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Swimming With Bulls: Shark Diving In Fiji

Shark Diving in Fiji

Descending to Shark Dive in Fiji

Beqa Island, Fiji

Shark diving without a cage. Sounds insane, right? That’s what I thought too. Turns out sharks aren’t the terrifying monsters we think they are.

For millions of years sharks have slowly evolved into nature’s most deadly assassins. Lethal eating machines with razor sharp teeth, lightning-quick speed, and an unquenchable thirst for human blood!

(Ok, I made that last part up.)

But we’ve all seen the movie “Jaws” — and Hollywood doesn’t lie. It’s why thousands of people around the world suffer from Selachophobia. Fear of sharks.

But who can blame them? Why on earth would any rational person swim in the ocean not knowing what man-eating creatures may lurk beneath the waves?

As for those who purposefully seek out the company of sharks — they clearly have a death wish.

Tropical Fish Beqa Fiji

Tropical Fish Beqa Fiji

Seeking The Company Of Sharks

As an adrenaline junkie, my tolerance level these days is high. Luckily Fiji delivered the goods. They have a Shark Reef Marine Reserve located off the coast of the island of Beqa, where you can go swimming with up to 8 species of shark.

To help finance shark research and compensate local villagers for their lost fishing grounds, Beqa Adventure Divers offers scuba diving trips into the marine reserve’s shark-infested waters.

They let you get face-to-face with these underwater killers.

Killers of fish that is.

Because shark attacks on humans around the world are exceedingly rare — despite popular belief to the contrary.

Shark Attack Odds

Let’s look at some examples. How likely is a shark attack in the United States? Odds are greater that one of these will happen to you first:

  • You will die from a dog attack.
  • You will die from a lightning strike.
  • You will get killed by bees or wasps.
  • You will be executed for a crime.
  • You will be bitten by a human.
  • You will die falling down in your home.
  • Dick Cheney will shoot you on a hunting trip.

As for actual death by shark attack, that’s even rarer. Like 1 in 3,748,067 to be exact. You are more likely to die while digging a sand hole on the beach.

So stop digging those stupid things. They’re dangerous!

Scuba Diving with Sharks Fiji

Scuba Diving with Sharks Fiji

My First Shark Dive

Knowing these statistics made it a bit easier to join the professionals at Beqa Adventure for my first ever shark dive. They’ve been doing this for over 10 years with no problems.

I’ve been scuba diving in caves before, but diving with large Bull and possibly Tiger sharks was a big deal. These massive animals can grow 8 to 15 feet long and weigh hundreds of pounds.

Both have a history (however rare) of attacks on humans.

I’d be lying if I told you I wasn’t nervous to dive with them.

But, as I’ve learned over & over again on my travels, breaking out of your comfort zone is a healthy thing to do. So down I went down below to meet these toothy phobia-inducing creatures in person.

Grey Reef Shark Beqa Fiji

Grey Reef Shark Beqa Fiji

Shark Diving Fiji

It was time to suit up and hop off the boat for a 100 foot descent into the ocean. Once at the bottom, local Fijian dive masters positioned us on top of a coral wall, looking down into a sandy pit. Then the feeding began. There was no turning back now!

Two divers pull fish parts from plastic containers attracting a gigantic whirling mass of Jacks, Snappers, and other reef fish. It wasn’t long before the sharks appeared to get in on the action. First it was Nurses, Black Tips, and Grey Reef sharks. At 4 to 6 feet long, they were impressive enough.

But then came the Bulls. Ten foot 400 pounders with menacing teeth.

Most of the big guys kept their distance from us, but just watching their huge forms maneuver through the water was an awe-inspiring sight.

After about 17 minutes of sharky fun, we ascended to a depth of 30 feet to continue the spectacle of motion. Black Tips, White Tips, Grey Reefs, and Nurses swam just a foot or two away from my face among hundreds of colorful red, blue, and yellow reef fish.

Our dive masters used aluminum poles to keep some overly excited sharks from getting too close.

Bull Shark Beqa Fiji

Bull Shark Beqa Fiji

Shark Feeding Controversy

Now if you didn’t already know, feeding sharks like this is a bit controversial. Some say that it trains them to associate humans with food, increasing the odds of an attack. Yet there is zero hard proof of this yet. It’s only speculation.

