August: Basking Shark Month

Before I do the August catch up I think that the Basking Shark day deserves a post all to itself as will the Killer Whale day in July!! This was Sunday the 30th of August, a grey day but flat calm. The weather both sides was good but to-day overcast.

Seaflower Skye   had come over on their regular seafood safari’s, Ewen the skipper mentioned that there were Basking Sharks off of Fladda. I’d heard from visiting yachts that there were a few out and about around the top of Skye, so to get a few photos I thought I would head down for a look around on the RIB.

Lorraine does  not like me going alone so I asked Ian Houston who was on one of the moorings we have here. He did not need to be asked twice and off we went. I had told Iain we may see Basking Sharks and he took his rod to see if he could catch his tea.

We arrived at Fladda to find not one but 10 Basking sharks in total just lazily drifting about as they do. There was quite a selection with some huge.

We spent the next hour, most of it with the engine switched off just watching the Sharks swimming about, a fascinating experience.


In Line With Manish

This has been the best year for Sealife for quite some time, the temperature of the water was at 15 degrees one day and mostly hovering around 14 at this time. I suspect that had a major influence on the amount of Summer  Marine Sea Life visitors in the Sound of Raasay.

Off Fladda

I think it must be over ten years ago and more when I took a trip with visitors around Rona and on that day we saw 17 Basking Sharks, Minke Whales and a Peregrine bombing the Sea Eagle, that day certainly sticks in the mind.

Loch A Sgurr

Since that time  there has been a dearth of sealife at the height of the Summer and it has been a hot topic with visitors on Yachts to Rona who sre happy to  report their sightings.

Off Fladda

It is also noted that water temperatures have been on average low with one dark grey summer a few years ago hardly coming above 10 degrees during the whole summer/year.

Looking Down the West Side of Raasay

Laid Back Feeding

On one occasion this day one huge shark decided to swim several times around the RIB and on one occasion had a go at the bow with his tail. The rule of Whale Watching is to give them distance and to not stress them. On this day the Sharks were as interested in us as much as we were in them.

Round The Rib

Much to Iain’s astonishment and the fact that he was fishing, one of the Basking Sharks gave us a lot of attention. This one went round us three times one after the other very close, in fact Iain took his line in in case he foul hooked it.

A great once in a lifetime experience.

I spotted Dan Corrigal’s boat MV Stardust further down the Sound and gave him a call. He needed no encouragement and with a boat load of tourists made his way up to Fladda. He told me later the folk on board were blown away seeing the Sharks, one comment was that it was the best boat trip ever and they had been all over the world taking wildlife trips. Stardust Boat Trips.

Finally a link to a video we made of the day just before we headed of into Loch A Sgurr where we saw another two bringing the total on the day to 12, there was some debate about one of the Loch a Sgurr Basking Sharks, we may have seen it earlier. But all in all an amazing day.



About Bill Cowie

I've been living on the island since April 2002, alone for the first 5 years, my partner L joined me in 2007. We manage the Island for a Danish family who bought the Island in the early 90's. Their hopes for the Island are to make it self sufficient supporting its inhabitants and that is where we come in. We look after the stock, 3 holiday cottages, machinery, boat and of course the visitors. It is pretty challenging but it is a beautiful place to live and work, we love it and strangely enough we love it even more in the depths of winter when all is quiet apart from the gales and rain. We do a bit of fishing, stock work, stalking deer and loads of other stuff. We have good support from lots of people whom we have met over the years and have become involved in the Island. Too many to mention here but keep an eye on the blog, they'll be there for sure in the future.
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1 Response to August: Basking Shark Month

  1. What a fantastic experience, the video is pretty good too. Thank you that.

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