Meet the Team
Shane’s background is in Marine Biology and he completed his honours degree in 2003.
He attained scientific and commercial diving qualifications in 2001 but started diving as a wee laddie in 1996. His qualifications include BSAC First Class Diver and Advanced Instructor, along with technical and rebreather diving. He has worked in many different fields including fishery and environmental protection, aquariums, underwater and travel photography and shipwreck disaster response along with organising diving exhibitions. He also has a long list of boating qualifications including a commercial skippers licence. His experiences with basking sharks have driven him to enable others to share the breathtaking experience of seeing these gentle giants in the wild. He has travelled extensively around the world including much of the South Pacific. You might like to visit his personal photography and diving adventure website at www.shanewasik.photoshelter.com.
As Shane’s better half, Nikki has been part of the company since its’ inception in 2012.
Nikki’s background is in Occupational Therapy and she is also a qualified yoga & swimming instructor. She is the Operations Manager of Basking Shark Scotland, a role she splits part time with juggling the demands of the two youngest members of the team! She’s the one to keep the show on the road!
Cameron & Struan Smith
These local Oban lads have been with us since the very beginning and have a vast experience of the Argyll coastline. You’ll be hard-pushed to find anyone who knows our local waters better than these boys. They have a full suite of marine qualifications including Yachtmaster, Coastal Skipper and all safety and first aid. Remember they don’t allow bananas on their boats! As well as providing boats for our summer season, they work hard behind the scenes servicing all our vessels, ensuring the smooth running of our tours. We couldn’t get through our crazy summers without all their help and excellent banter.
Originally from Ireland, Evan moved to Scotland to study marine biology at the University of Stirling, before graduating in 2020 with an honours degree. Since then he has worked as a shark researcher in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa, and as diving instructor & underwater photographer in Thailand. Despite spending countless hours in warmer waters his enthusiasm lies with UK wildlife both above and below the waves
Ben graduated with a BSc in Environmental Science from the University of Dundee in 2021, and has since been pursuing his passion for adventure and the marine world. If there’s one thing he enjoys more than experiencing the natural world himself, it’s sharing these amazing experiences with other people – whether through his photography, or work as a guide. In 2022 he spent many months diving in Honduras where he obtained his PADI Divemaster certification, and has since worked in Fiji as a dive guide for a conservation-education project and then across Europe as an outdoor travel guide. As much as he loves spending time in far-flung destinations, there’s no place he loves more than the west coast of Scotland and it’s wild natural landscapes!
Laura joined us as a part-time guide in 2019, after first coming on a tour with her family in 2015. She completed an MSC in Marine Resources Development & Protection and holds many diving & boating qualifications. A very accomplished free diver and traveller. She spent many seasons shark diving the Caribbean and the Western Australian coast. A passionate conservationist and all round good egg, you’ll never find anyone more positive than her on the boat! Involved in a number of conservation projects around Oban, she’s got a wealth of local and worldwide knowledge!
Rachel joined our team in 2020 as Operations Manager & Shark Guide full time for three years, before taking a step back to pursue her career as a widlife artist (www.rachelbrooksart.com)
After graduating with a degree in Zoology in 2014, she departed the UK for the sunnier shores of Australia where she trained to be a PADI Instructor. Spending the past eight years working and travelling across Australia, Borneo, Indonesia and the Hebrides.From the very small to the very large she is extremely passionate about all marine life. After working in the Ningaloo Reef guiding Whale Shark tours she now has a new love of cold water sharks! She is an accomplished internationally-selling illustrator who works alongside many shark charities. You may see her from time to time getting a wildlife fix in the summer.
Lois joined us as a Guide for our 2019 season. She has a degree in Zoology and a Master’s degree in Marine Conservation.
Over the past 4 years, she has travelled within the UK and abroad working in marine conservation and research and progressing her diving qualifications to PADI Divemaster and BSAC Open Water Instructor. An enthusiast for all UK marine life, she now works as a Fisheries Ecologist and Freelance Science Communicator (https://www.marinescicomm.com). She still makes time to visit us and her favourite big fish!
Dr Isla Hodgson
Isla moved north to Scotland from Newcastle and hasn’t looked back since! She is an international expert on human-wildlife conflict and was awarded a Ph.D. in 2018. Isla is passionate about sharing the wonders of the natural world, writing articles for BBC Wildlife magazine, author of Hidden Nature, and scientific communicator for Save Our Seas Foundation. She honed her guiding skills in South Africa and is an accomplished scuba diver. She has an unhealthy obsession with nudibranchs (sea slugs) and is happiest when exploring the fantastic underwater world of our beautiful west coast! Isla joined our team full-time in summer 2019. She now works as a Principle Investigator leading her own research, but still comes to see us to escape the desk!
Rosie joins us for the 2022 season and a first for Basking Shark Scotland. Rosie has been a long term customer of ours as she’s a wildlife nut! She will be our first customer turned staff member. So she brings both a wealth of knowledge of our trips & tours along with enthusiasm for wildlife. She spent a season running the office for a boat tour company further north in Scotland and has lot’s of social media marketing experience. She has a particular soft spot for John Coe the big resident bull Orca!