Sail with whale sharks in Qatar
Come April this year, Discover Qatar will be offering a unique Whale Sharks Expedition Cruise, the first publicly available trips to see these magnificent sea creatures in their natural habitat.
Qatar is home to one of the largest aggregations of whale sharks on the planet: The whale shark research project in Qatar has recorded more than 600 whale shark in their database, making it a world record. Until now, the area that is home to whale sharks has been closed to the public, so very little is known about them.
TBO Holidays has been awarded the worldwide distribution for this unique product. Lyndon Mendonca, TboCruise, Business Development Manager, MEA, tells TTN: “Qatar has tremendous untapped potential to become a nature-driven tourism destination, standing out from the rest of the crowd. The charter of this unique boutique luxury ship and promotion of the newly found whale sharks congregation, puts Qatar firmly on the expedition map. Qatar is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna too. Areas like Ruwais and Freiha abound in mangroves and bird life unique to Qatar. The country has also positioned itself well with investments in art and architecture, and its museums are a must see.”
“The charter of this unique boutique luxury ship and promotion of the newly found whale sharks congregation, puts Qatar firmly on the expedition map”
– Lyndon Mendonca
The eight- to ten-night itineraries will be onboard the luxurious Le Champlain, one of the finest expedition vessels in the world. Chartered from the boutique Ponant Cruises, this vessel allows a maximum of 170 guests on board. The expedition cruises are expected to begin by mid-April and will continue until the start of May and are limited in number so early booking is recommended.
Highlights of the eight-night trip include Khor Al Adaid, Halul Island, Al Shaheen, exploring mangroves of Qatar and Al Ruwais Port, visiting Al Zubarah- Qatar’s only Unesco World Heritage Site.
Prices start from $5,295 per person on a twin share basis for the stateroom and include a pre-night at the Al Wadi Hotel Doha MGallery with breakfast, airport transfers, port transfers, Wi-Fi and expedition cruise on full board basis. The ten-night itinerary includes all of the above along with a three-hour tour of Doha, and opportunities to benefit from a host of recommended tours and excursions on land.
The reason the Al-Shaheen region attracts so many whale shark is because of its unique ecosystem. The average seawater temperature in the gulf averages between 32-34 degrees during the summer months, however the seawater around Al Shaheen is a much cooler 27 degrees. This is the perfect temperature for fish to breed and it is the abundance of fish eggs, the whale sharks number one source of food, that attracts them.
* No swimming or snorkelling with the whale sharks will be allowed, only viewing from the ships lounge