Basking Shark Scotland
Over the summer months, the second biggest fish in the world comes to Scotland in abundance! The gentle giant Basking Shark (Cetorhinus maximus) can grow over 10m long and weight several tonnes but only feeds on tiny plankton. As they swim along the surface of the water scooping up the plankton they are easy to spot and follow predictable swimming patterns, making them one of natures amazing spectacles. For those in the UK, why fly all the way abroad when you can have this kind of experience on your doorstep.
The inner hebrides is one of the best places in the world to see the sharks as they have the highest numbers and most consistent sightings with some reports staing sightings of up to 94 in one day. Basking Shark Scotland (www.baskingsharkscotland.co.uk ) run specific trips from Oban on the west coast of Scotland to see the sharks. They cater for everyones tastes ranging from those people who simply want to watch from the boat to in water swimming encounters. The sharks start arriving from the migration to the sub tropics around May and leave around September, with June, July and August being the peak months. For those who want to swim kit hire is also available. The sharks are protected in Scotland after they numbers declined due to harpoon fishing. SInce 1994 they have been protected and as such Basking Shark Scotland follow a code of conduct to ensure the sharks are not impacted by tourism activities.
The trips range from one day, two and three dive exploratory trips around the amazing islands. There are even island based trips to the likes of Coll. The water is amazingly clear around these islands, with a lack of people, the richness of marine life is very evident. The beaches are also amazing with white sands against the backdrop of deep blue water.
Sightseeing tours round the islands are also organised, visiting amazing places to snorkel and swim in remote coves. Historical tours to the likes of Iona abbey and even to the corryvreckan whirlpool and whisky tours to Islay.
Along with the sharks, the inner hebrides is rich in marine life with many cetaceans being spotted in summer such as minke whales, dolphins, porpoises, otters, seals and sea eagles. So in addition to the sharks and scenery there is always plenty to look at!
Diving is also organised and can be organised on the many wrecks around the islands or made man structures such as piers which act as artificial reefs. The reefs are also amazing, fed by the rich waters, the rock surfaces covered in soft corals and awash with colour.