The Basker Weekend  
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On Sunday we the RIB picked up a few new passengers and we pushed off at 9am. Due to the presence of two attractive young ladies the skipper deemed it wiser to leave Dan on shore, rubbing sun tan lotion into where his muscles ought to have been.


We kicked off at 9am with a good dive on the Kintuck, a 4000 ton steamer sunk in 1917; it is unclear to this day whether she hit a mine or was one of the last victims of UC-17, a notorious German U-Boat know to be operating off the Peninsula at that time.

The viz was good down at 34m and progress was much enlivened watching Keith making his usual feet-first ascent up the line. Keith found it quite a bit less amusing, but then he is a Jock.


We made our way back to the harbour under the strong Cornish sun, relaxed, happy and pointing out a few of the favourite cliff-jumping spots when your man Keith yelled out at the top of his voice

!! "SHARK" !!

Dave spun the RIB around and we just caught the fluke of a pretty little four meter Basker disappearing under the water. This was it, the Holy Grail: a Basker sighting, the boys were definitely back in town!


We waited a while but the lad wasn’t coming back so we continued on back along the coast, silent and eyes riveted to the water now, and scarcely two hundred yards further were another two, moving in slow easy strokes and feeding on the surface. Dave cut his engine at a respectful distance and we slowly drifted closer.

The divers zipped up, masked up and slipped quietly into the water to make our way out to where the sharks were feeding. The two of them were clearly feeding together, covering long, lazy figures of eight on the surface about twenty meters away from us but never more than ten meters away from each other.

Obviously curious they doubled back and circled us, feeding and eying us up as they passed around and amongst us for a good ten minutes.

They were only little ‘uns, three and a half meters from tip to tail, but it was a magnificent experience to share the water with them, up close. Inevitably after some minutes they decided that enough was enough and headed away. I can’t rule out that they saw Rob as a too much competition for the plankton, 'cos from some angles he does resemble a large Basker that’s let itself go a bit.
  Glowing and thrilled to bits we hauled ourselves back into the RIB, mouths going fifteen to the dozen, all pumped up.  

Unbelievably, within minutes we spotted a fourth Basker ambling along, and even from a distance he was clearly much larger than the others, easily over 7m.

Again Dave brought us to within a safe distance and we slipped into the water. I took a moment to put on my fins and so was the last in, and by the time I’d cleared my mask the group was a good ten yards away from me.

I made my way to their starboard side to get an unobstructed view and we watched this bad boy feeding, right up on the surface, his dorsal fin and back out of the water. Obviously wary of Rob and Keith bicycle kicking towards him, the shark gently curved away and came back to the RIB, in a straight line towards me. As he came within sight distance I ducked under the surface of the water and saw him looking right at me, his enormous mouth gapping wide open, beadily eying me up and ponderously powering his huge body through the water. As he came to within two or three meters he dropped down slightly and passed directly beneath, allowing me to gently run my hand along his flank and over his dorsal fin. It was an intense experience and words fail me.

As if that wasn’t enough he looped right around and came back, very slowly and inquisitively, his mouth gaping wide open so that I could see right inside. I could have fitted right into his mouth and not touched the sides he was that big, but he dropped down beneath me once more; it was truly amazing.

  We returned to the harbour, buzzing and alive, to tell Dan of our fantastic experience and share the joy with him. The poor lad, been instructing down in St Ives for near three months now and he’s still not seen a Basker.
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