During the summer months we have sometimes been so lucky to see basking sharks on our tours here in Faxaflˇi bay. This was the case on the whale watching tour last night and weĹre sure going to keep our eyes open for basking sharks on the tours today. The basking sharks are a great supplement to the whales we see on the tour and it is really something when we see them luring right under the surface.
The basking shark is the second largest fish in the world (only the whale shark is larger) and they are 6 - 8 meters long on average but can reach a length of 12 meters. On average they weigh around 10 tonnes but can be up to 19 tonnes (!). Sharks aren't mammals like whales are, and they do not have to come up to the surface to breathe, so when they are spotted it is because they are at the surface feeding. They'll swim slowly at the surface with their mouth wide open and filter the water that is pushed through the gills. It is estimated that a basking shark will filter up to 2.000 litters of water every hour! The basking shark is a filter feeder and feeds on plankton, krill and small fish ;)
Drawing by Jˇn Baldur HlÝberg