Any sensible person has a healthy fear of sharks, you know that if you come face to face with a shark you should probably get yourself out of there. So why do so many of us place 'diving with sharks' so high on our bucket list?
If you're in Fiji you've got the perfect chance to tick this off your bucket list. Beqa Adventure Divers, also known as BAD, is one of two dive outfits offering shark dives out of Fiji. You're not in a cage, you're out there amongst the sharks. Fiji is one of only a few places around the world where you can go on a chartered shark dive without cage.
Beqa's dive offers an adrenaline rush, but this isn't just about thrill seeking. Forget images of great whites with their gnashing, this Fiji shark dive is about appreciating magnificent creatures out in the wild. You'll meet bull, tiger and reef sharks, just to name a few.
Before you are allowed to dive down with the sharks you must have completed SCUBA training; this is not a place for first time divers. Beqa do a thorough rundown of procedures. It's not a dive where you can swim around as you wish, every little detail is organised.
On the first dive you go down 30 meteres, perched on a shelf waiting for the sharks to appear a couple of metres below. The whole time hundreds of predator fish swim overhead, waiting for the scraps the sharks leave behind. A man waits below with a dustbin full of meat and chain-mail gloves, then the sharks appear.
The experience is amazing, seeing these mighty beasts approach open mouthed grab a fish head and the swim past you with their mouth still open.
Over years the sharks have been educated to swim in an anticlockwise direction if they wish to be fed but it can be interesting when new sharks enter the mix and have to be shown which way to swim.
There is approximately 1 dive master for every 2 divers and their job is to push the sharks away with aluminum sticks if they get too close or go the wrong way.
After watching these magnificent beasts feed you slowly swim up the wall to a shallower area occupied by reef sharks. This is a far more relaxed experience and the dive master feeding the sharks pats and strokes them as they swim up to be fed. This is an up close encounter as these reef sharks, up to a metre and a half long, swim over your heads often brushing past you.
After a break on boat it is back down to watch some more feeding of the larger bull sharks.
Once you've dived once, you'll want to do it again, and you know with Beqa you're diving with a team who really respect the sharks. So tick it off your list, then tick it off again, and again, and again.
A two tank shark dive will cost around FJD$280plus FJD$20 levy for the reef and a FJD$10 fuel fee. If you wish to hire equipment this is FJD$30 for the day.