Scuba diving with Bull Sharks off the Coral Coast of Fiji

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Its not often you wake up in a backpacker’s paradise, with the exciting prospect of ticking an item off of your Bucket List. This was my Sunday morning at Fiji Beachouse, a resort I planned to stay for 3 days, but ended up here for 3 weeks. I’d signed up for Shark Diving, not to be confused for cage diving with the fearsome Great White, but an open water feeding frenzy with Bull Sharks, the third shark on the list of most dangerous sharks in the world when it comes to human fatalities.

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There was little in the way of preparation, a short explanation to the dive sites and the depth, which at 25 metres was the deepest I’d been, this frightened me more than the sharks. The nervous anxiety soon turned into excitement as there’s nothing like a boat trip into the middle of the deep blue ocean, it had been a while since I had dived so I couldn’t wait. As we descended I was a little left behind the group as I returned to the boat to put more weights on my belt, and as I followed the group down a rope attached to a buoy I was simply concentrating on calming my nerves and not panicking.

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In truth, I was expecting Reef Sharks on this shark dive, and it wasn’t until I caught up with the group and lined up next to the others with my back to the coral, that I had a strange sixth sense of something over my left shoulder. It was at this point that I had one of the most terrifying encounters of my life, when I came face to face with the immense Bull Shark for the first time.

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For what felt like 5 minutes, the Bull Shark held my gaze, from 10 or so feet away, assessing whether we were food or not. I was petrified and frozen in time, only moving to reach my arm across to grab the guy next to me, but not breaking the stare. After what felt like a tense stand off, the shark quickly swam away and I felt the full force of its fin through the water. After turning to the man next to me, I saw the fear in his eyes and realised I’d just had possibly the most terrifying yet exhilarating encounters with nature of my life.

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There was a flurry of fish in front of us, and huge dustbins full of food, mostly fish carcass and fish heads. The guides would feed them straight to the Bull Sharks, who would patiently cruise round waiting their turn. Luckily for the guards who are only armed with protective gloves and a stick. We gave our camera to the guide, which is how we got the amazing footage in the video. Whilst there is an element of routine to the shark feeding, I couldn’t help but feel that this is still nature’s most revered predators in front of us, which makes me question how predictable they really are. The Bull shark can grow up to 13 feet in length, and in most human deaths the shark confuses us for common prey such as seals, thankfully that didn’t happen during our two dives.

During the experience I had a chance to fully appreciate how gracious and calculating the shark really is, every moved is premeditated, they really are impressive predators. Whilst the Bull Shark itself isn’t particularly endangered, we must do everything in our power to save sharks around the planet.

About the Author: Scott is founder and travel writer at Intrepid Escape, a site dedicated to documenting travel and adventure through video and photo. You can follow Scott on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Youtube.


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