The first time I heard about Malapascua and Thresher sharks was from my friend Charlez in December 2016. After a year of dreaming about going to the island to see them for myself, I finally got to go, exactly 1 year later!Thresher sharks, in my opinion, have got to be the cutest of all sharks. Their big eyes make them look so gormless and worried all the time – so adorable!
Threshers impressively kill their prey by whipping their tails and stunning them.
Thresher sharks are listed as endangered due to the demand for shark fin soup and because they can easily become entangled in fishing line (please see Why We Should All Care About Sharks). In 2016, all species of threshers got listed on CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora), Appendix II, which means their trade between countries is regulated to prevent over-exploitation. Sadly it means they can still be killed 😢 But it’s better that they are on the list rather than not.
To see threshers on Malapascua you have to dive down to 30 meters then just wait at the bottom until they swim past. You will need an advanced diving qualification to do this but there are a lot of dive shops on the island so it’s super easy to get. Luckily when my friend and I got there, there were already a few threshers just swimming around being cleaned by smaller fish. I couldn’t believe how close to them we were, roughly 3 metres away. I could have stayed down there all day watching them because they were so memorizing.
This short video explains how Malapascua has become a haven for the endangered Threshers.
In 2013, the island of Malapascua was hit by a really bad typhoon, destroying most of the island. People who live there used to kill these threshers to sell for food but now they have realised they can make more money by taking divers out to see them. Luckily now threshers are valued and protected by everyone that live on the island. You can see the love for them by the beautiful artwork all over the island.
Apart from diving, there’s not much else to do on the island other than sunbathing and hanging out with the street dogs. There are a few shops to buy souvenirs and some nice restaraunts. It’s super easy to eat vegan on the island. My friend and I stayed at Villa Sandra which was an all organic vegetarian/vegan restaraunt with delicious food!
If you do ever visit Malapascua I hope you enjoy it as much as I did and that you are lucky enough to see some beautiful Threshers! 🦈💙