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Basking Shark Research Expedition
Starts 2nd September 2020 and ends 14th September 2020
4 Day Tour 1 - 2nd - 6th Sept
4 Day Tour 2 6th - 10th Sept
4 Day Tours 3 - 10th - 14th Sept
8 Day 1 (Combo of Tour 1&2) - 2nd - 10th Sept
8 Day 2 (Combo of Tour 2&3) - 6th - 14th Sept
At the end of the summer, basking sharks start their southerly migration to the sub-tropics with one final aggregation. During this period we are running focussed research to observe the sharks and gain information on this stage of their migration.
Guests on these trips can be involved in our southerly migration study with the primary goals as follows:
- Study the abundance basking shark population
- Record location, time, size, sex and behaviour of basking sharks along with environmental factors (e.g. sea temperature, visibility, tides, weather)
- Record images and videos of sharks for entry into shark ID catalogue
- Analyse zooplankton samples from feeding and non-feeding areas
- Analyse zooplankton samples for plastic to assess ingestion risk
- Collect genetic samples
- Record and analyse basking shark behavoir
- Record cetacean sightings data (e.g porpoises/dolphin/whales)
Along with the study of the sharks we will have the opportunity to look for and record other exciting marine life such as whales, dolphins, porpoises, seals and seabirds during our time at sea. Passengers with enough experience will be able to swim with the sharks during these trips and we will be collecting underwater information about any sharks that we observe on the expeditions. Photographers and videographers are most welcome on the trips and will benefit from fewer passenger numbers on the boat than our usual trips.
The expedition also includes a series of info-talks on the ecology and conservation of basking sharks by our trained marine biologists.
The minimum age on the trip will be 16 years ( although mature younger kids who would enjoy being involved in this style of survey would be welcome) and we encourage students or prospective marine science students as they will gain a lot of skills and survey experience. These trips are a great way to be involved in the real work of observing and recording large marine life. However the trip is open to everyone who has an interest in basking sharks, marine life and ocean adventure.
Please note the objective of this project is to study the sharks, their food and many other factors. Although we hope to be watching and observing them both in and out the water, the goal is gather quality data rather than like our tourism style tours during the summer season. Passengers will be expected to assist with taking measurements, data gathering and work up of samples.
Book Now - 8 Day
We will meet you at the ferry terminal on the Isle of Coll at 09:55 where we will transfer you to our meeting room to be given a briefing on the trip and then our our survey methods and scientific aims techniques. Afterwards you can drop bags at your accomodation, then visit the shop for any last minute supplies.
We'll then head out in the boat in the afternoon to collect our first samples before returning to base to work up and analyse them. It'll be a long day as we have lot to fit.
Depending on the weather and previous day's results, we will use either the morning or afternoon/evening to study our plankton samples and photo ID images from the day before.
Our survey route on the water will depending on previous shark sightings and weather and changes on a daily basis. We can be 100m from our base or up to 20 miles away.
Your last day will be a full day, with analysing samples & results afterwords in the 'lab'.
In the evenings during the trip there are a number of options:
- You can have a relaxing dinner and a drink while appreciating the view
- Take a stroll around the harbour to look for otters, seals & more wildlife
- With long summer nights you could take a longer walk or cycle to one of the west coast beaches
Check out is at 10am this morning which should give you enough time to pack the rest of your belongings whilst having a leisurely breakfast.
You will return to Oban on the ferry around lunchtime which gives you a few extra hours to enjoy the village, whether that's relaxing with a coffee at the hotel, having a last stroll around the village or catching up on processing all those pictures from the trip!
Don't forget to pick up a t-shirt or hoody before heading home too!
We'll take you to the ferry in plenty time and there is still chances to spot wildlife from the ferry on your journey back to the mainland!
- 4-8 days research based expedition
- Amazing wildlife, scenery and culture
- Knowledgeable and experienced guides
- Educational presentations on basking sharks, research techniques and scientific photography
- Training in plankton sampling and analysis
- Hot drinks and home baking snack on board
- Onboard binoculars, books and information guides
- Snorkel option for gathering data on sharks
- Bunkhouse Accomodation subject to availability (B&B/Hotel available at extra cost)
What's Not Included
- Equipment hire for snorkelling option - please see here for gear hire.
- Weather or wildlife guarantees! Sorry we’d love to be able to do that and please remember this is research based.
- Food - the tour is based on self catering accommodation.
- Ferry to Meeting Point on the Isle of Coll