Saturday, August 17, 2013

Basking Shark

It's been a while since my last update to this blog, not least because I've been away in Scotland and the Hebrides for the last couple of weeks, and prior to that I was busy with long days at work. One species I was particularly keen to see whilst in Scotland was the Basking Shark - the second largest fish after the Whale Shark.
Things didn't sound that promising when we arrived in Scotland. Basking Sharks were late arriving this year and sightings were only just beginning to happen. We headed out towards the island of Coll and quickly the waters calmed and the weather improved. Common and Grey seals were hauled out on the rocks in large numbers, unperturbed by our presence.

Suddenly a fin was spotted breaching the water, and the boat engine killed. Then another fin, and another. Before long we were in the midst of perhaps 10 Basking Sharks, sedately cruising the waters, mouths agape, filtering plankton. The average Basking Shark is about 8 metres long, and their colossal mouths up to a metre wide. It was a real treat to float around amongst them as they fed at the surface of the water, but I was kicking myself that I didn't take a GoPro attached to a pole for some underwater footage!

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