Breaching Basking Sharks
[caption id="attachment_3297" align="aligncenter" width="960"]
Another sunset shot from an amazing time with a large shark aggregation[/caption]
Picture the scene, a flat calm evening, deep hues of orange fill the sky, with perfect weather enhancing a spectacular Hebridean sunset. In July this year we were lucky to have such conditions but along with this, dozens of basking sharks! This was not long into the main summer plankton bloom and the basking sharks had arrived en-masse! Our first photographer week group had arrived and with a poor forecast the next day, we elected to take them out early to share this special moment.
During the day, we had some outstanding basking shark action, some of the best of the year with basking shark trains forming, feeding on the plankton. However leading into the evening the sharks were still hungry and hoovering up all the thick plankton. Again this led to some spectacular encounters with numerous sharks. As the light stated to fade, everyone returned onboard to soak up the atmosphere with a hot chocolate (no cocktails I'm afraid!). What a privilege to experience such conditions with so many sharks. As we operate in the wilderness there was no-one else around, just us, the ocean, the sharks and the sunset!
There had a lot of breaching basking shark activity recently and it's a spectacular sight to see on our tours, so it was not an uncommon sight at this time of year. However we just started discussing how cool it would be have a breaching shark with such as stunning backdrop of the sunset then BAM!!!!!!! Around 100m away, a shark breached clean of the water! WOW! Totally spectacular! The sharks often do this in succession so we all trained our cameras on the horizon and waited! Right on cue, another shark breach in a similar direction but this time we made no mistake with the shutters! One of our passengers Laurent ( a well known French photographer & guide ) was rolling his video and managed to capture it perfectly!
Have a look at his video below as this is certainly one of the most impressive sequences we've seen, the sunset adding to the atmosphere. We all felt very lucky to experience such conditions. In nature it's not often all the conditions come together at once, however for the lucky few on this trip they had an experience they will not forget in a very long time!
We actively study the basking sharks whilst on our tour programme, and breaching is some of the behaviour we're looking at. See this previous blog post
from 2013 about breaching behaviour.
Basking shark breaching
from Laurent Cocherel
[caption id="attachment_3298" align="aligncenter" width="960"]
A basking shark breaching at sunset, one of our most spectacular encounters![/caption]