Divers sight whale shark off Koh Tao

The large whale shark sighted near Koh Tao in Surat Thani on Thursday. (Photo: Freediver Phavit Ninyanimit)

SURAT THANI: A large and healthy-looking whale shark was seen and videoed at the popular Kong Hin Chumphon diving site off Koh Tao in Koh Phangan district on Thursday, to the delight and excitement of divers.

About 20 scuba and freedivers were in the group that spotted the 3-4 metre long shark at Kong Hin Chumphon, to the northwest of Koh Tao.

The divers, led by instructor Swaschai Kulsiriwat and freediver Phavit Ninyanimit, were delighted to be able swim near the giant fish, estimated to be aged 20-25 years.

The whale shark swam in the area from Thursday morning into the afternoon. The divers took many photos.

Surat Thani governor Wichawut Jinto on Friday praised local residents and tourism operators for helping conserve natural resources at Koh Tao.

The sighting of the whale shark indicated the richness of the undersea environment in the Gulf of Thailand, particularly at popular diving sites such as Kong Hin Chumphon, Hin Bai and Kong Tungku rocks, the governor said.

“Koh Tao is one of the major tourist destinations of Surat Thani. Now, the island has  reopened…fully vaccinated tourists and people who test negative for Covid-19 using antigen kits can visit the island,” said Mr Wichawut.

In June last year, divers last saw a whale shark in the area, at Hin Bai (Sail Rock) south of Koh Tao and Koh Phangan,

That shark was also 3-4 metres long and was sighted about 18 metres down by diving instructors from Ban’s Diving Koh Tao.

A diver swims near the large whale shark seen at Kong Hin Chumphon, a popular diving site off Koh Tao, on Thursday. (Photo: Phavit Ninyanimit)

A shark whale, about 3-4 metres long, is spotted by a team of divers at Kong Hin Chumphon, of Koh Tao in Surat Thani on Thursday morning. (PR.Surat Facebook page)

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