Close encounter between shark and kayaker seen off Cornish coast

Just when you thought it was safe to go back on the water...

Harriet Agerholm
Monday 23 April 2018 13:32
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Basking shark swims near beachgoers off the Cornwall coast

A close encounter between a kayaker and a shark off the coast of Cornwall has been caught on camera.

The enormous basking shark was one of two spotted near the small coastal village of Porthcurno.

Basking sharks are sometimes mistaken for great white sharks and have jaws up to a metre wide, but they are actually filter feeders that are harmless to humans.

(APEX)

Photographs show a kayaker floating only feet away from the giant fish, seemingly oblivious to the animal swimming beneath.

Basking sharks use more than 5,000 gill rakers to filter plankton from around 1.5 million litres of water an hour.

They can grow up to 39 feet (12 metres) long, making it the world’s second largest fish species, behind only whale sharks.

The species are named basking sharks because they are frequently seen on the surface, scooping up plankton with their giant mouths. But when prey is scarce, they dive up to 3,280 feet (1,000 metres) deep in search of food and stay there for months.

The giant fish travel vast distances in search of food, travelling at only three miles per hour. Little is known about the distribution of basking sharks around the world, but they appear to favour cooler waters and are frequently spotted around the British Isles and the east coast of the US.

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