Burkle Chronicles Vol I: Casual Whale Shark Encounter

Photo by Justin Burkle

We recently took a trip offshore on Mica Marder’s Aluminum catamaran, the “Osprey,” to the continental shelf found 80 nautical miles south of Montauk. The trip was primarily focused on diving, and we saw and caught an array of pelagics including mahi, triggerfish, hammerhead shark and yellowfin tuna.


Whale Shark Encounter Photo: Justin Burkle/41degreesnorth

Just before dusk, as we were setting up for the night chunk, a big dorsal appeared off the stern of the boat. Trying to figure out what it was in the deteriorating light was difficult. To us, the only other option was to jump in the water and check it out with my underwater camera housing, which is armed with a strobe used for taking photos underwater.

Mica and I jumped in to discover it was a baby whale shark around 18 feet long. Whale sharks are the largest fish in the ocean, but are very docile creatures, cruising the world’s oceans eating plankton. Sharing a moment with this whale shark in the waters south of Montauk is one that I will not forget. Its experiences like these that keep me interested in the world #offshoremontauk