In December, right before he left for a Christmas trip, Dave went on a snorkeling trip – to swim with whale sharks. After a two-and-a-half hour boat ride into the Gulf of Tadjoura, they finally found some of these leviathans.
It was a cool day by Djibouti winter standards of about 90⁰ Fahrenheit with about 80 percent humidity. “A nice day,” Dave said.
The boat ride was rocky on the way out. “In the big boat, that was fine for the first hour-and-a-half, but the last hour in the smaller boat, I was a little queasy and thankful I could jump into the water for a while,” he said.
In his journal, Dave described the sharks. “On top of the water you see a small fin, like a dolphin. When you look underwater there’s an animal the size of a bus!”
Despite their size, these enormous fish move through the water with the grace of a ballerina. Whale sharks get their name because of their size – up to 50 feet in length, but they are not a member of the whale family, which are mammals. They also feed on plankton, not other fish.
As Dave was swimming with them, staring into their huge mouths, he wondered if this might be the kind of fish, which Jonah found himself in the belly of in the Bible story. “I preached my first guest sermon at the Camp Lemonnier Chapel Thanksgiving weekend on the Jonah story. Swimming with these amazing creatures three weeks later, brought the Jonah story to life for me.
“My feelings were confirmed in the weeks after my sermon by others who heard the sermon and then took advantage of swimming with the whale sharks.”
“It’s very impressive. God does amazing work.”