Maui News

Rare Sighting of Whale Shark Observed Near Molokini Crater

April 1, 2017, 5:02 PM HST
* Updated April 1, 6:42 PM
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A rare sighting of a Whale Shark was observed near Molokini Crater today.

Chloe Cryan, an underwater photographer aboard the Aliʻi Nui sailing vessel, was among those who captured images of the juvenile male Whale Shark near Molokini Crater on Saturday, April 1, 2017.

Cryan described the Whale Shark as about 20 feet long and “curious,” saying she observed the creature just “slowly swimming around.”

There were about 10 divers and snorkelers in the vicinity when the sighting occurred on the Northeast backside of Molokini Crater.


At one point, the Whale Shark turned around and swam right under Cryan, about six feet away, according to her calculations.


According to National Geographic, whale sharks are the largest fish in the sea, reaching lengths of 40 feet (12 meters) or more. Whale sharks are filter feeders, favoring plankton and prefer warm waters, but are rarely found in Hawaiʻi, according to the Department of Land and Natural Resoruces, Division of Acquatics, website.

Whale Sharks have a characteristic checkerboard pattern of spots on their back, a flattened head and a blunt snout.

*If you have photos or video of news happening in Maui County, send them to us at [email protected]

Whale shark off of Molokini Crater, 4.1.17. PC:
Chloe Cryan

Whale shark at Molokini, 4.1.17. PC: Sara Routley

Whale shark at Molokini, 4.1.17. PC: Sara Routley

Whale shark at Molokini, 4.1.17. PC: Sara Routley

Whale shark at Molokini, 4.1.17. PC: Sara Routley

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