Bull Shark (Carcharhinus leucas) – Beqa Lagoon, Fiji
Diving with Bull Sharks without a cage? Sounds crazy… and amazing! While I was in Fiji, I got to experience the amazing shark dive with Aqua Trek. The experience consisted of two dives, both which were saturated with at least 5 different species of sharks. The most prominent, and the most talked about was the bull shark. It was hard to tell exactly how many of them were there, but looking back at photos, I counted at least 8-9 in one shot. When you descend, you are instructed to follow the divemaster down to 80 feet and line up along a stone wall and stay there.
A large can is filled with fish “snacks” to attract the sharks. I know there are mixed feelings about shark feedings, but when we asked about that, we were assured they do it far enough away from shore and the general public for the sharks not to go looking for more. They also don’t feed them anywhere near enough that the sharks would start depending on the feedings and stop hunting on their own. They just are giving “snacks”. They had not had any incidents as a result of their feedings in the 15 years of doing business either. I was lucky enough to get pulled into the shark pit with one of the shark handlers to come face to face with these very large and insanely beautiful sharks. Yes my heart was racing the whole time and yes I also couldn’t wipe the stupid grin off my face at the same time!
As photographers, we were warned to stay alert because sometimes the bulls think the flash of our strobes is the flash of fish scales and possibly a tasty snack. Um yea… that’s 100% true…
Some fun facts about Bull sharks. They are one of the few shark species that can be in both salt and fresh water. Males can get up to 7 ft and females up to 11.5 feet! They get their name from blunt snout, tendency to head butt their prey, and be… well a “bully”. 😀
Bull sharks are often considered to be the most dangerous sharks to humans, because of their aggressive tendencies and ability to migrate up rivers. However, shark attacks are extremely rare. In a typical year, fewer than 20 people die by shark attack, but over 20 million sharks die in relation to the fishing industry.