Two local sailors got the shock of their lives by a popular Welsh beach when they spotted the fin of a huge shark looming in front of them.
In what appeared like a scene from the film Jaws, footage shows the shark suddenly come into sight and start lurking around the bay in Tenby, Pembrokeshire.
Alex Brace, a member of a local sailing club, was out at sea with a friend on Wednesday night for what they thought would be a routine sail when they saw the shark on the return to the harbour, reported WalesOnline.
They were heading back to Tenby’s North Beach when they first saw something large looming in the water without realising what it was – it was too big for a catfish and didn’t look like a dolphin.
The pair then realised it was a shark.
“We had just come back in and we were in ankle-deep water when we spotted it,” said Alex, who lives in Tenby.
“My friend was standing behind me and we could just see these fins in the water, and a couple of seconds later we realised it was a shark.
“It was near us for a good two or three minutes and then it started heading off towards Saundersfoot. The distance between its fins must have been around five or six feet in length, so it must have been about 12 feet long in total. I’ve spoken to a few people and shown them the video and they said it was most likely a basking shark, given the way it was moving.”
Known as the “gentle giant” of the sea, the basking shark is actually the largest shark in UK seas, with adults typically measuring between 25 and 29 feet long. It is the second largest shark in the world after the whale shark.
They do not attack humans and instead eat aquatic microorganisms called zooplankton.
According to the Natural History Museum they can be found in British waters between May and October, and migrate as far as South Africa in winter. While they can be spotted in parts of southern England, the west coast of Scotland, and Wales, sightings like the one witnessed in Tenby remain quite rare.
“That’s the first one I’ve seen,” said Alex, who is a regular in the waters in and around Tenby.
“We do see porpoises and seals but generally not sharks. I’ve spoken to some of the other people who sail on boats around here, and they said seeing one is rare. It was probably in water no more than waist deep. It was quite incredible really.”