A group of kayakers were awestruck when they came face-to-face with a huge shark just off the UK coast.
The UK is known for many things, but giant sharks approaching our beaches is not one of them. A group of kayakers no doubt had every brutal shark attack scene they’d ever witnessed flash through their minds when they spotted a massive shark swimming in close proximity to their group.
37-year-old Jennifer Kneale was coming to the end of her day at a sailing school called 7th wave in the Isle of Man last month when she heard that there was a shark in Port Erin Bay.
Naturally, Jennifer decided the best thing to do upon hearing this news was try and find the shark, surely forgetting that they sometimes eat people.
Jennifer and a team of sailing instructors took kayaks to where the shark had been sighted, just off the coast of the Isle of Man, with the hope of spotting the beast for themselves.
The group were in luck as they came within very close range of the shark.
The shark stayed in the Bay for a couple of hours, allowing Jennifer to capture the incredible event on camera.
Identified as a basking shark, and posing no threat to humans, the animal swam open-mouthed. Its fin protruded from the water in classic shark-horror movie fashion, and caused waves which rocked the group’s kayaks.
Basking sharks are the second largest fish alive, and have been known to grow up to a staggering 32 feet long. They are not typically thought to be a danger to humans, feeding on plankton as the shark in Port Erin Bay did.
A group of paddle boarders and boaters, which included some children, gathered to watch the shark, keeping their movement to a minimum so as not to scare the animal.
Jennifer spoke about witnessing the shark in the bay. She said:
Instead of heading home, our team took the kayaks out for a rare treat
We assembled a small armada in the bay and headed out to try and spot him.
The shark had clearly found a favoured feeding spot that was rich in plankton, as he was swimming around, open mouthed, getting merrily full.
He didn’t seem concerned by the flotilla of small crafts and made frequent close passes by.
They are inquisitive creatures and will come and investigate you if you sit still.
Everyone who was there to witness this reacted really well to the shark – they all correctly followed the Basking Shark Code of Conduct, which advises vessels to keep still and just watch.
It was truly breathtaking, people were calm and quiet with nervous excitement with each close encounter.
While the sight of a basking shark just off the Isle of Man coast was certainly not common, it was definitely spectacular. The shark might even be back now it has found a stash of fine UK plankton to feed from.
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Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.