Scots surfer shares “daunting” moment he is surrounded in middle of the sea by group of giant basking sharks

A SCOTS surfer has shared the “daunting” moment he came face-to-face with a group of giant basking sharks whilst out in the middle of the sea.

Phil Macdonald was paddle boarding off the coast of Nairn Beach in Nairn, Scottish Highlands on Saturday when his session was interrupted by the surprise visitors.

The 36-year-old was promptly caught off-guard by the group of basking sharks, who circled his board in the murky water – leaving Phil’s nerves wracked as he admitted he “s**t himself”.

Video shows Phil breathing heavily as he films a large dorsal fin cutting through the water as a large shape meanders closer to him.

As the shark – whose giant mouth can be seen just below the surface – approaches, it dips its dorsal fin under the surface, skimming below Phil who simply says: “Jesus. Oh wow.”

Easily dwarfing Phil and his board, the basking shark pops up again on the other side, circling back for another run as Phil, from Inverness, admits: “[I] s**t myself.”

Another clip reveals that the basking shark has been joined by others of its species, as Phil dips his camera down below the surface of the water.

Despite the murky, green waters, the enormous shape of one of the sharks drifts right by Phil’s camera, with its huge white mouth hanging wide open as it attempts to filter for plankton.

The rough ridges and gills of the shark’s body pass right by the camera, revealing the sheer size of the giant fish.

Phil then plucks the camera back out of the water before asking his friend if they had managed to capture any snaps of the gentle giants too.

Phil Macdonald.
Pictured: Phil Macdonald. (C) Phil Macdonald/Facebook.

Phil took to social media to share the footage on Saturday, writing: “Still can’t believe I was lucky enough to experience this.

“Was so keen to swim with them but the water is really murky, which made it super daunting.

“Then, you catch the size and scale of them and it becomes a really nerve-wracking thought.

“Couldn’t bring myself to touch them. I’d have felt a bit more comfortable if it weren’t for the fact it was my first time using a paddle board.

“Nairn Beach is just a magical place.”

The post received over 360 likes and more than 80 comments from users left stunned at Phil’s up-close encounter with the prehistoric-looking fish.

Donald Jack wrote: “No way. This is amazing.”

Caroline Macdonald said: “Great experience for you. I was terrified, watching you.”

Paul Goldie commented: “That is incredible viewing, mate. You’re a brave man.”

Jermeno De Vos added: “This is the Scottish version of swimming with dolphins.”

Kenny Morrison joked: “Toes kept out the water, just in case.”

The basking shark is the second largest living shark – and fish – in the world, behind the whale shark.

With large adult specimens reaching up to 10 metres in length, the basking shark can live up to 50 years and can be found from the water’s surface, right down to at least 910 metres deep.

Despite their size, basking sharks pose no danger to humans and are filter feeders – mostly feeding on zooplankton, small fish and invertebrates in the water.

The species are one of only three plankton-eating shark species alongside the whale shark and megamouth shark, and are currently endangered.