Video: Kayaker Gets Up Close with a Basking Shark

A gentle giant grabs a meal off the Isle of Man.

<p>Facebook/Isle of Man Harbours</p>

If you ever wanted to combine the excitement of a giant shark encounter with a feeling of safety, you could do worse than to encounter a basking shark, as a kayaker off the Isle of Man recently did.

Basking sharks may be the second-largest fish in the sea (tops would be the whale shark), but they're also a complete non-threat to humans. They wide-jawed plankton eaters – "filter feeders" that plumb the waters, mouth agape, to take in what nature has to offer. True to their name, they like to take in the sunshine, moving slowly.

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According to BBC News, kayaker Craig Whalley came across just such a basking shark, one that was about 23 feet (7 meters) long, while he was investigating cave areas on the isle's southern coastline.

The shark did not seem at all bashful, according to Whalley – the great animal came by to "visit" the kayaker several times.

Watch the gentle giant in action -- or inaction, of a sort -- as it opens wide for a meal: