May 2008, Southern shore of Iona.
I was having an easy day just pottering about, picking my way between tiny islets and skerries when I saw a dark triangle sliding slowly across the water. I approached slowly until I could identify a basking shark gracefully moving across and back, mouth agape. I had never seen one before. Conditions were millpond smooth and the sea was full of tiny jelly-like creatures. I could scoop them up by the handfull. The shark was filtering them out by the million. I sat and watched wondering just how long this could continue for. In the end it was me that gave up first and after half an hour of shark watching I reluctantly left it to it's feast. At times it had passed within touching distance of my cockpit. I was in awe of its economy of movement, swimming with barely a flicker of it's tail.
This shark was about fifteen feet long, just a baby really. Mature sharks can reach up to twenty five feet in length.
Midsummer in Iceland
1 month ago