The Isle of Man is a great place to visit if you are interested in wildlife and one of the more unusual creatures that can regularly be spotted is the basking shark. Once heavily targeted and fished for their fins, meat and liver oil, they received formal legal protection in 1998 and can often be spotted during the summer months just off the Manx coastline.
From mid-May until mid-August you can see them feeding on plankton blooms at the ocean surface and, at up to 12 metres long, they are certainly easy to spot from a fishing kayak or hire boat if you are in the right place at the right time.
Popular spots in the Isle of Man are around the South and South-West shores on calm days and there are plenty of great vantage points to be found if you take the time to walk or cycle to them.
There are also dedicated companies on Island who will happily take you and your family out for a trip to the common locations in a way that is certain not to interfere with them in local waters.
Basking sharks are listed as endangered on the IUCN Red List. They are protected by law so please use a reputable wildlife watching company to maximise your chances of seeing these magnificent animals whilst minimising the chances of harassing or injuring them.
Further information can be found on the Manx Basking Shark Watch website.