Kayaker has close encounter with basking shark

Monday 22 July 2013 23.25
Graham Smith was fishing in Tullagh Bay, off Inishowen, last Thursday when he encountered the fish
Graham Smith was fishing in Tullagh Bay, off Inishowen, last Thursday when he encountered the fish

A kayaker has experienced a remarkably close encounter with a basking shark off the Donegal coast.

Graham Smith was fishing in Tullagh Bay, off Inishowen, last Thursday when he encountered the shark.

He managed to film the animal for several minutes, as it apparently fed in the slipstream of his vessel.

The basking shark is the largest fish in the Northern Atlantic and the second largest in the world.

Its average size is 5-7m, although specimens have been recorded at 11m.

It is characterised by its large dorsal fin and docile surface swimming behaviour.

"What an amazing experience a basking shark made three attempts to swim with my kayak and I only realised what he was at on his third attempt, he was so close and seemed to like being beside the kayak," Mr Smith, who posted his video on YouTube, said.

The Irish Basking Shark Project says soaring summer temperatures and calm sea conditions have resulted in "hundreds of Basking Sharks gathering at Malin head" in recent weeks.