Make 2017 a year of adventure! Join us in PNG for a dive trip you won't forget. Details in the comments!
Footage by our wonderful @lilian sassart who is guiding the PNG trip!Posted by Adreno Scuba Diving on Wednesday, December 21, 2016
If you say Beqa Lagoon to a scuba diver it’s synonymous with shark diving and the Pacific Island nation of Fiji.
Widely regarded as one of the best shark diving experiences anywhere in the world it’s a definite bucket list destination for divers everywhere.
As fortune would have it, this was also the destination for Adreno’s inaugural overseas Scuba trip. Four avid divers and myself, had the pleasure of being a part of this epic adventure.
The short flight from Sydney to Nadi goes by in the blink of an eye.
Arriving in Fiji to weather you’d expect from a tropical island nation, we were greeted by our shuttle bus at the Airport to ferry us to Uprising Resort at Pacific Harbour a short two hour trip (two hours in island time is closer to three or four).
The scenic drive down Fiji’s Coral Coast provided us with an incredible look at the diverse geography of this tiny Island nation.
The weeklong trip had two days of shark diving scheduled and one rest day (which turned into a third day of shark diving), interspersed with some reef diving.
The talk amongst the group from the beginning was about the shark diving, as this wasn’t scheduled until day two of the trip we had to wait 48hrs to satiate our thirst big hungry sharks. To compensate for the wait we had to make do with some ice cold Fiji bitter and a glorious tropical island sunset.
The coral diving on offer in Fiji was fantastic to say the least and was a refreshingly warm change from the cold water our group had been splashing around in back in Australia. There was an abundance of colourful soft corals and marine life throughout the dive sites, with Lionfish, Nudibranchs, Pufferfish and an array of other tropical fishes and marine life common throughout the South Pacific. The only thing unusually absent from dives I’ve done throughout the region was turtles, for which we only saw one the entire trip.
Each day of soft coral diving was never done on the same site, to which gave us an array of different diving with coral bommies pinnacles and even a wreck or two.
The sites visited were Glory Hole, Carpet Cove, Seven Sisters, Turtle Head, Shark Point and Joe’s Best. All Amazing site with a mixed range of visibility depending on the current of 10m to 30m with depth range of about the same and a balmy water temperature of 25 degrees.
The real highlight of the trip is the shark feeding dive at the aptly name dive site called “The Bistro”. Diving with Aqua Trek, there was never a hint of doubt or apprehension about the dive, as the friendly nature and calmness that the locals prepared for the dive helped assuage any doubts we might have had.
The Dive Site is only about a 15-20 minute boat ride from the dive shop, with a large open deck dive boat, with two wheelie bins lashed to the back giving of a smell that whilst repulsive to myself (who happened to have chosen the wrong seat and was right next to one), would evidently be a gourmet delicacy to the sharks we came all this way to dive with.
As the group prepared to dive, the guides from Aqua Trek, dumped the bins into the water. Instantly there was movement in the water. After a short briefing again from the guides and the crew, it was time to take the giant stride into the blue.
The dive site itself has been purposely modified by the locals over the years who have placed two rock walls in place for the divers to line up behind as two permanently secured bins in front of us are filled with tuna heads; while one of the bins from the boat is suspended mid water with chum dripping out to bring on the sharks and an array of fish, who opportunistically pick up what the sharks don’t eat.
The site is situated behind two large coral heads with two ship wrecks on the non-shark feeding side of the dive site which you swim around at the end of the shark dive.
The first thing we noticed when stepping into the water was the instant array of life. Immediately there were large 3 metre Tawny Nurse sharks harassing the guides for fish offal from the feeding bins; black tip reef sharks buzzing around, who were swiftly followed by Silvertip sharks. All this was happening as we descended the 22m metres to line up behind the rock wall and get ready for the show.
There is a definite hierarchy between the sharks with each relinquishing space as a bigger species join the show with the smaller sharks sitting on the edge hoping for some scraps to go unnoticed.
As the feeding got underway the Slivertip sharks were buzzing overhead coming in only a few feet above our heads. Their displays of bravado were short lived as the larger Sickle fin Lemon Sharks came in to join in on the action. By this time we’d been in the water for about 20 minutes and all of the smaller species seemed to dissipate from the central feeding area, as several very large 3.5m to 4m+ female bull sharks arrived.
Initially a little shy about coming in for a feed, it didn’t really take long for these big girls to get up close and personal coming with a couple of feet of us to snatch the Tuna heads out of the feeders hands.
They were coming in close enough to us that the sound of a 4m+ pregnant female Bull shark crushing through a Tuna head was easily audible in the water. The sheer spectacle of witnessing this had us all in awe. At the peak of the feeding we had between 10 and 15 large female bull sharks buzzing around and coming in to feed on the Tuna heads, whilst the other smaller species intermittently buzzed around us.
With all this happening the dive time goes quite quickly and before we knew it the first dive was over.
The rest of the shark dives progressed along these lines, over the next week. Each dive with these amazing creatures had the entire group captivated by how insignificant we are in terms of the ocean. By far and away one of the best diving experiences one could hope for.
The last day on or trip was supposed to be a rest day; but after realising we would easily clear our no fly time, we scheduled another shark dive for our rest day. Something any diver who has experienced Beqa Lagoon will attest to, diving with the sharks is addictive.
Our final night in Fiji was farewelled with the cultural night put on by the resort, with displays of traditional dance, a kava tasting and finally some fire twirling and an ice cold cocktail (whilst the cocktail is not necessarily a cultural thing, when you’re in the tropics having a drink with a mini umbrella poking out of the top is pretty much a necessity).
The next day was the short flight back to Australia, with the major accessory for the home flight being noise cancelling head phones (Fiji is a family friendly holiday destination).
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The Adreno 2016 Fiji Trip was run in conjunction with Allways Dive Expeditions.
When Diving in Pacific Harbour Fiji, we dived with Aqua Trek.