A large basking shark (is there any other kind?) has been making appearances on the south shore of Long Island over the last few weeks. It was photographed while it cruised by some local surfers at Ponquogue a few weeks ago (a friend SUPing in the area who saw the thing described a massive fin) and seems to have washed up dead at Gilgo a few days ago. A few people have suggested to me that perhaps this was the shark that scared the hell out of me at the Bowl last month.
The basking shark that washed up (as well as the one in the photo) is at least twenty feet long. Mine was seven feet. I’m fairly sure I would not describe a twenty-something foot shark swimming in spitting distance of me as only a third it’s size. And the fin shape in the photographs of the basking shark is not the shape or size of the fin I saw. Etc. etc. Mine looked more like the fellow in the second photograph…lean, built for speed and business.
In any event, Long Island plankton are breathing easier today!
(Top photo: a basking shark at Ponquogue, photographed by Matt Murphy, courtesy http://27east.com via the Southampton Press. The bottom photo is something I found and tweaked that is a good approximation of what I saw over my right shoulder at the Bowl.)