Looking for an adventure during your beach vacation?
A Los Angeles-based non-profit organization is looking for people willing to swim with whale sharks.
Whale sharks are the largest living fish species on the planet. They can grow to up to 40 feet long, weigh up to 15 tons and live up to 70 years. Although they have very large mouths, they are harmless, feeding solely on plankton, which are microscopic marine plants and animals.
Iemanya Oceanica is organizing a shark-tagging research expedition to Baja California next month and is seeking up to 20 scuba divers/snorkelers from Southern California to help. Iemanya -- named after a Brazilian goddess of the sea -- partnering with the CICESE Research Institute in Baja and Dr. Rachel T. Graham, a world- renowned shark scientist, will travel to a known population of whale sharks in Bahia de Los Angeles on the Sea of Cortez side of Baja California.
Their goal is to apply satellite tags to two to three whale sharks during the five-day expedition, departing from the Los Angeles area on Oct. 15.
Iemanya Executive Director Laleh Mohajerani said the expedition has three goals, the first being to track the sharks' feeding, breeding and calving habits.
"The second reason will enable us to add them to the `family' of sharks that we feature on our AdoptAShark.com Web site to expand consumer knowledge about sharks," she said. "And lastly, these efforts play into a global effort to increase public awareness of the urgent need for protecting our oceans through selecting sustainable seafood in their diets."
The expedition will be filmed by professionals from Dokument Films in Los Angeles, using their experience at increasing public awareness of nonprofits through the use of professional productions for educational purposes.
Sponsored by Redondo Beach-based Body Glove International, National Scholastic Surfing Association champion Holly Beck will join the team to learn more about preserving the oceans in which she spends most of her time.