Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Heart attack material.

Here in the blessedly beautiful region of West Penwith, we have finally been graced with a lovely clean ground swell. No one was keener than I to indulge.

6.30 am I got a dawny in before work. No hat, no gloves, no boots, freezing cold but sunny and beautiful. I skipped through work and by 3.15 I was on my way to the G-spot for a second serving.

 When I pulled up the waves were bigger and well overhead on the sets, the sun was shining, the birds tweating and all was well in the world. I quickly ascertained the fact that most surfers were still at work and the three guys out were surfing the wrong side of the bay and entered the luscious lefts as quickly as you can say "It's all for you.".

 I had some of the best waves I've had in a very long time and dodged a few double overhead closeouts adeptly. I was thinkking of nothing except the impending set wave when 30 yards from me, I saw something which almost stopped my heart dead. It looked like this:

About a metre straight out of the water and nearly as long at the base I saw this fin swimming slowly at me in that slightly zig zagging style that erradicates dolphins pretty quickly from the equation. For the largest shock my body has experienced in the glance of an eye it remains unparrelled.

It was it turns out a basking shark, which I confess to having seen in Cornwall many times before, but not for over two years and normally in warmer water. The thing was easily 7 metres and possibly 9. It was impressive and after I got use to it I didn't mind him around too much, he didn't seem to bothered by me or the waves.

Now a basking shark is the second largest non extinct shark and is a filter feeder, but you look at that bad boy from water level and see it feels.

Basking Shark mouth shut.

Great White shark mouth shut.

Water level view....fancy deciding which one it is? (It's a couple of baskers by the way.)

This is a basker with its filter mouth open, it could fit you in by accident.

Basking Shark fab facts:       Second in size only to a Whale Shark
                                           Found in all temperate seas.
                                           A filter feeder ( feeding mostly on plankton)
                                           8 to 14 degree water temperature.
                                           Can be seen on the surface or down as deep as 1000 metres.
                                            12.3 metres is the longest recorded specimen.
                                            They travel in sex segregated groups (keeping the rows about directions down.)
                                            They take over a year to pop a sprog.
                                          There chilled out.

 You know those flowriders don't worry about what type of shark  is in the deep end.

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