Fiji Shark Diving with BEQA Adventure Divers, Pacific Harbour

Over the years, sharks have developed a reputation for being mindless, bloodthirsty killers that crave human flesh. So when we arrived in Fiji, we found that the BEQA Adventure Divers company in Pacific Harbour provided a diving excursion that would have you surrounded by full-grown bull sharks in the open water and without a cage!. I did the most sensible thing I could do in this situation: I took advantage of the opportunity and booked a dive to get up close and personal with these reputed fearsome creatures!

Some of you might be thinking that it sounds like a wee bit dangerous and truthfully, I think our group had a little angst about the dive. While there may always be some risk involving wild animals, our group was comforted by the fact that BEQA Diving Adventures has been operating for 19 years and they have never had a single incident. Whatever tension I may have had quickly into excitement as I was very eager to be the world of sharks!

Our group consisted of 11 divers: 6 BEQA divers and 5 regular divers. Normally, the company recommends having at least 50 dives since you will dive around 100 feet deep; however, as long as you’re comfortable with your diving skills, they will allow you to dive with supervision. I had never gone that deep prior and had only 12 dives under my belt but I had no issues during the dive.

For our first dive, we dove 100 feet to the seabed with some coral around us. Once we got to the bottom, we did not move from our spots and simply waited. At least 3 or 4 BEQA divers stayed near us with aluminum rods to push away any sharks that got too close, while the others set up or fed the bait with tuna heads. After 5 minutes, the first 2 or 3 sharks showed up, and they were massive thick-bodied sharks! Not long after that, more and more sharks started appearing, catching the scent of the bait and wanting to join in on the feeding. Before we knew it, we were surrounded by at least 30 adult sharks, each of them 8-10 feet long! You can see from the pictures how huge they look compared to the trash bin!

The sharks we observed during this part of the dive were bull sharks. These sharks are named for their broad, bulky bodies and for having unpredictable and aggressive behavior. They are one of the very few sharks that can survive in freshwater; because of this, baby bull sharks are born in freshwater environments which serve as natural protection from other saltwater predators. Like all shark species, bull sharks have amazing survival skills that have enabled them to survive for hundreds of millions of years.

Bull sharks are incredibly powerful too. Several times, a shark would swim above me and you could feel how much power they had when they propelled themselves through the water. Yet, they seemed to glide through the water without any effort, no doubt a quality of their perfectly designed bodies. I was in complete awe of seeing these creatures up close and being able to part of their environment.

Later in the dive, we moved up a reef wall and settled in a more shallow area around 30 feet deep and observed whitetip and blacktip reef sharks. Despite sharing similar names, they do differ in appearance; as their names suggest, you can figure out their species by looking at the tip of their fins to see what color they are. Whitetips also have more slender bodies and broad heads while blacktips have prototypical shark bodies. These sharks grow to only about 5 feet in length, so they’re generally harmless to humans, but proficient hunters in the reefs.

For our last dive, we went to a second spot that would again feature the bull sharks. This time, our area was a little more open and less reef around us. This meant that the sharks were more likely to swim really close in front and above us as they passed by and the BEQA divers would use their aluminum poles to push any away that got too close. 5 minutes after the bait was set up, the bull sharks appeared. (Depending on the season, tiger sharks will appear too, which grow up to 16 feet in length! We did not see any tiger sharks on these dives)

Once again, at least 30 bull sharks showed up and circled around us and the bait. I don’t know what the team’s definition of “too close” was but some of those sharks got REALLY close. In some cases, the sharks would approach 2 or 3 feet away from us and then swim directly above us, sometimes brushing our gear. One shark brushed against a diver’s face! However, I didn’t feel like I was in any danger during the dives, though I’m not sure if I can say the same for everyone else. In any case, it was simply spectacular to watch the sharks in their element.

Sharing the waters with these sharks reinforced several things I knew about sharks. These animals are not mindless or bloodthirsty killers but very intelligent creatures that only do what they do to survive. If you don’t bother them in their environment, then they’re very unlikely to bother you. (Sharks apparently also hate the sound of scuba gear.) And in instances where a shark does bite a human, they are due to curiosity or mistaken identity. This leads me to believe that as long as humans could appreciate and continue to understand these creatures, then they pose little threat to people and we can enjoy a co-existence.

Unfortunately, due to the bad reputation from bad press and little understanding of the species, sharks have become a public enemy and have paid a steep price. Last year, over 100 million sharks were killed with 73 million being used for shark fin soup in China and SE Asia. Many species of sharks are now facing endangerment due to severe overfishing, slow reproduction rates and loss of habitat. Sharks have existed for 450 million years but in only the last century, sharks now face the real possible threat of extinction. My hope is that, as we continue to learn and debunk the negative perceptions of the species, then we can save them so we can continue to enjoy them in their environment.

For more information about this dive if you’re visiting Fiji, visit the BEQA Adventure Divers website for more information. Be sure to check out our full video of our dive and if you think you might want to dive with sharks, be sure to also give us a Pin below! Happy shark diving!

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47 comments

  1. It’s exactly a year ago since we did this same dive, beginning our 9-month adventure in Fiji! Such an incredible experience and one we will remember for the rest of our lives. The force of the sharks caudal fin was incredible to feel underwater. Terrifyingly awesome!

  2. That would have been such an amazing experience! Logically I would have to agree that the fearsome reputation that sharks have as blood-thirsty man eaters is unwarranted and without factual basis. Nevertheless, when you right up next to them in their environment, I’m sure I would find it somewhat unnerving! Very interesting article and lovely photos. The video also has very impressive footage. Maybe one day I might give it a go (not promising!).

    1. Understandably, it would still be scary with these animals. All wild animals can be dangerous if not approached with caution. Interesting fact though: dogs and hippos kill people 10s to 100s higher rates than sharks.

