Diving with sharks at Beqa Lagoon. At the end of March 2016, we visited Fiji, approximately a month after Cyclone Winston passed, which left serious consequences on the island of Vanua Levú and Taveuni. Investigating before the trip online I quickly discovered the famous shark diving in the Beqa area, south of Viti Levu, the main island of Fiji. In it you can see up to 7 different species of sharks.
I can’t help but mention that there is quite a bit of controversy over shark feeding. The operator that organizes this dive (has been doing it for 15 years) argues that thanks to feeding and that the area is protected from fishing, the shark population has increased, allowing scientists to better study their behavior. In addition, the amount of food that is provided is not significant for the needs of the current shark population, so their behavior is not being significantly altered. Controversy aside, I go on to tell how the experience was. The diving is organized by an operator called Aqua-Trek which performs the feeding. The rest of the operators in the area take you to the site at sea, where several boats gather at 9 in the morning. I did it with the Waidroka Bay Resort people, where we stayed, for which I will write a post later (excellent service and attention).
Diving with sharks
At the signal, the divers of all the boats jumped and went to the bottom where we were located behind a wall of rocks about 80cm high at 20 meters deep. In front of us, several chainmail divers opened huge buckets of food. At first, only a few fish appeared, but within a few minutes the whirlwind of sharks (I estimate more than 40 for sure …) and other species such as trevallies, remoras, groupers was so large that almost no light was visible from the surface. It was a frenzy of huge beasts that passed a few meters from where we were. If any shark got too close, there was a guide for every 3-4 people located behind our line carrying an aluminum pole with a circle at the tip. When touched with the rod in the trunk, the shark turned and left. In my case, my guide Sam had to do this several times since, apparently, my flashes when charging produce a sharp whistle that attracts them?
Once the feeding finished, all the divers returned to our boats to make an hour of surface time. On the second dive, I was lucky to be located a little further ahead to take photos, which was incredible.
Sharks and more sharks
Each dive lasted around 30 y 40 minutes. I was able to watch:
“Black tip sharks“
“White tip sharks“
“Tawny nurse sharks“
In the place a tiger shark is usually seen but that day it did not appear. They say that when he shows up, the rest of the sharks open up to let him through. Very nice experience, it is worth going to the south of Viti Levu to do this dive (and others that I will tell later).