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Pacific Harbour, Coral Coast

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 be anywhere!

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.




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