  3. The underwater world is a surreal places with these sharks surrounded by. I believe the way you want to get to know more of the sharks and how you not get antsy among them even they are close made it to a very joyful experience. And I agree that sharks want to survive and they wont bother those who leave them alone. As long as you relaxed diving among them, you will be totally fine.

    1. Yes, sharks very misunderstood animals! If given the chance to observe them, we can see how amazing they are.

  4. Very beautiful pictures of shark and under ocean species. What kind of camera you were carrying and how did you manage to took so beautiful and surreal pictures. Very adventurous and water lovers would really like your blog.

    1. I used a Sony RX100 V with a Sony Underwater Camera Housing. The camera is a point and shoot camera but it’s very powerful! The housing is pretty amazing too. I will be doing a review soon

  5. Wow! What an amazing experience. Diving with sharks is one of the primary reasons I started to get my PADI certification. I haven’t completed it yet, but when I do, I would love to experience this for myself. It does seem scary, but I agree with you that sharks will mostly leave you alone if you leave them alone.

    1. You’ll be a good hands if you ever get to a shark dive! Even if not that, a lot of different worlds to see

  6. Wow this is definitely one of the most adventurous things I have read on a travel blog! You are absolutely right about sharks, bad reputation created by the film industry and myths. Despite this, I am not sure if I would be brave enough to do it, there is something very majestic about them. Well done to you, I am sure it’s a thrilling experience!

  7. Oh wow what an amazing experience. I’m a terrible swimmer so have never done scuba diving and have to live my love of diving vicariously through others. So thankyou for sharing such wonderful photos. I feel as if I was there too!

    1. My wife isn’t a good swimmer so it’s taking her time to get her PADI certification. But after seeing the video and photos, she was glad that she didn’t do it either 😀

  8. Wow, this looks incredible! I am fascinated by sharks. I only have 6 dives so far and I saw 4 sharks on my 2nd dive (Caribbean Reef Sharks – 3-5ft). I thought I would be scared but I wasn’t scared of them at all. I LOVED seeing them…they couldn’t have cared less that we were there. I hope to see some more on upcoming dives but I don’t know if I would be up for 30 bull sharks on a 100ft dive quite yet!! Nice photos, too!

  9. Omg no cage?! That’s so sad that over 100 million sharks have been killed last year. I’m a huge animal lover, so that realllly bothers me. And for shark fin soup..wtf?? UGH I hate when people kill and use animals for senseless reasons.

    1. Yeah, it’s terrible and the details behind making the soup are awful. I really hope this tradition ends soon

  10. I am not too sure if I would look forward to this kind of adventure. I was a bit scared looking at your photos and even more so after watching your video. It’s amazing to know that they are actually quite harmless. But still that does not take away the fear factor, haha.

  11. This is so cool and crazy! Your photos look awesome. I can’t believe you got that close to the sharks. Not going to lie, I was getting nervous while reading your blog post, but sounds awesome.

    1. My wife was definitely nervous looking at the video! I think she kept wondering if I would come back in one piece 😀

  12. Oh my god! This must have been an amazing experience for you. Look how close you got to the sharks and still manage to get fantastic photos! 🙂 I would love to try this 🙂

    1. I think a lot of people will have nerves initially but calmed down and enjoyed it after they showed up

  13. This was such an interesting read and the photos and video are breathtaking! That said, I don’t think I could ever do this and I don’t even consider myself a fearful person. 😀

  14. Wow – I would be way too scared to do this dive! It sounds like you had a great experience – I have heard that sometimes dive companies bait sharks towards dive sites – do you know if they partake in this in Fiji?

    1. Depends what you’re asking. If you mean “baiting,” like recent videos of dragging bait towards shark cages, then no. If you mean using bait/chum to attract the sharks, then yes, they do that.

  15. This looks absolutely amazing. I am going to Fiji later this year and would so love to do this but since I have never dived before think I best go for something not as scary lol. I wonder if they have a glass bottom boat or something so I can still see them.

  16. This must of been an incredible experience! Unfortunately I am not super comfortable when diving so I would hesitate to do this. I love snorkeling though, but even for that it takes a while to get used to the breathing. I love all the sea creatures you can see while doing it though. So many fish on your pictures! Wow!

  17. Wow! I do fully believe that sharks are misunderstood creatures! But like you said there’s always that risk. I’ve heard of animals that aren’t considered that wild, like dolphins, attack people. You just never know what they’re thinking. Anyway, this was such a cool experience I bet! I enjoyed reading it. I would like to try this someday!

  18. I haven’t tried diving yet, forget shark diving. To be honest the name itself gives me shivers. This must be a once in a lifetime kind of experience.

  19. This was an awesome opportunity that you experienced. It must be exhilarating! I know that sharks are okay but they have a bad reputation because of the movies. BEQA Adventure Divers is absolutely doing a great job in protecting the sharks. It is sad that shark fins are used in soups and dim sums in Southeast Asia. It should be stopped.

  20. I love scuba diving because of experiences like this! I’ve seen several sharks on my dives and they’re always incredible, breathtaking moments. I’ve never had any issues with them being aggressive, and I hope that continues on future dives. Gorgeous photos!

  21. I was watching your video and my heart stopped right at the beginning when they fed the short from his hand! What an incredible experience! I’ve only done shark cage diving, but maybe I an step it up!

  22. Wow! This is really cool! I might be too scared to do this but I do admire this kind of thing. I love all the sea life and snorkeling but this might be a little too much for me 🙂 I’m sure it’s an experience you will never forget!

  23. Wow.
    It was na amazing experience!!
    I also want to do it but I didn’t know that you go so deep, OMG.
    It’s really sad that they killed all those sharks last year.
    Great post!!

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