'Whale shark, right behind you!': A photographer shares the thrilling moment he captured an award-winning image of a 40-foot shark

Evans Baudin/Scuba Diving MagazineThe grand prize winner of Scuba Diving Magazine’s 2020 Through Your Lens underwater photography contest.
  • While diving in Baja California, Mexico, Evans Baudin captured a close-up of a whale shark carrying dozens of suckerfish in her mouth.
  • Baudin recalls the boat’s captain yelling, “Whale shark, right behind you!”
  • The photo took home the grand prize in Scuba Diving Magazine’s 2020 Through Your Lens underwater photo contest.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

In June, Evans Baudin received a special permit to dive off the coast of Baja California, Mexico, to document how reduced marine traffic during COVID-19 was affecting marine life.

He ended up documenting more than he bargained for.

“After two hours in the water with a school of silky sharks near the surface, our boat captain yelled, ‘Whale shark, right behind you!'” he captioned a photo he managed to take of the 40-foot whale shark.

“The surprise was twofold when I discovered about 50 remoras peacefully enjoying a free ride in her mouth!” he added.

Baudin’s stunning photo took home the grand prize in Scuba Diving Magazine’s 2020 Through Your Lens underwater photography contest, beating out 2,636 other entries.

Whale sharks are the largest species of fish in the world, weighing in at around 20.6 tons and stretching to the length of a school bus, according to National Geographic. They are also endangered, making Baudin’s encounter even more extraordinary.

As the grand prize winner, Baudin won a diving trip aboard the Roatan Aggressor to the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System, the world’s second-longest barrier reef located in the Bay Islands of Honduras.

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