Shark Feed in Fiji
Contributed by David Arthur - Aquatic Images
What started out as a family holiday on the Coral Coast of Fiji gave me the
opportunity to do one of the best dives I have ever done.
I went to Fiji with the intention of NOT even going for a dive maybe just snorkeling
on the reef with my family. Shortly after arriving at the Warick resort we went
for a walk to explore what would be our home for the next 8 days. While walking
along the lagoons edge admiring the view a sign caught my attention - Dive Shop.
Like a shoe shop to my wife, I just can't go past a dive shop without having
a look. The shop was no more than a window box with a sign, Reef dives, Reef
snorkeling and Shark Feed Dive. I had picked up a brochure at Fiji airport that
claimed to be the best shark dive in the world and couldnĺt believe my
luck to discover it was just 45 minutes drive down the coast. As all divers
on holiday that DON'T plan on diving I was glad I packed my dive computer in
my camera bag. Now I had to convince the family to let me go for half a days
diving so with big sad puppy eyes and credit card I approached my wife and two
girls. They had planned on a horse ride and said that they would do that on
the same morning but took the credit card just in case. The next day I went
to book my Shark dive and noticed they also had a digital camera for hire (you
beauty - got to get some pic's to brag to the folks back home).
day finally arrived and we were off down the coast in a mini bus to Beqa Adventures
dive shop. There were 6 divers and 5 staff that left the wharf for the 20 minute
ride to the dive site. The site was no more than a buoy floating in the middle
of the ocean about 2 kms off an island. With the customary look over the side
we were pleased to see beautiful deep blue water. Our dive leader gave us a
well detailed dive brief and told us visibility would be 40 to 50 meters so
we were geared up and in the water without hesitation. On the way down the mooring
line the visibility was as promised and we were also surrounded by water of
28˚. It couldn't get any better, or could it?
We followed our dive guide down to 25 metres where there was a line tied between
two boulders. As we settled down and waited for the show to begin we were joined
by the rest of the dive crew (4 in total) carrying a large Otto garbage bin
which they placed 3 meters in front of us.
this time there were large schools of Jacks, remoras and other reef fish everywhere.
It was then that the action started, the bin was open and large chunks of fish
carcasses were dispersed into the water. Within seconds the area turned into
a mass of feeding fish and within minutes the first reef sharks arrived. The
action was fast and furious with it nearly impossible at times to see the sharks
through the feeding fish. I was there merrily snapping off photos when the dive
leader turned and signaled for me to come over the line to get some better shots.
Without hesitation I settled down next to him and continued to snap away.
During the dive brief we were told that we would be spending about 20 minutes
at the feed before we were to head back up the reef to the mooring for the safety
stop and then back to the boat. While I was swimming back to the mooring I noticed
my new friend ( the dive leader) was straggling behind with his video getting
some more shots and since my computer and air said I still had plenty of time
I kept him company like any good dive buddy. After 45 minutes we were back on
the boat for a nice cuppa and cake and to change tanks.
seemed an eternity before we were back in the water with another "bin of
chum" but I had more inconvenience to worry about. Although I cleaned my
hire mask before the dive it refused to stay clear and for the first 2 minutes
of the shark feed I was clearing my mask then taking a shot then clearing my
mask again. This was not a drama until after clearing my mask for what seemed
the hundredth time a Bull shark swam past then as my mask started to fog up
again several more came into view. I cleared my mask just as one of the staff
motioned me over the line once again to take some closer photos. I couldn't
refuse. After clearing my mask I was tapped on the shoulder by the staff member
who was "chumming up" the water. He had his mask off and was offering
it to me so we swapped masks in a swirling mass of feeding fish and their friends.
After we swapped masks I could clearly see seven Bull sharks had joined us in
our fish soup and boy, are they quick.
was one Bull shark with a large hook in its mouth and it seemed very agitated
with blinding runs into the bait. I watched him come in on a run and panned
the camera to get a shot as he was too quick for the time lag on the digital
camera. After I took the shot I looked up from the camera and he was gone. The
feed continued until time was up and we had to leave.
When we reluctantly got back onto the boat there was an excited buzz of what
we had all seen. On the ride back to the wharf I went to review my shots and
discovered I had taken 96 photos and 6 short movies but before I could look
at the shots the low battery warning came up and the camera shut down so I didn't
get a look at what I had taken until I had got back to the resort. I couldn't
look at the movies until I got home as the resort computer didn't have the software
to run them. During both dives we were treated to expert service and at no time
did anyone feel anything but adrenaline. This dive is one of the best dives
I have encountered due to its warm water great visibility and exciting action.
If I go back to Fiji it will be one of the first things I do.