Jenni 7th Wave Port Erin: Dennis the Tagged Shark Shows up in Port Erin Bay 17 days after Being Tagged!
“Anyone in Port Erin last Saturday may well have spotted Dennis. Dennis is a 6.5m basking shark who was feeding in Port Erin Bay from about 11am to 5pm last Saturday (7th July 2007). And what a fantastic site, Juan Watterson (not the MHK!) took one of our kayaks out and was paddling around with the shark for about an hour. At the same time a handful of people ventured out to it with only a surfboard to hang on to. Myself and Ffinlo were out sailing in one of the RS Teras (which turned out to be about one third of the size of the shark itself!). We decided we’d ‘go and check the shark out’ as it is not often that they venture into the Bay, so off we went headed in it’s direction. Then we got scared!! This enormous creature also decided to check us out – we figured that to a shark the underside of our boat could easily look like another shark. And so it swam toward us and came right past the side of our boat – nose, fin and tail – this thing was really big, yet incredibly sensitive to it’s surroundings, it could have easily capsized us or knocked the boat with it’s powerful tail, but it didn’t, it came real close and than dropped underneath us to avoid us completely.
This was an amazing encounter! More amazing still was later in that afternoon Jon, Juan and Ruth all got wetsuited up and actually went snorkeling with it. A larger group of us stayed within the safety of our boat – helpfully shouting “it’s behind you” to the swimmers!! One ambition realised for Jon, who since we opened 7th Wave has been saying “one day I’m gonna swim with one of them”. The shark turned out to be one of the two sharks tagged recently by the Manx Basking Shark Watch, hence we know it is called Dennis. It was fantastic that Juan had been able to get close enough to it in the kayak and had seen the tag. This enabled the shark to be identified – a great result for all concerned.”