Spotting Basking Sharks in Cornwall
The season for basking sharks usually starts in May and last until October. Actually, the best time is mid-May until mid-July. Anyhow, there is no guarantee to spot them. In 2017 the best time was April until the beginning of May. In 2018 the first sighting of two sharks was at the end of April. In the recent years, fewer basking sharks were spotted.
Very important are good weather conditions, a sunny day and calm wind to spot them on the surface of the sea and for snorkeling.
What Else to Spot
- common dolphins and bottlenose dolphins
- minke whales (very shy)
- pilot whales
- leatherback turtles
- sometimes sunfish
- blue sharks; season starts end of June, more reliable to spot them but not predictable
- seals from mid-May until October
Cornwall is a hotspot for basking sharks and they first turn up here. The migration follows the coastline and passes Land's End in spring. They are attracted by the high plankton concentration. With a high concentration of plankton, the sear appears green. Several operators organize snorkeling trips with Basking Sharks. The visibility in the sea is between 7-20 meters and much better in Cornwall than in Scotland. Anyhow, with a swell, it's difficult to spot them and the visibility is quite bad.
Quick Facts About the Basking Sharks
- They are feeding half a ton of plankton
- The liver has the size of a car
- They were hunted almost to extinction for their liver to get the valuable oil and the fins
- It is the second largest fish in the world after the whale shark
- Growing up to 12 meters
- There is still a lot to discover about them. No one has ever seen one of this sharks mating or giving birth.
Booking sea safaris and snorkeling in Newquay.
Booking Atlantic Diving and Basking Sharks snorkel trips located in Newquay.
(updated by When to be Where)