Fiji Shark Dive: Beqa Island
|Following the food bin|
|No one know he is there but me: Bull Shark|
|A bull cruises close in front|
I was a little worried about my ears not clearing properly on the dive we did the day before. So I tried every trick in the book from taking sudafed, to drinking lots of tea and water, getting a good nights sleep, and even putting Mentholatum up my nose. We all jumped in the water excited to see some sharks and I promptly descended to 14ft before my ears stopped equalizing. This was not a good start.
Luckily the guides knew me to be an experienced dive master so they didn't hesitate to take the rest of the group down to the feeding site and leave me to try and slowly make my way down. After 20 minutes of checking out a few remoras that were swimming near the surface I slowly started to be able to descend. My right ear never equalized but by going very slowly I sank deeper towards the site.
I was just beginning to make out the line of divers and the swirling mass of fish when I heard the tell tale clanking signalling the end of the feed. I hoped that the boys saw some cool sharks and tagged along with the group as they ascended past me. I was pretty bummed but we did go by a cool shipwreck on the way back to the boat and I thought I may have seen a bull shark from far off. But still pretty bummed. The shark dive I'de heard so much about, so close, yet just out of reach. I expected the second dive to be even worse.
I took another sudafed kindly supplied by one of the managers. It is a decongestant that can temporarily alleviate the symptoms of congestion which plague scuba divers trying to equalize. The real kicker came when Paul let me jump in and descend before everyone else. Just in case my ears acted up again I might have time to descend like last time after awhile.
I promptly descended to 13ft. This was going to be tough but it was my last chance. The group shows up about 5 minutes later and swims down to a spot about 65 feet deep. As I hovered over the same coral head I spent the majority of the first dive I willed my ear to equalize. It never did. But I was able to get lower and lower until all of a sudden I was there! I picked my place in line and started to experience the Beqa shark dive! Luckily this one lasted longer than the first. I saw white tip sharks and grey sharks swimming around the outskirts of the fish tornado. Tawny nurse sharks hovered over the sand. Ragged tooth sharks and a few very big bull sharks circled until appearing from the middle of the tornado to snatch a tuna head. Free swimming remoras, the fish that suck onto sharks, were everywhere as well as a lone great barracuda and a massive grouper who was surrounded by tiny schooling yellow fish.
|Got the shot: Bull shark about to chomp|
So we are looking and I have my hand on the shutter button when I see the biggest bull shark turn towards us. I start snapping pictures in rapid fire hoping to get the moment when the shark opens its mouth. It all happens so fast that I don't even know if I got the picture until back at the resort.
|Emerging from the tornado|
|7ft Nurse Shark|
|Keeping a close eye on me|