This was the stunning moment a shark was seen swimming just feet from a kayaker off the coast of Cornwall. A seven-metre shadow of the creature can be spotted in remarkable photographs taken at the West Country village of Porthcurno. Rachel Hosken snapped the images of the shark and captured on-lookers stopping to stare at the rare sight on Saturday morning.
One picture shows a kayaker floating dangerously close to the creature – seemingly unaware of what lurks beneath. Yet as frightening as the image seems, the animal captured was a basking shark and while they are the largest fish found in British waters, they are in fact harmless to humans.
The fierce looking creatures are known as ‘gentle giants’ – they are one of only three plankton-feeding shark species. They swim slowly just beneath the surface with their mouths open in a terrifyingly wide gape to filter the tiny organisms from seawater.
Regions of Britain known as basking shark hotspots include the South West of England, the Isle of Man and the west coast of Scotland. Basking sharks can reach lengths of up to 40ft, and have been protected from fishing since 1998. They usually appear in spring and summer.
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