Basking sharks, Cetorhinus maximus, are recognized by their huge size, conical snouts, sub-terminal mouths, extremely large gill slits, and curved tails. It is the second largest fish, growing up to about 33 feet long, only surpassed by the whale shark. I was one of the lucky ones who had the opportunity to view one up close on Menemsha Beach last Sunday. I am sorry to say this one had succumbed to the will of the ocean, but it was fascinating to examine it. It appeared to have a long length of line wrapped around its snout — perhaps from a gill net? Brooks and I discussed how we felt a bit like marine biologists asking questions about what may have caused its death, how all of its body parts worked, and so on. It prompted a little research thanks to the power of Google. Read on if you want to know some of the basics that we found out.

They have numerous small teeth which are of little use. Basking sharks open their cavernous mouths wide and are capable of processing about 1,500 gallons of water per hour. This allows water to pass over their gill rakers, which strain small fish, eggs and other tasty bits out of the water for pleasurable consumption. They are often seen feeding near the surface — hence the name sunfish which they are often called. Their bodies can be grayish-brown, slate-gray, or black, sometimes with lighter patches on the dorsal side. They are generally found in temperate waters of both the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. According to the little research I did, they have been sighted along almost every coastline bordering both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Along the west coast of North America, they have been sighted from British Columbia to Baja California, usually in the winter and spring months. This trend is reversed in North Atlantic area.

Gather with friends at the Library for yet another installment of the Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire Film Festival. This week’s Free Friday Movie is the 1954 version of “Sabrina.” Humphrey Bogart, William Holden, and Audrey Hepburn star in this Cinderella story directed by renowned filmmaker Billy Wilder. Free admission, popcorn, juice — and all are welcome. Dial 508-645-3360 for more information.

It was a double-header birthday party jamboree this past Sunday. Silas Abrams celebrated his first double-digit birthday, also known as ten, surrounded by the boy posse and his little cousin Hazel Hearn. Hazel, with two older brothers, Hoffie and Harper, can hold her own for sure. Grandfather Nat Benjamin pointed out that little Hazel was the only one to use a napkin. The boys held numerous rounds of capture the flag, which landed most of them in the mud, but they all managed to happily settle down for cake.

Happy number nine to Cali Giglio. Cali’s mom, Lauren, is a great photographic documentarian so, if you weren’t there in person to celebrate but get the chance to look at her pictures, you will feel as if you were there. You will be one with Cali.

Shout out a happy birthday to Susan Stevens, Chilmark School principal, who is celebrating today. Others celebrating this week are Sarah Shipway, Peter Darling, Sara Smestad, Heather Gude, Nicole Cancellare and likely more that I have inadvertently overlooked.

Saturday, January 18, from 7 to 9 pm, step out and enjoy the first Collaborative Arts Installation at Pathways Gathering Space housed within the Chilmark Tavern. Saturday evening’s event honors work, according to Marianne Goldberg that is ” currently in process, or recently realized, as artists and writers embark upon projects in visual arts, videography, performing arts, spoken word, poetry, music, and more.” Kara Taylor, Christopher Wright, Cody Jephcote, James Masek, Ed Schulman, Christine Radant, Nick Fournier, Marianne Goldberg, Joan Lelacheur, Jesse Keller, Richard Skidmore, Christine Radant, William Waterway, Scott Crawford, Rick Padilla, Ted Perry and more with certainly amaze you with the many facets of the artistic world that they each represent. The ArTbaR and Writing Room open at 6 pm for writing, drawing, camaraderie and conversation. All of this for free admission.

Four-day weekend for our kiddos. Do any of you have cool plans?