Last time you jumped into the Cornish waters with your surf board or enjoyed the Firth of Clyde coastline by sea kayak, did you imagine that the second largest fish in the sea might be swimming beneath you?
Not the Loch Ness Monster, but Britain's basking shark, that can exceed 10 metres in length and weigh over 5 tonnes, and, luckily for you, these gentle giants are vegetarians!
Earthwatch, the environmental charity, is currently working in West Cornwall and West Scotland to ensure that adequate levels of protection are in place to protect these unique and understudied creatures, still hunted for their fins. By joining the six day conservation project Britain's Basking Sharks, at either of these stunning coastlines, you can help us to achieve our goals.
The overall aim of the project is to monitor the social and reproductive behaviour of the basking shark while examining any threats that may exist to the population and in turn, what can be done to protect them.
As a team member you will spend the week sailing in some of the most beautiful waters in Britain. On board you, and the rest of your team, will play an active role in sighting sharks and recording habitat data. Training will be given in all aspects of survey techniques and photo-identification by Earthwatch scientists and, while photographic and sailing skills are useful, they not necessary.
Not only will you play a part in an important conservation effort, but you will also have the opportunity to learn about the surrounding area and its wild fauna and marine life, including the grey seal, the harbour porpoise, the bottlenose dolphin, the long finned pilot whale, the minke whale, the leatherback turtle and a myriad of seabirds.
Former volunteer Sandra Staples says, 'I learnt a lot about basking sharks and their environment on the project, I understand much more about the pressures that might affect their success as a species, and felt that I played a valuable role in furthering relevant research. I totally enjoyed the week, we were blessed by good weather, the company was excellent and the food was delicious.'
There is a charge of £495 to take part in this project, and in return Earthwatch will provide you with unique accommodation on board the 11.7 metre vessel Forever Changes, meals, new skills and a rewarding and team-building weekend. Anyone is welcome to join in and no experience is necessary.
Projects operate in West Cornwall, Firth of Clyde, Scotland and the Inner Hebrides. To find out more about dates and prices, please visit www.earthwatch.org/europe or call + 44 (0) 1865 318838.
For press information, images and interviews contact:
Zoe Gamble, Press Officer + 44 (0) 1865 318806/ email@example.com