Whale Sharks as Good Luck Charms

In Cenderawasih Bay, in West Papua, Indonesia, fishermen set out for days on hand-made floating platforms called bagans. At night, they turn on lights to attract squid and baitfish, and lower nets from their bagans—also attracting whale sharks to the smell and commotion. Bagan fishermen have long believed that whale sharks bring good luck and feed them bits of baitfish. Today, the luck comes to them in the form of marine tourism, as people travel to Cenderawasih Bay for up-close encounters with these gentle giants. Photographer Pete Oxford visited the bay, and returned with these photos, recently published in the online magazine bioGraphic.

Read more
Hints: View this page full screen. Skip to the next and previous photo by typing j/k or ←/→.

Most Recent

  • Wang Zhao / AFP / Getty

    Mars in the Gobi Desert

    Photographers were on hand as some of the first student groups arrived to tour this vision of Mars in China’s Gobi Desert.

  • Ludovic Marin / AFP / Getty

    After the Fire: Photos From Inside Notre-Dame Cathedral

    Investigators and photographers were able to get a first look at the damaged interior.

  • Francois Guillot / AFP / Getty

    Photos: The Devastation of Notre-Dame Cathedral

    A massive fire burned through the roof of one of Europe’s most visited historic landmarks today.

  • Roslan Rahman / AFP / Getty

    Photos of the Week: Inflatable Astronaut, Presidential Field, Falcon Heavy

    The arrest of Julian Assange in London; memorials to Nipsey Hussle in Los Angeles; a Wookiee and a Dalek in Scarborough, England; Thailand’s water festival; overfilled reservoirs in rain-soaked Lebanon and Iraq; and much more