I knew I was going to have some good wildlife encounters today when I passed two foxes and a Roe deer in a field, two dead badgers side by side and a rabbit which was alive and well and skipping and hopping on the road in front of me  but sadly flat as a pizza in my rear view mirror, on my way to Sennen cove.

The sea was very lumpy at first and I caught two decent pollack on a Dexter wedge using cast and drift technique. But forget the fishing- I found myself in the centre of a feeding frenzy of two basking sharks. Well,hardly frenzied but the grey mullet which sploshed around at the surface munching up the disturbed plankton certainly were.

I could have scratched (or even picked)  the sharks nose as it cruised past…..

What a hooter
What a hooter

They just kept on turning and coming back right underneath my boat, submerging at the last second just enough to avoid clanging into me.


It’s difficult to show the size of these whopping fish compared to my kayak but here’s one heading straight for me with mouth agape…..


I did a lot of fumbling with my camera and got a lot of underwater pics of not alot. However I was a bit smug with this one…..note part of my wig in top left corner to provide some scale……..

Mouths surely don't come bigger
Mouths surely don't come bigger

This marine creature experience contrasts strongly with memories of Sperm Whale watching in New Zealand. Wafts of expensive perfume from well-heeled observers peering out of the air-conditioned jet boat, and a thunderous simultaneous clatter of camera shutters as the tail flukes came up (plus a bit of American-style whooping). Gimme a kayak anyday, plus a few passing shearwaters and kittiwakes for company.

Hope it's not a Great white
Hope it's not a Great white

 At one stage  it was looking as though the shark had made the same ghastly mistake as some of my teachers* at school who accused me of resembling a piece of plankton. Fortunately it recognised me as of unpalatably high intellect at the critical moment and swerved away.


Please close your mouth and go graze some plankton elsewhere
Please close your mouth and go graze some plankton elsewhere

(*often maths, occasionally general science and once religious studies formerly known as scripture)



  1. Quite a sight Rupert! I have seen them from the cliffs on the Lizard and other places, and as a child we hit one acidently when in a RNLI lifeboat at Salcombe. It seems you are enjoying your passion and vocation that was so clear when we were at Taunton together. Do you still keep in touch with John Flower?

    Best Regards,


    1. Simon

      crikey there’s a name frome the past (although my wife’s sister is also married to Simon Marshall!). Sorry about delay in reply-weather hasn’t been favourable for kayaking/blogging. Hope you are fit and well. I am a farm vet and spend far too much time working/on duty. Like this weekend-stunning sunny weather and on call…. Saw John Flower a couple of years ago but not for a decade before that.Don’t keep in touch with any other Tauntonians. What do you get up to?

  2. It is good to hear from you after so long (33 years!), but which also seems like yesterday too. Your the 1st from school I have been in touch with, although I went back there last summer to discuss some charitable work that I am intending to do. I am not sure whether as blog owner you have access to my email, but its Drop me a line and we can chat about old times and new. Oh, and I have a horse with ring-bone (I am not sure equine counts as a farm matter!) So he is now a retired old friend. And I a wife too!

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