Basking sharks return to Lewis

The Basking sharks have returned to the Western Isles as they feed on abundent plankton in the warming summer waters. Photo: Seatrek

The Basking sharks have returned to the Western Isles as they feed on abundent plankton in the warming summer waters. Photo: Seatrek

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The sudden appearance of plankton in the waters round Uig on the west coast of Lewis has brought with it schools of Basking sharks and Minke whales.

Island wildlife tour operators Seatrek said passengers were delighted to be met with such an impressive sighting in Cliff Bay and near Gallan Head this week.

The first group of six Basking sharks was spotted 20 minutes into the trip near Cliff Bay, feeding on the abundant plankton, with further groups of Basking sharks observed throughout the day, giving an approximate count of 25 sharks in total.

Later in the afternoon one of Seatrek’s inflatable ribs came across a pod of about 15 Minke whales at Gallan Head, an unusual sight, as they are more commonly seen in small groups of up to four.

They appeared to be in a feeding frenzy and could clearly be seen rolling sideways to try and consume as much plankton as possible in their huge mouths.

The presence of gannets diving amongst the pod suggests there would have been fish as well, with plankton thick on the water surface in places.