Water is essential to life and it covers over 71 percent of the earth’s surface. All types of aquatic life live in the surface waters on the planet—from microscopic plants to giant whales. You’ve seen what the world has the offer above land during your travels on your private jet. Now take a trip below sea level to see some of nature’s wonders in person.
Whale Sharks | Mexico
The Discovery Channel’s “Shark Week” series sometimes gives these big fish a bad image. The whale shark, which is a fish, gets its name from its size. As the largest non-cetacean (marine mammal) in the world, the shark averages about 32 feet and 20,000 pounds. Despite its monstrous size, the whale shark is harmless to humans because it swims slowly and is a filter feeder (like baleen whales) that eats mostly plankton, macro-algae, krill and fish eggs. The next time that you visit Cancun and Riviera Maya region of Mexico, grab a snorkel and check out the waters around Isla Holbox. You can also find whale sharks in the waters around Honduras, Puerto Rico, eastern South Africa, Australia’s Ningaloo Reef, Tanzanian islands, Indonesia and Madagascar.
While sea turtles inhabit all of the world’s oceans, with the exception of the Arctic, they may be difficult to spot because of their endangered status. Young sea turtles prefer hanging out in beds of seaweed and the females swim closer to the shore once they reach adulthood. Males never return to the shore. One of the best places to swim with sea turtles is in Tortuguero, Costa Rica, a key nesting site for four species of turtle (including two critically endangered species) between the months of April and October. Barbados is another Caribbean hotspot for sea turtles.
Swimming Pigs in the Bahamas
Pigs can’t fly, but they sure can swim! Take a trip to the uninhabited island of Big Major Cay (a.k.a. Pig Island) in the Exuma district of the Bahamas. One legend says that a group of sailors dropped off a handful of pigs on the island with the intention of cooking them upon return. Strangely enough, the sailors never returned. Others suggest that someone took the pigs to live on the island as part of a business scheme or that a local family placed the pigs on the island in the event that the country stopped receiving imported foods during the Gulf War. Local Bahamians and tourists feed the pigs, keeping their populations healthy. When you arrive to Big Major Cay by boat, the pigs swim out into the water to greet you and your friends.
Known as gentle “sea cows,” manatees are endangered species found in the Caribbean, Gulf Coast, and southern Atlantic waters of the U.S. During the months of November to March, you can find about 400 West Indian Manatees in the waters of Citrus County, Florida. Legend has it lonely sailors thought that the gentle giants were mermaids, hence the name of their order, Sirenia, which is derived from the sirens of Greek mythology. Make a reservation with an independently owned tour company, like the Manatee Tour and Dive, to see the gentle creatures up close.
One of the top ten diving experiences to have is to swim with the giant manta rays in the waters off the Big Island of Hawaii. The wow-factor can be attributed to their enormous “wing” span of 18 to 23 feet. Like whale sharks and manatees, manta rays are gentle. Join a diving company, like Kona Honu Divers, for a night dive where guides illuminate the waters, allowing you to see the gentle beasts glide through the sea.
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About Solairus Aviation:
Solairus is a US-based private aviation services company whose core business is assisting aircraft owners with the safe, reliable, and efficient management and operation of their aircraft. Our services are customized to meet the client’s individual travel and financial requirements, and to support their flight operation with the highest standards of safety and personalized service, regardless of the location of the aircraft.
Solairus was founded in 2009 and is headquartered in the San Francisco Bay Area. Solairus has over twenty-five base locations nationwide, employing more than two hundred flight crew and support personnel to operate a fleet currently numbering nearly seventy aircraft. Solairus is an Aviation Research Group/US Platinum-Rated and Wyvern Wingman certified charter operator. Solairus has also received the NBAA Commercial Business Flying Safety Award and is an IS-BAO Stage Three certified company. Solairus offers a full range of services in addition to aircraft management, which includes aircraft charter sales, aviation support services, and consulting.
For more information about Solairus Aviation, visit www.solairus.aero or call 800-359-7861.