Scottish Sharks & Cod Selfies

To close we have a lighter view from Dr Lauren Smith

cod-cuddles_thumb[1]It has been 5 years since I first participated in SSACN’s “Think Again” series. I’m happy to report that during this time I have been fortunate enough to experience more Ocean related adventures including diving with Blue Sharks, Great Hammerheads, Great White Sharks AND Basking Sharks!

I have always been lucky with my shark encounters abroad, however in the UK, aside from the rogue Catshark, Baskers have always evaded me!

On this particular occasion however everything came together, I headed out of Oban with the Basking Shark Scotland team, on an extremely rare perfect weather day, calm seas and clear blue skies afforded a superb view across to the Hebrides and North to the Cuillins on Skye. Whilst looking out for that enormous dorsal fin breaking the surface we also had Dolphins and Minke Whales in abundance!

We saw 6 different sharks cruising along and when we saw 2 individuals which were staying near the surface it was our chance to get in the water, the sheer abundance of plankton and zooplankton in the water was the reason for the sharks being there but it also made them tricky to see from a distance, fortunately the sharks actually turned towards us and passed by so we got a great view of these enormous and elusive plankton eaters!

diving santa_thumb[1]My encounters and experience with Scottish Marine Life has increased immeasurably since late 2011 when I began working at Macduff Marine Aquarium – situated on the Moray Firth coastline, which showcases local native species. In 2013 I qualified as a SCUBA diving instructor which has allowed me to dive commercially as part of my role at the aquarium.

As you can imagine this has involved all-sorts of fascinating opportunities from releasing feisty Conger eels to becoming best friends & taking selfies with an ageing Cod (“The Colonel”) and arguably the most important job of all – donning an impressive beard for the all-important “diving Santa”! Never a dull moment!

Lauren is a marine biologist who specialises in shark research, to find out more about her work please visit; www.saltwaterlife.co.uk

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