Prehen paddlers hook up with huge sharks

Members of the Foyle Paddlers got a treat recently when they got up close and personal with the second largest fish of the oceans at Malin Head.

The local kayak enthusiasts were joined by a number of Basking Sharks and shot some brilliant video footage of the encounter.

A baby basking shark pictured off the coast of Malin Head.

A baby basking shark pictured off the coast of Malin Head.

Alex Watt, Chair of the Waterside-based canoe club, said the paddlers enjoyed “an unbelievable day’s kayaking on the Donegal coast on August 16,” during which they encountered the gentle giants.

The paddlers have recently received some extra support from the Loughs Agency to enable such breathtaking encounters.

The authority has provided new Very High Frequency (VHF) radio equipment, training, and some new sea kayaks.

Basking Sharks, though migratory, are resident here during the summer months.

Though huge - the second largest fish in the seas after the giant Whale Shark - they eat plankton and arm harmless to humans: the old Irish proverb, ‘Chomh Sámh le Liamhán Gréine’ means ‘as tranquil as a Basking Shark.’

In fact, the most harm a Basking Shark is likely to inflict on a human being is a graze that could result if their sandpaper-like skin were to accidentally come into contact with a swimmer at speed.

Anyone who would like to find out more information about these wonderful creatures, who’ll be hanging around these parts for another month or so, should visit the Irish Basking Shark Project website:
You can also get in touch with the Prehen-based Foyle Paddlers via their Facebook page