Ordinarily we wouldn't recommend the diving on the Coral Coast,
Viti Levu's touristy south coast. By Fijian standards
the diving is pretty second rate, and the vast majority
of the hotels there are large and anonymous. You could
But, an hour West of Suva lies Pacific Harbour, overlooking
Beqa Island to the south, and Kadavu beyond. Here, the
fringing reef, instead of hugging the shore line, stretches
across Pacific Harbour, forming a small barrier reef.
On the outer side of the reef, a mere 10 minutes from
shore, is world famous Shark Reef.
There is probably nowhere else in the world where you
can interact with so many species of shark at the same
time. The list is seemingly endless! Black tips, white
tips, grey reefs, lemons, silvertips, nurse, , bull
and tiger sharks all seem perfectly happy in each others'
presence. While all but the last two species are probably
easily classed as "harmless" (for want of
a better word!) bull and tigers sharks do have a nasty
reputation - and justifiably so. However, at Shark Reef
they seem only inquisitive, rather than overtly aggressive,
to humans. It is probably the fact that there is an
over abundance of food in the area that makes us humans
a poor option for a feast!
Shark Reef itself is tops out at about 40ft, and slopes
down in a series of ledges to a sand a coral rubble
bottom at about 110-120ft. Divers line up in a predesignated
area to have a commanding view down to where the dive
team feed the sharks. Photographers are usually allowed
to venture a little closer. The reef itself is typical
of the Coral Coast - boring! But you will notice the
swirls of jacks, barracuda, bass, snapper, grouper and
other fish that know divers mean a free meal ticket!
A deeper first dive to about 100ft is followed later
by a shallower dive to about 55-60ft.
The dive guides not only feed the sharks but also act
as look outs, and fend off over excited sharks that
often circle in from the back. They have long metal
sticks to prod sharks if needs be! The sharks are fed
in two different ways. Either a bucket of fish blood
and guts is opened en masse to induce a feeding
frenzy or larger tasty morcels are handed out individually
to the passing sharks. Shakr Reef is one of the few
places in the world where they hand feed bull sharkjs
and tiger sharks!
Some argue that feed sharks upsets the delicate balance
of the foodchain, and makes sharks assoicate divers
with food. They may be right to a certain extent, but
for photographers this is a unique opportunity to phoptgraph
so many species of sharks in one place.
While the smaller species such as white tips and grey
reef sharks tend to be around all year, the larger speicies,
particularly the bull and tiger shakrs are more seasonal.
In November and December the bull sharks head off into
deeper water to mate. They are rarely seen at this time,
and if they are, they tend to be smaller juveniles.
The tiger sharks are less commonly seen on a general
basis; once or twice a month is about average. Our opinion
is the best time to visit Shark Reef is January to May
or September & October.
We can provide a variety of accommodation for divers
wishing to see Shark Reef. If you are already staying
at Beqa Lagon Resort then we can arrange in advance
for one of there smaller dive boats to rendezvous with
the dive boat from Pacific Harbour at Shark Reef. For
information about Beqa Lagoon Resort, please click the
relevant link above.
For those who maybe just want a 3 or 4 night add-on
from say the Fiji Aggressor or one of the other resorts
in Fiji, then we would suggest a stay at the Pearl South
Pacific. Located on the beach at Pacific Harbour this
hotel has been recently updated to an exacting standard,
and offers superb accommodation and fine dining, plus
access to golf courses and the rainforest clad interior
of Viti Levu. Thr resort has garden or oceanview rooms,
a superb outdoor swimming pool, and a variety of eating
and drinking holes offering exceptional food. The dive
shop is located in the hotel grounds and it is a mere
10 minutes from the dock to Shark Reef.