Basking shark spotted just offshore at British seaside resort

June 25, 2010 | by | 0 Comments

This is the jaw-dropping moment a huge shark was spotted just yards away from a packed beach – in a British seaside resort.

Hundreds had flocked to the coast of Plymouth, Devon, to bask in the summer sun and swim from a small beach.

But the bathers were unaware that a shark was lurking just offshore as they enjoyed the midday heat at 1pm on Sunday.

The 13ft monster was spotted by a group of kayakers who had paddled 200 yards out from the beach and saw a black fin cutting through the water.

School teacher Adrian Waite, 28, was canoeing with two friends when he saw the beast and managed to take some pictures.

Adrian said: ”It was really big shark, about four metres long. It’s definitely not what you expect to see off our coastline and one of my friends was getting pretty scared.

”We were quite concerned and we certainly didn’t want to get into its personal space so we didn’t get too close.

”At one stage it was just a few metres away. As it got closer, we realised how big it was big and it was moving very fast.”

The shark was spotted off The Hoe, a very popular tourist destination where hotels and bars line the seafront.

Adrian took photographs which clearly show the fin of the creature, which has since been identified as a harmless basking shark.

The species is the second-largest living shark, after the whale shark, but feeds only on plankton, small fish and invertebrates.

He added: ”Although we were very cautious of the shark, we knew it was unlikely to be a dangerous species in this country.

”I’d heard about basking sharks before so I had a fair idea what it was. I think it was feeding as it looked like its mouth was open.

”They are pretty harmless, but I know they can get a bit nervy if they’ve got young with them – they can whip their tails about.”

Basking sharks are found in all of the world’s temperate oceans and are passive feeders, filtering their food from up to 2,000 tons of water per hour.

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