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Friendly basking shark spotted off the coast of Ireland

Friendly Basking Shark Spotted Off the Coast of Ireland

Niamh Ní Dhrisceoil is used to seeing all types of sea life in her job as a skipper of the Cape Clear Ferry in County Cork, Ireland. However, Niamh was stunned and delighted by the sight of a friendly basking shark happily swimming alongside kayaks and others out enjoying the June weather.



Niamh managed to capture some fantastic photos and this video of the shark and its close interaction with the humans of Cape Clear Island. After posting the footage on June 17th, her video is going viral faster than you can say ... "wait, shouldn't those people be swimming away?!"

If you're wondering why nobody seems freaked out, it's because a basking shark has no sharp teeth and feeds mainly on plankton. They aren't known to be aggressive, and if they do get angry, their bite wouldn't cause any damage. (Though it's definitely better to keep your distance in any situation.)

Irish News notes that, "It is not uncommon for these basking sharks to be seen around the Irish coast at this time of year, particularly when the mercury rises." However, these sharks are typically a lot more shy around people. Guess this guy (or gal) just wanted someone to hang out with.

Join the discussion

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moller4444 June 18 2014 at 11:10 AM

He wanted a Guiness

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1 reply
Tom moller4444 June 18 2014 at 2:40 PM

Looks like a Smithwick's man to me.

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1 reply
katkelly57 Tom June 18 2014 at 8:04 PM

Bet he fooled the both of you and went for a Harp.

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retour June 18 2014 at 11:48 AM

they are seen in Baja California's Sea Of Cortez quite often. Stories of their friendliness are legendary.

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darlenedavis1958 retour June 18 2014 at 3:12 PM

I heard a great story of a shark located in the Sea of Cortez, around the Los Cabos and Cabo San Lucas areas, giving the shoes off his own feet to a little barefooted boy. The boy's parents couldn't even afford to buy him the cheapest, shittiest of shoes. The shark overheard them telling the boy this and couldn't help but to step in and flex his caring muscle all over the little boy. Stories like this let me know that it's all going to be ok.

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1 reply
leatherwiz darlenedavis1958 June 19 2014 at 4:40 AM

Shchmoke another,wont you.

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jrp1947 June 18 2014 at 1:55 PM

A rare moment for humans to interact with another species and have fun together. Memories of a life time for everyone. I am glad they got the chance to experience it and someone filmed it.

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katkelly57 June 18 2014 at 8:03 PM

I hope the basking Irish were using their sunscreen...we tend to burn easily.

As for the basking shark....beautiful creature.

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ladydigould June 18 2014 at 4:14 PM

Talk about the Luck 'O the Irish ! Thankfully this Massive SHARK didn't appear to be looking to eat his " LUCKY CHARMS "... 'Cause we all know that we, IRISH are, " MAGICALLY DELICIOUS ". Great Footage.... Greater Shark. I'm happy to see that NOBODY tried to hurt it !

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Dude June 18 2014 at 9:09 PM

Having experiences like this is why everybody should learn to scuba dive, or at least snorkel (and yes, snorkeling is a skill that needs learned to do it properly). You haven't lived until you latch onto a huge turtle, manta ray or whatever and gone for a gentle ride through the ocean. You should however leave any of the "bite-you eat-you sting-you"s alone.

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1 reply
joymiles Dude June 18 2014 at 11:19 PM

As a scuba diver with over 30 years experience, you should not be "latching" onto anything.

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bjredmond64 June 18 2014 at 2:19 PM

i think it is amazing the way animals are usually willing to be friendly, given half a chance.

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1 reply
Dude bjredmond64 June 18 2014 at 9:05 PM

Don't you mean "some" animals are usually willing to be friendly? Apex predators are not so inclined. Most sharks only know 4 things; bite everything that moves, eat whatever tastes good, poop, make little sharks. Friendly isn't in their itty bitty brains.

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havingfun8910 Dude June 18 2014 at 9:18 PM

kinda like some people!!!!

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Mike June 18 2014 at 11:39 AM

All i can think is how freaking cold that water must be

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Anonymous Mike June 18 2014 at 4:37 PM

They get the benefits of the Gulf Stream up through Ireland. Their water, especially the shallower areas are probably as warm as South Carolina and Georgia at this time of year.

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dkodmdms Anonymous June 18 2014 at 6:16 PM

And warmer than California....

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ChingOW Mango June 19 2014 at 1:36 AM

Very interesting! Thank god this basking shark was around someone who knew what was what ad not some idiot who would panic and harm the shark. Beautiful pictures.

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Amy K June 18 2014 at 11:32 AM

wow that is pretty crazy

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