Rumble / Ocean Life — Scuba diving with whale sharks is a bucket list item for almost every diving enthusiast anywhere in the world. They are magnificent and awe inspiring creatures, second in size only to a few of the whale species. Slow moving and peaceful, they are truly the ocean’s gentle giants. Although they are sharks, they are incapable of harming a human and they cannot bite or inflict injury. They don’t even have teeth.
Whale sharks cruise great distances and inhabit almost all tropical waters around the globe. Scuba divers consider themselves extremely fortunate to see a whale shark under water, and a close encounter with one can be a beautiful and life-changing experience. The rare few that capture a picture or video of one of these animals will never forget the moment.
Brad, a very experienced scuba diver had traveled from Canada to the Galapagos Islands to see the abundant marine life. On a liveaboard dive cruise to the remote area of Darwin Island, he was hoping that he would see a whale shark. His wish came true when he saw the enormous shadow of an approaching shark. He waited and was rewarded as the creature drifted closer and swam past him, almost close enough to touch. Brad was ready with his camera and he filmed the experience as it came into view and as it drifted past him looking him in the eye. This was a fifty foot long pregnant female, weighing as much as 100,000 lbs (44,000kg). Brad’s eyes were riveted on the beast and he was excited that the entire encounter was being recorded in full HD video. But just as the monstrous fish was almost past, Solon, a dive guide with a mischievous sense of humor appeared in the frame from the left. Solon swam into view with his arms up in a gesture of triumph and victory as he intruded on this magical moment and inserted himself in what was possibly the best video of Brad’s diving career. Solon had just performed the world’s most epic photo bomb. Knowing he was now in the full frame between Brad and the shark, Solon hilariously performed a roll and extended his arms as if he was flying.
Solon and Brad enjoy a very fun-loving relationship and Solon knew that Brad would see the humor in his antics. But photo bombing a once in a lifetime experience like this was saucy and possibly the most memorable practical joke that a diver could ever play on another.
Brad’s whale shark video will be enjoyed for many years to come as he relives this dive, and now, Solon will also be forever remembered as well.