Dotted whale shark greets divers at Koh Tao as Surat Thani opens to tourists
A four-metre-long whale shark showed up to welcome visitors at Koh Tao’s Chumphon Pinnacle as Surat Thani province opened its doors to foreign tourists on Monday. The shark, nicknamed “Phi Jood” (dotted brother), appeared to be greeting divers off the coast of the island.
Viren Buasamui, chair of the Koh Tao Thai Divers Team, said whale sharks commonly show up at diving sites near the island between May and October every year. He said last year there were some 280 whale sharks in the area, and now Phi Jood appears to be visiting divers almost daily.
He said in October, when the winds change direction, many large-sized creatures show up at the Chumphon Pinnacle, such as whales, whale sharks and even dolphins.
Also, he said, the waters around Koh Tao have become more abundant thanks to the lack of tourists and locals building fish houses around the island.
“I urge divers and tourists to not use a flash or shine a torch at the whale shark when taking pictures. People should also stay 3-4 metres away from the whale sharks to ensure these beautiful creatures can live happily alongside us,” Viren said.