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Basking Shark Research Expedition

Join a 4-day research expedition and learn about the ecology of basking sharks and their migration patterns in sourthern Argyll (Scotland) - an aggregation spot from which they start their southerly migration to the sub-tropics. 


Basking Shark Research Expedition
  • Learn about the ecology and conservation of basking sharks through this hands-on, learning experience.
  • Get involved in the real work of observing and recording large marine life: take part in taking measurements, data gathering and work up of samples.
  • Enjoy wild watching sharkswhalesdolphinsporpoisesseals and seabirds as you explore the sea with a crew of marine biologists.

Catch a glimpse

Basking Shark Research Expedition

Why Wildsea Europe recommends this experience

Environmental stewardship, ocean literacy & citizen science
Basking Shark Scotland is a champion for the wild seas! It will not only show you a great time: it will challenge you to improve your knowledge of the marine environment and it will grant you the opportunity of engaging in citizen science activities, in support of marine wildlife.

What to expect?

Basking Shark Research Expedition

At the end of the summer, basking sharks start their southerly migration to the sub-tropics with one final aggregation in southern Argyll. During this period, we run research expeditions to observe the sharks and explore different areas, while gaining information on this stage of their migration. During these trips, which are open to anyone interested, we cut the passenger numbers to 8 and have our base on the Clyde.

Guests on these trips can be involved in our southerly migration study with the primary goals as follows:

  • Study abundance of southerly basking shark population. 
  • Record location, time, size, sex and behaviour of southerly basking sharks along with environmental factors. 
  • Record images and video of sharks for entry into shark fin ID catalogue. 
  • Analyse plankton samples from feeding and non-feeding areas. 

Along with the study of the sharks we will have the opportunity to look for and record other exciting marine life such as whales, dolphins, porpoises, seals and seabirds during our time at sea.

Passengers with enough experience will be able to swim with the sharks during these trips and we will be collecting underwater information about any sharks that we observe on the expeditions.

Photographers and videographers are most welcome on the trips and will benefit from fewer passenger numbers on the boat than our usual trips.

The expedition also includes a series of info-talks on the ecology and conservation of basking sharks by our trained marine biologists.

The minimum age on the trip will be 16 years and we encourage students or prospective marine science students as they will gain a lot of skills and survey experience.

These trips are a great way to be involved in the real work of observing and recording large marine life. However the trip is open to everyone who has an interest in basking sharks, marine life and ocean adventure.

Please note the objective of this project is to study the sharks. Although we will be watching and observing them both in and out the water, the goal is gather data. Passengers will be expected to assist with taking measurements, data gathering and work up of samples.

Price and optionals

Basking Shark Research Expedition
  •   From: € 630.00 per person

Important info

Basking Shark Research Expedition
  •   Duration: 4 days
  •   Effort: Active
  •   Skills required: Beginner
  •   Difficulty level: Easy
  •   Languages spoken: English, German
  •   Minimum group size: 4
  •   Maximum group size: 8

We will meet you at Dunoon and then take you to our base for the trip. This will require a short ferry from Gourock, which has great transport links to Glasgow via train or road. Otherwise you can also drive there if you are planning to drive yourself. More details of this can be found in our booking information documents which we will send to you on request. You will meet the evening prior to the first day of the expedition and stop at the supermarket for some supplies before driving to the expedition base. On arrival you will check in and we will do a short talk on what to expect over the following few days and your surroundings.

What's included:

  • 4 days research based expedition.
  • Amazing wildlife, scenery and culture.
  • Knowledgeable and experienced guides.
  • Educational presentations on basking sharks, research techniques and photography.
  • Training in plankton sampling and analysis.
  • Hot drinks and home baking snack on board.
  • Onboard binoculars, books and information guides.
  • Snorkel option for gathering data on sharks.
  • Shared lodge accommodation (single option available for additional cost).

What's NOT included:

  • Equipment hire for snorkelling option - available at request at an additional cost.
  • Weather or wildlife guarantees! Sorry we’d love to be able to do that but we really do believe that our trips give you the best chance of seeing sharks.
  • Food - the tour is based on self catering accommodation. You have the opportunity to visit a supermarket on arrival and there is a local shop and hotels for evening meals. 
  • Travel (e.g ferry from Gourock) to the meeting point in Dunoon.


Basking Shark Research Expedition


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Local Operator

Member of Wildsea Europe since 15/05/2017
Basking Shark Scotland
Basking Shark & Wildlife Adventures, based from Oban, Scotland. We run basking shark or seal & lagoon day tours and  multi day ‘Hebrides Experience’, two-day or a week-long basking shark and adventure tours round the islands. Itineraries also include puffin watching in the Treshnish Isles and visiting the volcanic wonder of Fingal’s Cave.
Basking Shark Scotland
McKelvie Road 8 PA34 4GB
Oban Argyll (Scotland)


Basking Shark Scotland

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