The Bull Sharks of Beqa - Shark Diving Fiji with no cage!

It was a balmy 29 degrees, last Saturday afternoon on Fiji’s Coral Coast. We hadn’t been in the dive boat for more then 20 minutes when we arrived at the site. This was my third attempt to dive with the famous Bull sharks of Beqa Lagoon; last years efforts were foiled by foul weather and bad visibility. Now that we were kitted up and on the water there was no turning back. I (Brent) must admit, for a nanosecond, a flood of doubt surged through my mind - “OMG, NO CAGE, WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING!” shark diving Fiji

Shark Diving Fiji

The dive brief was a mixture of the obvious… “Please DON’T stick your arm outward toward any sharks in your immediate vicinity” to the Ridiculous…. “If charged directly by a shark, DON’T move or look away, please stand perfectly still and look directly at the shark – don’t show them any fear” We obviously had a comedian on our hands – trouble was no one was laughing. No time to ponder, before we knew it we were systematically jumping (striding) into the clear waters of Fiji's Beqa Lagoon (pronounced Beng- a)

The viewing ledge was at 24 meters and visibility was about the same, we were ushered behind a thin piece of rope – I felt safer already - not! Wasting no time the dive masters opened a large plastic rubbish bin containing 300+ kilos of chum (fish scraps and rotting meat mixed with blood) It did the trick because, all of a sudden the reef exploded into a frenzy of activity. Giant Groupers, Maori and Napolean Wrasse , Rainbow Runners, Giant Trevally and even an Eagle Ray swirled about eager to get in on the action…….. We didn’t have to wait long before larger shapes came into view. White tip, black tip and grey reef sharks circle first, then out of the gloom the first dim, larger silhouettes, patrolled past and coming closer with each circumnavigation - The big boys had arrived!

Unmistakable with their blunt heads and stocky builds these 15 ft monsters were dangerously slow and mesmerizing as they cruised past, you can see their eyes looking at you as they check you out – Mmmmmm middle aged spread.

According to National Geographic's "Animal Facts," bull sharks are among the most dangerous sharks in the world – (second only to great whites and tigers) and they obviously need to eat a lot. (Three tiger sharks are regularly fed here but unfortunately didn't make an appearance)

The number of fish was overwhelming; you almost didn’t know where to look! Everything went 3D, sharks were everywhere and as the frenzy hit a crescendo the ocean became darker as the sheer numbers cut out the the available light filtering through the ocean above.

The so-called timid, but by no means small Black Tipped sharks, keeping well away from the big Bulls turned their attention to us and sustained a series of slow motion dive bombs directly overhead keeping two divers gainfully employed fending then off with large (What appeared to be shepherd’s sticks by gently redirecting their noses, thus forcing them to change direction). Every now and then one would get through and one of us would ended up playing a game of chicken with a shark.

Some of us (including myself) were summoned to the centre of the swarm to touch a Bull, who (luckily) had his full attention on trying to remove the food from the bin.

On our second dive, more composed and less adrenalin, I counted 17 Bull Shark and at least 30 other various tips, and those were only the ones I could see.

The official line is you can see up to eight species of Sharks: Blacktip Reef Sharks, Whitetip Reef Sharks, Grey Reef Sharks, Silvertip Sharks, Tawny Nurse Sharks, Sicklefin Lemon Sharks, Bull Sharks and the occasional Tiger Shark. In addition, you can also encounter Giant Groupers, Maori Wrasse, Rainbow Runners, Giant Trevally, Java Morays, Eagle Rays and more than 400 species of tropical reef fish, Perfectly safe, exhilarating and intriguing, Shark diving in Fiji let alone anywhere else doesn’t get any better!

I agree and THANK YOU the kind folk at Aqua Trek, it was one of the most exhilarating dives I’ve done yet! 

Tags
South Pacific Islands
Diving
Adventure
Nature
Fiji
Brent Narbey
Submitted by
Brent Narbey
: 15 Jan 2011 (Last updated: 16 Jun 2017)

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