By Harvey Solomon-Brady | The Sun
PIC BY Will Clark / CATERS NEWS - (PICTURED a diver points out the shark to another diver ) These fearless snorkelers were left JAWS-dropped after a huge dorsal fin appeared behind them but all was not as it seemed. Will Clark, from Somerset, was swimming in waters around the Inner Hebrides archipelago in Scotland last month when he snapped the perfectly-timed photograph. But luckily for the divers, the animal which had come to investigate them was not a deadly great white shark but a much more harmless basking shark. While basking sharks are the second biggest fish in the ocean with only whale sharks bigger the gentle giants survive on a human-free diet of plankton and small crustaceans. SEE CATERS COPY (Will Clark)
This is the moment a snorkeler swimming in Scotland spotted a huge dorsal fin behind his pal - and realized a massive shark was directly behind them.
Will Clark, from Somerset, was swimming in waters around the Inner Hebrides archipelago last month when he captured the perfectly-timed snap.
But luckily for the divers the colossal creature that had come to greet them was not a deadly great white but a harmless basking shark.
Second only to whale sharks as the biggest fish in the ocean, basking sharks are gentle giants and survive on a human-free diet of plankton and small crustaceans.
Property manager Will, 48, said: "I’m always astounded these encounters are possible in British waters.
(Credit: Will Clark, Caters News)
"You have to be ever so stealthy and stay still when they can see you, otherwise they just swim down and disappear. If you’re really lucky, they turn around and swim past you again."
Experts have terrified Brits with dark predictions of deadly sharks invading British waters.
Shark expert Dr Ken Collins said that in the next 30 years warmer conditions and availability of prey could make British waters an ideal hunting ground for the feared great white.
Dr Collins, of the University of Southampton, said: "You get great whites off the coast of South Africa where the water is colder than here and I see no reason why we should not have them in our waters.
''There are great whites in the Med, which isn't too far away and so I see no reason why they shouldn't be spotted here, particularly off the coast of Cornwall where there is an abundant supply of seals, which is their favorite food."
Basking sharks gather in significant numbers off Scotland at the height of summer, as conditions create an annual burst in numbers of their favorite food – small crustaceans called copeopods.
(Credit: Will Clark, Caters News)
Will, who has been taking underwater photographs for a decade, said: “The biggest basking sharks I’ve swum with were about eight meters long – about the same length as a London bus.
“The smallest was a youngster about the same size as me.
“Very rarely they even come and check you out from this close, as long as you stay calm and still.
“There's no risk to humans as they only eat tiny animal plankton, which they catch by pushing water into their massive mouths and through specialized filters in their gills.
“My first thought on seeing a huge basking shark’s wide open mouth coming straight at me, appearing through very murky water, was ‘I am so pleased it doesn’t want to eat me’.”
This story originally appeared in The Sun.