This awesome albino female whale shark is believed to be the only one of her kind. She was spotted only once, back in the summer of 2008, by diver and naturalist Antonio Moreano, who had taken a group of tourists on a nature cruise in the waters off the coast of Darwin Island, located in the Galapagos Archipelago:
‘It was 4:30pm and I and six guests were at Darwin’s Island, set to make the fourth dive of the day,’ said Mr Moreano, who hails from the Puerto Ayora-Galapagos. ‘As we were on the boat checking our equipment I saw a big white thing by the surface of the water. At the beginning I could not tell what it was - I had never seen anything like it before. So I decided to put my mask on and put my face over into the water. Right after this I explained to my guests that it looked like a white whale shark and we were going to all jump in the water and try to follow it. I told everyone to keep a distance and not disturb it so we all jumped in the water and followed it for five minutes.’
‘I free dove 50ft down and is when I finally managed to get some pictures of it,’ he explained. ‘It was difficult because I did not want to frighten it away so I stayed a few metres away. After a few minutes the albino disappeared and nobody has ever seen it again! The whole experience from the moment I first saw it to the time it swam away lasted around 30 minutes. I was very excited but it was not until we came back to the boat that I finally realised and understood how special this sighting was. I realised it was a unique experience and was maybe the best gift that my beautiful islands could”ve ever given to me. I kept up swimming with it and I got very close - even the eye was white.’
And no one has seen her since.
Photos by Antonio Moreano.
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