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Autumn Basking Shark Research & Adventures
Research Tour 1 - Mon 28th Sept - Sat 3rd October
Research Tour 2 - Sun 4th October - Fri 9th October
These expeditions are all based from Oban and are following on from our 2016-2018 work around the basking sharks southerly migration. We didn't manage to conduct any field work in 2019 but retained sightings for continuity. We've re-designed the logistics of the practical research to allow for better flexibility around the weather, whilst having more options for fun tours and reducing costs from being remote from our base.
Over the six days we'll have 3 days practical shark research, a days fun boat based adventure, a evening/night adventure and of the course results work up and presentations at our base.
The expedition is suited to those who wish to remain on board and those who would like to assist in the water by snorkelling.Book Now
We have allowed for three days of practical based basking shark research and over the 6 days we'll pick the best conditons to conduct this. This gives us the best chande to hedge our bets around the weather, gives us backup options along with reducing the cost by not being remote from our base.
In previous years we have based ourself nearer the research area which meant during poor days we were a little stuck with fun things to do! So this time we'll have the best of both worlds!
Our days will begin in Oban and then drive to Tarbert from where we'll start our reasearch from. Returning to Oban in the afternoon/evening depending on the situation, conditions and success.
- Study the abundance basking shark population on the southerly migration
- 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)
Like any research we have the ying and yang of practical data gathering and then having to work up what we have collected. We'll plan our work ups around when we do our research days as getting the best conditons is very important for success!
We'll gather at our base in Oban to work up the data and this will range from plankton counts & sample work, to processing images and photo ID matching, maps and sightings and writing up of field notes.
At these times we'll also do presentations on basking shark history, biology and conservation, along with survey techniques and wildlife.
We'll spend a day around the Oban area on a day where the weather wouldn't be ideal for basking shark surveys but will still allow us to have some fun around the Oban area instead.
We've got the whole coastline as a playground and we'll choose the locations depending on the weather and what the group would prefer to do. This can range from boat based wildlife watching (seals, seabirds,eagles, porpoises, dolphins), landing and exploring neighbouring islands, snorkelling adventures, seal snorkelling.
If the weather and shark sightings are exceptional then we may look to have a further basking shark day too. However this will depend on the situation at the time.
On one of the evenings we can arrange a night boat tour and floodlight snorkel. We are thinking this could be combined with one of the data work up days, where we would be getting through this during the day and then have an adventure in the evening!
We'd head out from the marina around sunset, checking out the sights of the local coastline and wildlife along the way. Anchored up for dusk we'll then fire up the floodlights and enjoy the show!
For those snorkelling then we'll jump in to see what marine life is attracted and for anyone who is boat based we can enjoy the lighting ambience combined with a hot chocolate on board! You can see this on how we run it as a stand alone tour here.
- 6 days research & adventure 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
- Snorkelling or Boat Based
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.
- Oban Accomodation or Food