A Whale of a Shark

Ian Gordon meets up with whale sharks and attempts to uncover the mysteries of their oceanic wanderings.

Produced by NHNZ

Every April and May some of the largest animals on earth, whale sharks, congregate in their hundreds at Ningaloo Reef, off Australia’s West Coast. Exactly where they come from and where they go from here remains a mystery.

Ian Gordon sets out to help Dr John Stevens, of Australia’s CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation), to track these huge creatures successfully by attaching a secure transmitter to their fins.

With help from experienced Australian whale shark diver Peter Lake, Ian has just two weeks to accomplish the mission before the sharks begin to disperse. Although known as the “gentle giants” of the ocean these animals could seriously injure a diver with a flick of their powerful tail.

“Sharkbite”, a 30-foot (9.2 metre) male, is successfully tagged. But things take a turn for the worse when Sharkbite manages to dislodge the expensive tag and 30 knot winds plague the mission for several days.

A second tag arrives with just one day to spare and an exhausting chase ensues.

Episodes From This Series

White Tips of Osprey

30 mins / 2001

A Whale of a Shark

30 mins / 2001

Mako—Friend or Foe?

30 mins / 2001

Great White—The Ultimate Predator

30 mins / 2001

Thresher Shark

30 mins / 2001

Hammerheads

30 mins / 2001

Galapagos Sharks

30 mins / 2001

Grey Nurse — A Visit to the Nurse

30 mins / 2001

Prickly Sharks

30 mins / 2001

Hawaiian Tigers

1 hour / 2001

Port Jackson – A Family Secret

30 mins / 2001

The Sailor’s Nightmare

1 hour / 2001

Shark Attack

30 mins / 2001

Great White Bite

2 Minutes / 2007

Great White – The Ultimate Predator

2 Minutes / 2007

Feeding Frenzy

3 Minutes / 2007

Bull Sharks

3 Minutes / 2007

A Whale of a Shark

2 Minutes / 2007

Mako

3 Minutes / 2007