12ft shark spotted off Cornish coast.


Blackleaf
#1
12ft sharks spotted off Cornish coast
by DAVID WILKES, Daily Mail

8th June 2006




A surfer watches intently as the shark swims just metres from him


It was spotted at Porthcurno, near to the southernmost point of the island of Britain.



Beneath the surface of the clear blue sea, the menacing black shadow of a huge shark glides by just feet away from an intrepid lone surfer.

It is big enough to swallow him whole, yet this monster from the deep is a gentle giant who was not bothered by human company - nor saw him as a passing snack.

The 12ft creature is a basking shark attracted to the Cornish coast by the presence of plankton, its main source of food.

The sharks - which can grow up to 36ft long and weigh up to seven tons - pose no threat to humans and at first glance appear to be toothless, although in fact they have hundreds of tiny teeth.

The picture was taken off Porthcurno, near Land's End, Cornwall, where the sharks are regularly seen.

Today, the surfer, 5ft 8ins tall lifeguard Stefan Harkon, 43, who was on an 8ft long paddle board, said: 'It's amazing to get so close to one, very exciting. They're incredible creatures, and even though they're harmless you have to show them the respect they deserve.


Basking sharks have huge mouths that they use to scoop up plankton.


'They're no strangers to the Cornish coast but this one looked more impressive than others I've seen recently.

'It came so close I could touch its fin. It's not scary because they're very gentle creatures but you have to be careful because if they do move quickly you'll certainly know about it.

Fear

'Even though they're harmless, there's always a little bit of fear. Once you are in the water anywhere in the world, including the UK, you become part of the food chain, you are in the wild creatures' environment and you have to respect them.

'I've never heard of a basking shark being aggressive, but it would only take a flick of its huge tail if it decided to move quickly off and I'd be sent flying.'

The basking shark is officially the second largest fish in the world, behind the whale shark which can grow to 65ft. In the wild, basking sharks have no natural predators. They can swim at 5mph - and also leap completely out of the water.

The shark pictured here was spotted on Monday when dozens of tourists gathered on the headland to watch as it swam as close as 200ft from the shore.

Mr Harkon said: 'There were two or three basking sharks swimming around for an hour or so that day. They were getting nearer and nearer to the beach.

'I went out on my board primarily because I wanted to make sure people didn't swim out and bother it or start going in boats to look at it more closely.

'I've seen quite a few basking sharks, but every time you get close to one it's a magical experience just to be within touching distance of such an enormous creature.'

The Basking Shark Watch report, 1987-2004, provides clear evidence of hotspots in UK waters where basking sharks are regularly spotted.

These include south-west England, the Isle of Man, the Clyde Coast, Sea of the Hebrides, the Minches and Shetland, as well as the approaches to Strangford Lough in Northern Ireland.

dailymail.co.uk
 
Finder
#2
I wouldn't be surprised if you guys got the odd monster of "Greenlandish" Shark now and then. Though they are monsters they are also harmless and blind (because of a parisite which grows in there ey)
 
Jersay
#3
Are these the same as whale sharks or something different??
 

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