These diving trips pour much needed money into shark conservation & research projects. Without that money, shark populations around the world will continue to rapidly decline. If dive operators don’t pay to help save the sharks, who will? You? The government?

That’s wishful thinking in my opinion. It won’t happen.

The ONLY reason marine life is protected at Fiji’s Shark Reserve is because of the money flowing in from these dive trips. Beqa Adventure Divers teamed up with local villages to ban all fishing here in 2004. The result? A once dying reef is thriving and full of life again.

After over 10 years of feeding sharks here, attacks in Fiji are still just as rare as anywhere else. Averaging 1-2 a year.

It’s important to keep in mind that swimming with sharks is probably a bit more dangerous than watching them on the Discovery Channel.

But don’t fall for all the media sensationalism. Math doesn’t lie. The odds are in your favor. These beautiful and powerful creatures are better seen in person anyway. ★

Watch Video: Shark Diving in Fiji


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Accommodation: Uprising Beach Resort
Company: Beqa Adventure Divers
Cost: $158 US (2 tank dive trip)

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I hope you enjoyed my guide on Shark Diving in Fiji! Hopefully you found it useful. Here are a few more wanderlust-inducing articles that I recommend you read next:

Would you ever swim with sharks?

Chris

Wednesday 6th of February 2019

Hey Matthew,

I'm on Fiji right now and really enjoyed reading your article on the shark dives. I've been a passionate diver for 20 years and love sharks (that's why I'm here😉)

However one thing that really annoys me about people quoting shark attack statistics is the fact that the statistics are bullshit. I recently went to West Australia to go freediving and read a lot about increasing numbers in fatal attacks by great whites. The official statistics however quoted the same "its less likely than dying by *insert random stuff*". So I looked a bit further and saw that they weighed each shark attack against 30 million people visiting the beaches every year... 29.5 million people sunbathing and sitting in the water to pee do not belong in those statistics though. If u only took real risk groups (spearfishers, surfers) the unmanipulated statistics would look way worse (which ofc the government doesn't want cause they depend a lot on tourism).

Laila

Friday 16th of September 2016

This article perfectly describes the adventures of a risk-taker. Many people nowadays are severely affected by the media and movies regarding sharks and shark attacks, it alters their views, their perspectives on the sea life forever and leaves them terrified of ever setting foot into the ocean. The fact stays that sharks aren't out for human blood, unless provoked sharks don't intend on devouring humans (although it rarely happens that sharks feed on humans unprovoked, they typically don't target them). However, the several attacks documented the last few centuries are mostly non-fatal, this explains that even though sharks sometimes seem threatening to human lives, they aren't as harmful as countless people think they are. Sharks are truly intriguing, fascinating and captivating creatures. Personally, since I am also an adrenaline junkie, as they call it, I have had the chance to see great white sharks in the flesh on one of our travels to South Africa. It took multiple tries to convince my parents into letting me do it, nevertheless they finally gave in, (after countless arguments and never-ending pleading) they agreed. The next day I went with the group and to say I was nervous would be an understatement, but one of the things I partly live for is breaking out of my comfort zone and taking huge risks. Furthermore, as the saying goes: “An adrenaline junkie is more afraid of not living than dying”. We got ready and suited up, filled our tanks and finally we entered the cages and were sent on our way to the bottom of the ocean, where we were destined to meet the Great White Sharks. This experience changed my life forever, as I’m sure it did yours as well. I learned to see sharks and many different sea creatures in a new-found light, and different viewpoint. It saddened me to discover that people were thoughtless and killed these indescribably amazing creatures for the purposes of making soups using their fins, while the rest of the shark was left to decay. Humans are frightened of sharks when in reality it should be reversed; for humans have caused more destruction to sharks than sharks ever did to human beings.

Art Travel Eat Repeat

Friday 9th of September 2016

Amazing experience! I've always wanted to do this. I did do a shark cage snorkel off the North Shore of Oahu once, but this sounds absolutely fabulous.

Rob

Friday 19th of August 2016

Must be an incredible feeling swimming with the bull sharks. The amount of adrenaline i would imagine would initially be high. Its too painful to imagine that such majestic creatures are caught for a single fin (thats like 2% of the shark) which is used for shark fin soup. The rest is mostly tossed back at sea...wasteful!

Michelle

Wednesday 17th of August 2016

Great blog! What was your favorite fish that you saw? Where else have you snorkelled? Looks a bit scary though! I would be scared of getting attacked.

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