Down at the southern end of Cenderawasih Bay, is a collection of villages and scattered homes called Kwatisore, and it is there that the whale sharks come to feed off the floating fishing platforms called bagans. The fishermen have been feeding the whale sharks like this for many years; it was first discovered before WWII. The area is only visited by a handful of dive boats as it is quite remote, and the basic setup is that the dive boat pays a small fee to the pagan and allows the divers to swim under the platform whilst the fishermen feed the whale sharks.
We spent the whole day there today with an open dive deck as all the action is in the first ten meters from the surface, if that. Douglas spent over five hours in the water with them, only coming back every now and then to change tanks and have a swig of water. The whale sharks are totally ambivalent towards the divers and very gentle, almost languid in their movements. They jostle for a good feeding position, hang there for ten minutes or so gulping fish laden water and then stop and do a slow loop to digest a little bit before coming back for more; and they do this all day.