Signalling the start of her research, Clara raises her hand, takes a deep breath, and dives down: two, three, four, five metres down and only some three metres from the whale shark, she glides along beside it. Despite her long freediving fins, Clara appears short when compared to the roughly six-metre-long whale shark. Its tail fin glides slowly through the water, the white spots on its dark grey-blue skin glowing in the rays of the sun as they break through the water’s surface. Clara photographs the pattern of spots above the pectoral fin, which is the researcher’s way of later identifying the animal – it is a kind of fingerprint. She also observes its behaviour: does it try to avoid her, open its huge mouth, and suck in water? Does it swim quickly or slowly? Is it curious or shy? Does it even want to interact?