WATCH: These Cork kayakers had a very close encounter with a curious basking shark
They handled it better than we would have.
Some brave Cork kayakers managed to keep their composure when their paddle was interrupted by a visit from a curious basking shark.
Local publicist and music manager Louise Barker shared footage from the event, which happened when she was enjoying the water in West Cork and the majestic marine creature emerged from the depths beneath her kayak, giving it a little bump.
Watch it go down here:
Had a little bump from a curious basking shark off the west Cork coast yesterday.
What a stunning creature pic.twitter.com/0NdWZUPRJX
— Louise Barker (@louisecbarker) May 23, 2023
While nobody wants to see a fin making its way towards them in the sea, known for its enormous size and distinctive gaping mouth, the basking shark is a gentle giant.
According to the Irish Basking Shark Group, for every shark spotted near the surface, there are likely several others underneath and Cork’s pristine shores offer a perfect haven for these plankton-eating behemoths.
What to do if you spot one
If you encounter a basking shark while swimming, maintain a respectful distance from the shark, keeping at least 100 metres away to avoid disturbing or startling them. You should also avoid sudden movements or loud noises so no screaming, shouting, or flash photography.
If you’re in a vessel such as a kayak or on a paddleboard, follow Louise’s example and remain still, allowing the shark to approach and explore. Do not interact with it.
Report your sighting to the Irish Basking Shark Group too; your information can contribute to their ongoing research and conservation efforts.