Divers enjoy the company of basking sharks in Kerry!....Update

9th Jul 2007 Update II :9 July

Unfortunately the IWDG received a report on Saturday (7th July) of a stranded basking shark at Drom East, Cloghane, Co. Kerry. The c.5m female shark, had stranded the previous day in fresh condition and was almost completely entangled in monofilament netting. Drom East is quite close to Brandon Point where the divers had enjoyed their encounter less than a week previously.

It is interesting to note that a freshly dead basking shark was washed up nearby at Fermoyle Strand on 18th August 2006 and this one was also entangled in monofilament netting.

Report update I: 7 July

A group of divers had a real treat in store when they headed out to Brandon Point in west Kerry last weekend.On Saturday the 30th June the Waterworld Dive Centres' forty foot dive boat, “Blasket Diver”, headed towards Moynihan's rock near the Brandon Cliff Face where they planned to dive. As they approached the rock, a number of basking sharks were spotted nearby. The 12 divers onboard were eager to get into the water and kitted up very fast. As they entered the water, five basking sharks swam around them and were present all through the dive – the sharks were in two groups, with two in one group and three in the other. The largest was about seven meters and the smallest about four meters long.

Basking shark © Ronnie Fitzgibbon

The divers were diving in a depth of about 24 m and the basking sharks swam down and around them during the dive, which lasted about 45 minutes. During the surface interval of one hour's duration the sharks could be seen nearby and at times cruised right alongside. The second dive was quite shallow and the basking sharks stayed out in deeper water but would come in and swim by the divers, as if to say come out and join us!

Again on Sunday the basking sharks were still around Brandon Point much to the delight of divers that day also. Ronnie Fitzgibbon the skipper of the “Blasket Diver” said in all of his forty four years of diving that this has been his best year yet for seeing cetaceans and basking sharks.

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