“I put on my binoculars and saw clearly that it was not a dolphin and then recognized the long bill of a swordfish. There was no doubt about it.
“We turned off the engines so we didn’t scare him off. After about 10 minutes he reappeared and approached us.
“It was ten feet long and a third of that was the bill. It was huge.
“It was amazing to watch and incredibly rare – something you wouldn’t expect in a million years.
“Swordfish are offshore oceanic species that occur in the northwestern Atlantic and Mediterranean, not British coastal waters.
“I believe that no more than five swordfish have ever been sighted in the UK.
“I have no idea what it was doing here. It baffled us.
“It can get out of hand in search of food, they feed on fatty fish such as mackerel and herring.
“We’re seeing a lot of large groups of about 200 dolphins this year and that’s probably because there’s a lot of food for them here. The same may be true for swordfish.”
Swordfish – Xiphias gladius in Latin – are known for their agility in the water, reaching speeds of 22 mph. They are very similar to marlin.
The popular belief that their ‘sword’ is used as a spear by smaller fish is misleading as they are believed to use it to cut and injure prey animals.
They pose no threat to humans and are listed on the IUCN Red List as a near threatened species, primarily due to overfishing.