£1,500 drone camera catches amazing basking shark footage


TWO boat tour guides using a £1,500 drone camera have produced a beautiful video of a basking shark in Scottish waters.

Shane Wasik and Luke Saddler have used the new technology to achieve David Attenborough-style images without the £1m-an-episode price tag,

The pair also captured remarkable overhead footage of dolphins racing alongside their boat in crystal-clear waters near Oban.


Stunning basking shark footage captured by the drone
Stunning basking shark footage captured by the drone


The footage has been combined with stunning underwater video to produce a remarkable record of the richness of marine life off the Scottish coast.

Shane and Luke run a boat tour called Basking Shark Scotland which specialises in giving visitors close-up views of the 40ft, seven-tonne creatures.


Shane and Luke, who run the Oban-based tours, bought the drone to give an aerial dimension to their shots.

The drone-mounted camera was flown into position above the basking shark.


The crew with their tour members
The crew with their tour members


The team managed to track it from above as it swam serenely through unusually calm Atlantic waters.

Shane said: “It’s a new perspective – myself and Luke are handy with the underwater camera, but having an aerial dimension is a new thing for us.

“We get some cool results as well – shots that were reserved for helicopters and big budgets.

“You’re always worried in case it goes haywire and falls into the sea and the footage would be lost.

“One person said it was like watching the BBC’s Blue Planet.”


More birds-eye footage caught by the flying camera
More birds-eye footage caught by the flying camera


The pair met at Edinburgh’s Heriot-Watt University through a mutual friend, and set up the commercial tours three years ago.

They have been visited by the likes of Damon Albarn from the rock band Blur, and BBC DJ Mark Riley.


Shane said: “People didn’t know much about basking sharks until recently, but a lot of them do come to the Hebrides.

“They grow to be bigger than our boat. They’re the biggest fish to breach out of the water – no other fish that size does so.

“They’re protected here and we have a code of conduct when swimming with them.


Luke Saddler landing the drone
Luke Saddler landing the drone


“Using the correct technique you can get close to them and they can come close to you.”

Also filmed from above was an elusive sun fish, which weighs in at a tonne making it the world’s heaviest-known bony fish.


Other remarkable sequences include the drone camera passing over the boat as dolphins speed alongside.

Basking sharks use their 1-metre wide jaws to strain plankton from around 1.5 million litres of water per hour. They are born travellers and cover large distances in search of food.


The drone also caught shots of dolphins
The drone also caught shots of dolphins


Basking Shark Scotland offer basking shark swimming tours to the Inner Hebrides between May and September, to coincide with the sharks migration.

The duo use a DJI drone which can reach speeds of 22mph and can be controlled up to a kilometer away. The camera used is a £200 GoPro capable of capturing high definition video.


Shane Wasik with an underwater camera
Shane Wasik with an underwater camera


The video was uploaded to social media where it received great feedback.

Daniel Montgomery said: “Beautiful video – really goes to show the amazing amount of marine life found on our doorstep.”

Stuart Baines said: “Amazing compilation. Love the drone footage.”