thought to go either, if it wasn’t for the whale shark volunteering program!

  18. Ridima says:

    Wow…what a beautiful place. I was actually looking for a place for my next scuba diving… you have definitely set some goals for me. Thanks.

  19. Norhalizah says:

    An indepth write up. What an experience.

  20. Travelquartz says:

    Such a nicely written post on the Island of Dhigurah. Your writing got me captivated as I was also feeling happy to read about the vegan cake . Traveling is more than a place it is about meeting people making friends and sharing experiences. Thankyou for sharing such awesome moments.

  21. So much travel writing, I feel, really only skims the surface of what it is to be in a place. But this blog post does it so well. It’s deep, it’s introspective, it reflects on the beauty of whale sharks and friendships, and often connects the two. Now, I want to go out there and volunteer myself. I’ve been on the verge of doing it many times, but somehow life always gets in the way.

    Thanks for writing this, I’m sure I’ll return to this post and read it again soon.

    • Teja says:

      Jump, Chris! :D Perhaps next time will be the right time. And maybe life will flow around it, or – bring life along!

      Thank you for the beautiful comment.

  22. anshul says:

    This place looks like an incredible destination to enjoy the underwater life. Hope it stays this way and doesn’t become a victim of the latest underwater tourism boom.

    • Teja says:

      Me too! I touched on that a little bit in the next article – “The Non-Honeymoon Introduction to the Maldives”.

  23. Krupa says:

    This is such an incredible post to read and quite in detail. I have been to maldives last year and certainly connect with your experience of being there. Thanks for sharing.

  24. Rajat says:

    Amazing post, Such posts make me happy and urge me to travel more so that i can also visit such places some day! :)

    • Teja says:

      There are not many compliments you can get that’s better than having made someone happy :) Thank you so much.

  25. Bonita says:

    Responsible tourism is a gospel we need to preach. I appreciate your passion!I had not until now heard of Dhigurah, leave alone heard of sharks in the Maldives. I love your passion and definitely the positive vibe you spread… This is a deep post!

    • Teja says:

      Thank you! I do try on this blog to advocate for responsible tourism. Except that, to complement the sustainable travel information and promotion efforts that are being made by many others, I am trying to describe it in terms of what the human experience feels like, when you’re doing it – in hope that people are not only informed about why and how, but also feel desire to travel sustainably.

  26. Moimehr says:

    I would love to be a part of one such volunteer program when I grow up. I loved your story out there. I got lost in it. Such a shark inhabited part of the sea must be a thrilling experience for deep sea divers. I have never been to Maldives, but since it lies so close to India I am sure I will soon.

    • Teja says:

      I’m quite sure you will :) They’re wonderfully gentle, the whale sharks. And even the juvenile ones we see around there are already so big, I can’t imagine how it would feel to encounter an adult!

  27. Denny George says:

    I’ve always believed that one of the main inspirations for travel are the people you meet and building an understanding of the world we live in from diverse cultural experiences and worldviews. You seem to have done that successfully during your time in the Maldives. Congrats!

  28. you.theworld.wandering says:

    It was so great reading this post – I really connected with your Maldives local island experience! You have inspired me to go to Dhigurah and swim with the whalesharks! It’s an island I’ve always wanted to visit! Looks like the Volunteer program is quite a success. Glad you had an amazing stay!

  29. neha says:

    So beautifully written. It was one of the most engaging posts that I read today with so much of deep thoughts, and so much of emotions that you have put out there. Particularly what you said about sustainable tourism makes so much sense. I had never thought so deeply about this.

    • Teja says:

      Thank you. It is what I hoped to achieve with my writing. Please continue to think about it, and hopefully you may speak about it to others and help them think about it too.