Close encounters with sharks off St Kilda

A wildlife ranger has captured amazing footage of basking sharks in the St Kilda archipelago, Scotland.

Craig Nisbet has documented his close encounters, which most recently involved a 3m young basking shark passing within a metre as he snorkelled in the archipelago.

“This was a young one, approximately 2-3m in length, and was feeding slowly in the middle of the bay around the Elizabeth G vessel, so I snorkelled out to the vessel and waited for it to come close,” Nisbet reports via Facebook. “After a couple of [sic] more distant passes, I repositioned myself near a mooring buoy, then it turned and circled me three times. An incredible experience to share the water with a magnificent fish!”

Nisbet works for National Trust Scotland and has reported seven sightings of basking sharks this season. He captured video of the basking shark on 3 August.

In late July, he spotted two more basking sharks in Village Bay. Nisbet said: “One was another large shark (possibly the same as the one we had here on 17th July) but didn’t linger for very long. This smaller shark was initially seen around lunch time as the larger shark disappeared from view and it did hang about until around 8pm, delighting residents, day visitors, visiting yachts, cruise ship guests and campers alike! This young shark must have been around 3-4m in length and had a pronounced snout.”

Basking sharks are the world’s second largest fish, after whale sharks, growing up 10m long.

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