'Into the Blue' with Pippa Garrard

Pippa Garrard, our Community Engagement Officer

Pippa Garrard, our Community Engagement Officer

The 'Blue Planet II: Into the Blue' extra gives us a fascinating insight into the efforts it takes to realise the wonderful footage we see on our screens each episode.

Like the Blue Planet series, it takes a huge amount of preparation, effort and dedication from our team to deliver our conservation programmes aboard our research vessel, Silurian.  Over the coming weeks, members of the team will share their own ‘Into the Blue’ moments, highlighting some of their most memorable times aboard Silurian

This week, Pippa Garrard, who leads our educational and community engagement programmes, shares one of her top experiences...

Sailing Silurian through a sea of sharks has to be one of my most memorable experiences. It was the last day of our Teen Team survey, and the aspiring marine biologists were on top form, calling in sightings as a slick and efficient team.

As we sailed along the west coast of Coll, an unmistakable triangular fin cut through the water ahead of us. It was a huge basking shark, with its mouth wide open, filtering plankton from the water. The closer we studied the water, the more fins we saw in every direction!
On board the boat, there was a flurry of energy, with everyone chipping in, making sure we counted all of them, entering the 40 plus sharks into the computer.

To add to the excitement, out of nowhere the sharks closest to the shore started breaching, these huge 8m animals throwing themselves clear from the water, before turning in mid-air and crashing back into the sea. Some of the sharks even erupted out of the water two or three times in a row to the sounds of the volunteers whooping and cheering!

An incredible sight to see, it finished as quick as it started, and we continued on our straight and steady course for home, astounded by the amazing aggregation we had just encountered!
Basking sharks appear seasonally in Hebridean waters, with some known hotspots where  sharks congregate in large groups

Basking sharks appear seasonally in Hebridean waters, with some known hotspots where  sharks congregate in large groups

Feel inspired by Blue Planet II and want to get involved with marine conservation efforts?  Why not join us on board Silurian in 2018?  Experience magnificent wildlife, explore spectacular Hebridean landscapes and make a valuable contribution to our marine conservation.

We believe scientific evidence is the foundation of effective conservation. Our Cetacean Research Programme delivers that evidence, but we need you to help us!