If you are fortunate to visit Fiji’s beautiful Coral Coast, you are a qualified scuba diver and you have some disregard for danger, then you should consider booking a place on one of the most exciting dives in the South Pacific, and one of the few dives in the world where you are guaranteed to see a bull shark.
On the Prowl
Fiji’s amazing Coral Coast runs along the bottom of the main island, about an hours drive from the airport at Nadi. There are many great resorts and beaches along the coast, most of which are affiliated with a scuba diving outfit.
I was staying at the five star Warwick Fiji, which is home to Spad Fiji, a Padi Diving outfit that specialises in Coral Coast diving. I booked my shark dive with them at the resort, paying $395 FIJ for two dives. Diving in Fiji is not cheap, averaging around $125 AUD per dive, but in this case well worth it.
The shark dives are on Monday’s and Wednesday’s, meeting at the shop front at 7:15am. We sorted out gear then were transported ten minutes to a nearby pier where our dive boat awaited.
If you have been following my Fiji trip you will know weather has not been the normal tropical bliss you would expect in October, in-fact it has not been good at all. It has been windy and the sea was choppy to say the least, which made for a rough 40 minute ride out to the site. Worse still for most people is when the boat stops, especially the one hour stay between dives, the swaying got the better of most of the divers aboard our boat. If you are prone to sea sickness, then you will want to select a calm day for this trip.
Once at the site, we were given our dive brief.. basically 18 metre dive for forty minutes, with a safety stop. We were told to stay behind the line and not to approach the sharks.
The water was a warm 24 degrees, our party of six entered the water and met on top of the coral bommie at 10 metres, before descending to the lookout area.
This is a fairly inactive dive with minimal swimming. We were led to the viewing platform, which was a roped off rock wall overlooking the feeding area, and motioned to stay put, which was fine by us. A team is on site that feeds the fish and sharks and we basically looked on.
The show was exciting to say the least. The video I compiled below gives a very good idea of what you see, so you can make up your own mind by watching below.
Fiji Shark Dive 4k
Considering this was my second time using my new camera underwater, and my first actual scuba dive with it, I think the movie turned out well. I do have a 2600 lumens video light, but no arm to attach it to yet. With all the action there was a lot of backscatter in the water and I thought it safest to take video without lighting, and although this meant less colour, sharks are pretty much grey anyways.
Photography conditions were tough, especially for a beginner. I suggest you become very familiar with your camera underwater before going on this dive, as I wish I had gotten more experience first. Most of my stobe pictures didn’t work, although I was able to grab some of the 4k frames from the video which was a good fall back.
We saw a variety of sharks on the dives, including the dangerous and unpredictable Bull Shark, Tawny Nurse Sharks and White tip reef sharks. On the previous Monday dive, they say a Tiger Shark and we were all hoping for a return visit, and secretly relieved when we didn’t get one!
We did two dives, pretty much identical with the second dive five minutes shorter. We saw more Bull Sharks on the second dive, but the water was also cloudier. You can see in the video that the site is build around an artificial reef, with a sunken ship first used to attract marine life.
The Turning Point
The Fiji Shark Dive was a highlight of my diving experiences so far, and one I would highly recommend to anyone. As mentioned, there is not much to do other than rest on the sidelines while the sharks swim by. A few divers tried to get a little closer to get some pictures, but were warned off by the guides.
Apart from the sharks there are many other types of fish, but it’s hard to focus on a pretty trigger fish when a Bull Shark is zooming past. On the way back there are also a few moray eels to visit, one particularly friendly eel will come out to greet you and happily pose for you.
As soon as the second dive was completed we departed back to the Warwick, arriving just before 1pm. Although the trip was uncomfortable due to the rough conditions, the experience of diving with unpredictable Bull Sharks was well worth it.
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