The amazing British island that has huge sharks swimming offshore and hundreds of wild wallabies | The Sun
AN amazing British island is home to some of the most spectacular wildlife in the world – and it can be reached in only half an hour from the UK.
The rising cost of holidays means more people are considering vacations closer to home this summer.
Luckily, in the UK, people live very close to the Isle of Man, which is the world’s only place to be entirely marked as a UNESCO Biosphere, due to its unique wildlife.
The island is home to an incredible array of species and has even been nicknamed the British Isles Galapagos because of its biodiversity.
Thanks to its location in the gulf stream, the island’s rich waters attract a variety of marine life, from hundreds of seals, porpoises, whales and dolphins to the giant summer visitors – the basking shark.
The Isle of Man is one of the best places to watch basking sharks up close and from mid-May until the end of August, they can be seen feeding on plankton at the ocean surface.
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Popular viewing spots can be found around the south and south-west shores, while there are plenty of great vantage points to be found from the many coastal paths.
Holidaymakers can also take a boat or sea kayak trip to get up even closer with the gentle giants, which are known to grow up to 12 metres in length.
The Manx Whale and Dolphin watch allows anyone to share their recent sightings of the sea creatures on their websites, so people visiting know exactly where to spot them.
The sharks aren't the only rare marine species that can be seen in the waters around the islands either, with Risso's dolphin also a common visitor.
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The unique porpoises and their calves can be seen in Manx waters in the summer months, with the best time to spot them between March and October.
The Risso's dolphin enjoys deep offshore waters, and will often have scratches on their bodies, believed to be a result of rough behaviour including fighting and catching prey.
They are often seen around the Calf of Man – a small uninhabited island – and young calves are seen every year during the spring and summer.
Other marine species that can be spotted in the Isle of Man include harbour porpoise, bottlenose dolphin, short beaked common dolphin and the Minke whale.
However, the dry land has its fair share of unique nature to enjoy too, with hundreds of wild wallabies calling the island their home.
A pair of the marsupials escaped from the Curraghs Wildlife Park in the 1960s and started a colony of their own. The species is now thriving, with more than 500 existing today.
Visitors can head to the Curraghs in Ballaugh and follow its grassy trails to spot the wallabies in one of the only places they can be seen in the wild outside of Australia.
Dr Lara Howe, Marine Officer at nature conservation charity Manx Wildlife Trust, said: “The Island is a jewel in the Irish sea for wildlife, whether that be marine or terrestrial.
"With its small size, it allows you to visit plenty of great locations and habitats and see a huge variety of species without traveling miles to do so.
"For holidaymakers wanting to reconnect with nature, the Isle of Man offers an unexplored nature haven away from the crowds.”
There's more to the Isle of Man than wildlife and nature spotting however, with the island also home to steam trains, castles and a horse-drawn tram that can be seen in the capital Douglas.
It's also home to some amazing beaches, with Ramsey, Port Erin and White Strand among the island's best.
Getting to the Isle of Man is very simple, with easyJet offering flights from Liverpool, Bristol, London Luton, and London Gatwick.
Flight times range from just over half an hour to around an hour and 20 minutes depending where you fly from.
A night in a hotel on the island can be booked from £24.50pp per night, while a camping pitch can be found from £5pp per night.
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