Today I had the pleasure of being invited onto a trial-run Blue Shark spotting trip. My good friend Peter Rowlands asked me to join a group of willing volunteers who were prepared to use some pretty foul-smelling chum to attract these gorgeous small sharks in the hope of catching a glimpse.
The conditions were less than ideal with a strong easterly wind chopping up the deep-water 17miles off the shore from Plymouth. Undeterred by the swell and the live firing exercise being conducted by Her Majesty’s Royal Navy we set about attracting our quarry with well the rotted remains of fish.
Having heard tales of other people chumming for many hours before any sign of a shark, we were impressed that it was a little less than an hour before we caught our first sight of these ‘bolt from the blue’ animals. I can not impress upon you enough just how stunningly blue these sharks are, it took me quite by surprise and I instantly fell in love with them
As a photographic subject, Blue Sharks (Prionace glauca) [pdf data sheet here] have been all the rage over the past few years so their ‘worth’ as a competition image is very much lessened at the moment. To be honest, knowing this meant I could enjoy the encounter more than bother to get good shots of it – and boy was that an honour.
Despite only being about 1m long, these are ‘proper’ sharks. They swim through the water like a larger reef shark, and they have the tools to back up their attitude too. One made very short work of our chum bag – in a split second there was a gaping hole in it which could very easily have been someone’s leg!
I shall never forget this first encounter, and we are hoping to go out again very soon to repeat our success of today.
Big thanks for Peter Rowlands and his boat MV Magic.