Today was a big day; it was our first shark dive!! After an early morning and a filling breakfast, we made our way to Beqa Adventure Divers, and headed out to the Shark Reef Marine Reserve. There, we got all suited up and headed down for the first dive of the day. We first made our way down to 95 feet and saw our first feeding, the bull sharks! 38 bull sharks surrounded the feeders as we watched only a few feet away. When we came up, we learned a few of the names of these bull sharks. There was crook (with a crooked mouth), Joker (with a scar on the side of his mouth, curving upward), and coke (who had a white line above her snout) to name a few. We also saw a beautiful big Humphead Wrasse swimming along all the diverse fish at that site.
After about 15 minutes at 95 feet, we moved up to the next part of the shark dive, we moved up to about 45 feet, where we met the Grey Reef Sharks and The White-tip Reef sharks. Papa (one of the dive masters and original members of Beqa Adventure Divers) expertly hand-fed these sharks, as they swam inches away from our masks. As if that wasn’t amazing enough, we made our final stop at 30 feet, where we met the kittens of the sea, the White-tip Reef Sharks and Black-Tip Reef Sharks that felt comfortable winding in and out of our legs, brushing our and knocking our masks.
After a boisterous safety stop, we rushed back onto the boat to talk about our amazing first dive and to enjoy some delicious tea and coconut cookies. After about an hour surface interval, we excitedly rushed back into the water, anxious to see what new friends we would meet down there next. This dive was different from the first; we spent the entire time at 50 feet watching the dive masters hand feed the bull sharks. Once we reached the wall at 50 feet, we all carefully lay down on the ocean floor and watched the spectacle unfold before us. This time, the food was fed right above us, (sometimes dropping tuna heads just in front of our faces), so the bull sharks felt comfortable cozying up near us. We knew there was no danger, after watching the dive masters comfortably hand-feed the sharks with no hesitation. There is no other feeling than like having these amazing, large, creatures just a few feet from your face, sometimes hitting your mask. Unfortunately, we had to return to the surface. The entire boat ride back, we just could not believe what we had just experienced, and began to think about our dive tomorrow would be like.
After returning home for some refreshing showers and a filling lunch, we had time to work on our journals before heading on over to Art’s Village! This trip was a chance for us to buy our own traditional Fijian sulus. After everyone found the sulu that spoke to them, we bought delicious snacks of our choice at the little supermarket there, and then headed over to a restaurant where we could find Wi-Fi, and relaxed there for a few minutes before we had to head back to the bus. Once we returned to the house we put away our snacks and then sat down for our first riveting shark lecture! Although it was a lot of interesting information to take in, we learned all about the natural history of sharks and we know that even more fun shark information is on our way. Finally, Group A (The Thresher Sharks) cooked up some leftovers for a delicious dinner and we settled down for a mostly glum-free dinner and continued to work on our next journals. This day was the start to a whole new world of sharks! Peace out! — Trinity and Patrick