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Scots angler left stunned after coming face to face with giant basking shark circling his kayak

A SCOTS angler was left stunned after coming face to face with a giant basking shark which popped up to circle his kayak.

Ally Connell Senior was out fishing with friend Michael Mccathie nearly two miles out from the shore in Dunbar, East Lothian on Saturday, when he spotted a large grey fin.

Ally Connell and pal Michael Mccathie.
Pictured: Ally Connell and pal Michael Mccathie. (C) Ally Connell Senior

The 38-year-old has spotted minke whales, seals and dolphins over his four years of kayak fishing but noticed this was much larger than all of those, so whipped his camera out to grab some snaps.

Technician Ally was left amazed after realising that the fin belonged to a basking shark – the second largest living shark – which appeared to have taken an interest in their boats.

A series of images show the amazing encounter unfolding, with the first snap showing Ally and pal Michael posing as they sit in two separate orange and grey kayaks on shimmering blue water.

The next photos however, show the duo’s attentions diverted to the dark grey fin now meandering between the two kayaks, seemingly following Michael.

Waves and ripples can be seen breaking in the sea around Ally’s kayak as the shark comes into view just below the surface of the water.

The giant fish’s long dark frame can be seen silhouetted below the waves as it swims right past Ally’s boat.

Ally took to social media on Saturday to share the incredible snaps, writing: “Another good day’s fishing. Even had a Basking Shark circling my kayak. Amazing.”

The shark in the water.
Pictured: The basking shark appearing to follow Michael. (C) Ally Connell Senior.

The post received over 690 likes and dozens of comments as many stunned locals were left in awe of the close encounter.

One person wrote: “What a set up. Outstanding.”

Another said: “Bet your bum was twitching. Not many folk can say they’ve paddled with one.”

A third joked in reference to Jaws: “I think you need a bigger boat.”

Another added: “Amazing, beautiful creatures and not dangerous at all.”

A fifth wrote: “That must have been one hell of a thrill.”

Speaking to Ally today, he said: “I went out fishing with a friend on our kayaks. We were out around a mile and a half from the shore when I noticed the big fin.

The shark encircling Ally.
Pictured: The shark circling around Ally’s kayak. (C) Ally Connell Senior.

“It then started circling my kayak, which I thought was an amazing experience and only managed to get a few snaps.

“It’s the first one I have seen – a basking shark – in [my] four years of kayak fishing.

“I’m local to Dunbar and have seen minke whales, seals, pods of dolphins but [this was] my first shark experience – amazing!”

The basking shark is the second largest living shark – and fish – in the world, behind the whale shark.

With large adult specimens reaching up to 10 metres in length, the basking shark can live up to 50 years and can be found on the water’s surface, right down to 910 metres deep.

Despite their size, basking sharks pose no danger to humans, and are filter feeders – mostly feeding on zooplankton, small fish and invertebrates in the water.

The species are one of only three plankton-eating shark species alongside the whale shark and megamouth shark, and are currently endangered.

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