Snorkelers treated to rare sight of whale shark near Molokini Crater

Photographer Chloe Cryan was treated to a rare sight Monday: A whale shark swimming near Molokini Crater.

Cryan is a photographer for Alii Nui Sailing Catamaran, and said the vessel was about to leave the area when they spotted a group of snorkelers from the Pride of Maui following something.

It turned about to be a 20- to 25-foot-long whale shark.

"I jumped in with my camera, some crew members and snorkelers from our boat and followed the whale shark for about 20 minutes," Cryan said, in an email to Hawaii News Now.

"The whale shark hung around the inside of the crater for a bit and then we followed it as it started to head towards the backside of the crater. This whale shark was very docile and would come quite close to the surface. At one point, it swam right beneath me about five feet away."

Whale sharks are the world's largest living fish.

They can grow up to 60 feet long, though they are typically between 13 and 40 feet, according to the state Department of Land and Natural Resources.

They're often seen feeding near the surface and, in Hawaii waters, rarely found north of Kauai.

Cryan said she last saw a whale shark in April, also near Molokini Crater.

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