"Let's All Meet Up In The Year 2000"
When the Basking Sharks came to Cornwall, again and again and…
Up to the minute reporting, before Facebook, Twitter etc., we had to actually print stuff like this, fold it up and post it out to all our friends!
Basking Sharks were HERE!!
The following gives you a flavour of the up-to-the minute reports of sightings during the season.
Friday 30/06/00 Lunchtime.
Just received a call from our Boat Skipper via the boat's mobile that there have been at least 10 basking sharks, mostly up to 4.5 metres in size, near the boat in the past half hour or so, and prospects of lots more. The sea is flat, if it stays that way we will be out with Cameras and video later... watch this space.
More basking shark sightings West of Lamorna Cove, four were seen from our boat, our divers had the opportunity to snorkel with them.
Over the last few weeks we have been waiting, with growing anticipation, for the imminent arrival of the Basking Sharks. Over the last few days, slowly at first, we had a few sightings reported, then on Bank holiday Monday, our first confirmed sightings in Sennen Cove.
Wednesday, 31 May 2000, the team from Undersea Adventures and our groups of divers, saw for themselves these huge fish cruising around the water's surface grazing on plankton. In fact at one point our boat was encircled by a group of six ‘Baskers’ and we had the amazing opportunity to get in to the sea and snorkel with them. Hopefully, we'll have some of these incredible creatures captured on film to show you soon.
Over the years...
Although we have seen Basking sharks since we started in 1989, during the last two years we were lucky enough to see a great many of these enormous creatures. In fact there were sightings of hundreds during May 1998 swimming off Southern Cornwall, and the majority stayed until around the beginning of June of that year. Numbers were reported to exceed 200 and there were even reports of over 500.
During 1999 we saw small numbers during what would normally be the main season for them in our area, that is May to early June. Later in the year though, particularly in July we saw many more with some days sightings of 20 or more per boat trip, including witnessing these incredible creatures breaching (leaping out of the water).
We have been lucky enough to be able to snorkel in the presence of these incredible creatures which pose no threat to humans although with an animal of such a size they should always be treated with the greatest respect.
The Basking Shark is the largest ‘fish’ to swim around the coastal waters of the UK and is the second largest of the shark species after the Whale Shark. An adult Basking Shark can reach up to 10m in length, although they have been credited with reaching 12-15m, and because of their size and bulk usually cruise around the Cornish seas at an average speed of 2 knots. These huge fish graze the sea filtering thousands of tons of water ingesting plankton through its huge gills which virtually encircle the head.