Incredible encounter with giant sharks caught on camera: 'My jaw dropped'

The 'very special and rare moment' was captured on video by a landscape photographer.

·2-min read

A landscape photographer has captured the "mind blowing" moment more than 40 large sharks swam in the harbour near a popular beach, just centimetres from a lucky kayaker.

Florian Walsh, who is based in Dingle, Ireland, took a trip to a nearby beach on Saturday with family and friends, not expecting to see such a spectacular wildlife scene with a huge shiver of basking sharks in one place.

"It was a beautiful calm morning and the sea was very glassy," the photographer told Yahoo News Australia. "My friend had noticed activity in the water and we quickly realised they were basking sharks."

Two photos by landscape photographer Florian Walsh of several Basking Sharks swimming in the harbour of Ventry Beach in Ireland.
A photographer has captured a rare sight of more than 40 basking sharks on the harbour at Ventry Beach, Ireland. Source: Florian Walsh Photography

After predicting how "special" the sight would be, given the "harbour was full of them," he quickly drove home to pick up his drone to capture it from above.

"As soon as I got the drone up my jaw dropped," he said. "It was just absolutely mind-blowing to see so many in one place. They were feeding on plankton and very gently swimming around. I noticed a few kayakers which was perfect to use as a scale as they are very large sharks.

"We get basking sharks here every year but this was a very special and rare moment to be able to capture an image with at least a dozen in one shot. I would say that there were about 40-plus sharks in the harbour. This is a day I will never forget."

What are basking sharks?

Basking sharks are the second largest living fish in the world, behind the whale shark, growing to more than 12 metres in size and swimming with their large mouths open, feeding mainly on zooplankton.

Found globally in cooler temperatures, they are rare in Australian waters, mostly found along the coast in places like Port Stephens in NSW, Busselton in WA and Tasmania.

They tend to spend most of their time in deep waters, swimming below 200 metres. The act of them 'basking' on the surface may be a way of warming their bodies, according to Fishes of Australia.

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