Diving with bull and tiger sharks off Beqa Island

Nature
The wow factor for nature - does it show nature at its best? Doesn't need to be the wilder-beast migration or diving with hundreds of hammerheads. Rather make you pause as you realise just how awesome the natural world can be
10
Culture
How much does this experience showcase some of the better and finer things that us humans can offer? Sure, it can be ancient ruins and renaissance churches, but it can also be festivals or soaking up some of the great modern cities of the world
1
Fun factor/activity
Very simple - was it fun? This is usually linked in with doing some kind of activity - i mean, walking along some cliffs is nice, but paragliding from them, now that is fun. Its a vastly underrated factor in a truly great experience
9
Avoid the crowds
Big tour groups and being surrounded by loud fellow tourists can sap the life out of even the greatest of travel experiences. This score is to reflect just how much you can avoid this. But. . . The score also takes into account if the crowds actually add to the experience, such as with a party town or a bustling food market
6
World famous
How world famous is the experience?
3
unique
How hard is it to have a similar experience in other places round the world?
10
Overall Score
The highest score of nature or culture, + fun factor, + avoid the crowds, + the highest score of world famous or unique. Then turned into a score out of 100. More details at the bottom of the page
87 *What the scores mean and where do they come from
continent
Oceania
country
Fiji
Length of time
1 day or less
Rough cost
Obviously people have different tastes, so this will depend on those tastes, but this is a rough idea of price of the whole experience based on 2 people able to split the accommodation costs and excluding travel there and back
$ 200
Time of year visited
July
Primary Tags
Click on any of the tags to see all travel experiences with the same tag
RANKING
How this travel experience ranks compared to all the other experiences on this site
6th/359 This travel experience's ranking compared to all the other experiences on this site
Top 5% SUMMARY RATING: Unmissable

Summary

Maybe don’t watch Jaws before you try this!  Unforgettable, thrilling and scary.  People regularly go diving with sharks – reef sharks, nurse sharks, lemon sharks, maybe some hammerheads – but to do so with Tiger Sharks and Bull Sharks . . . not in a cage . . . is unique and, at times, proper poo in your wet suit stuff.  A truly fantastic, if slightly risky, experience

 

To do it or not to – firstly, if you are at all a nervous diver, don’t do this.  The sharks can get very close and the potential for you either getting so scared you don’t have a pleasant experience, or having a freak out, don’t make it worth it.  But secondly, in deciding whether or not to do something like this, there is also the moral consideration.  We hadn’t really thought about this before the dive as we didn’t realise quite how much of a close encounter it was going to be (someone really is one day going to be seriously hurt doing this) and also, rather naively, that there was going to be chumming (they added something like 10 tuna heads from a container underwater, which changes the behaviour of the sharks).  For sure there are other benefits to be considered, such as the employment provided (the community on Beqa Island is a environmentally friendly one and is heavily  supported by the diving) and the generation of funds that helps protect the area, but its worth weighing these up in your decision

highlights

#1 Seeing for yourself the giant Tiger Sharks up close as they dominate the water around you

#2 Almost forgetting about the Bull Sharks!

#3 Getting up close and eye-to-eye with the Tiger Sharks as they come closer and closer to check you out. A unique experience

#4 The beautiful areas surrounding Beqa Island and being followed on the boat home by playing dolphins

#5 The more chilled out parts of the day in your other two dives

#6 Seeing some of the huge Cleaner Fish - "huge " being relative on a day like this

Travel Tips

  • Pacific Harbour or Beqa Island – you set off on your dive either from Pacific Harbour, or through one of the two resorts on Beqa Island itself.  We ended up staying in the Beqa Lagoon Resort, which was nice and had a great vibe for people to all share their shark diving experiences.  If only have a day, or even one night, I think best to just set off from Pacific Harbour
  • Timings – the Shark feeding (which leads to a dramatic difference in the number of sharks) is only on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays
  • Diving details – we dived for 2 days, with 2 dives per day (although the US$200 is for the one day with the shark feeding):
    • The Cathedral at 21m – we visited this three times.  First time we saw very little other than shark teeth, and then the other two were when we saw the tigers and bulls
    • Carpet Cove at 20m – very nice reef dive
  • 2 week itinerary for Fiji, Tonga and Samoa – the shark diving was just one experience amongst many unforgettable ones on a 2 week trip we did through Tonga, Fiji and Samoa.  Have a look  at the travel entry – 2 weeks for Fiji, Tonga and Samoa – for the highlights and tips on how to get the best out of 2 weeks in this part of the world

Experiences nearby

The below map shows experiences nearby with a colour that reflect the Overall Score of those experiences

Score Detail

Background - how many times have you asked someone what a travel experience was like and the response was "amazing" or "awesome"?  That response is nice to know, but it makes it hard to differentiate that experience compared to others.  That is exactly what these scores are trying to do - differentiate the experience by giving a score out of 10 based on 6 categories and then giving an overall experience score

This overall experience score is calculated by:  take the highest of the "Culture" or "Nature" score (1-10) + "Fun factor" (1-10) + "Avoiding the crowds" (1-10) + highest of the "Unique" or "World Famous score" (1-10).  Then convert into a score out of 100

Extra detail - the logic being that I find all of the 6 individual scores important, but I don't want to mark an experience down just because it doesn't cover both "Culture" and "Nature", or because it isn't both "World Famous" and "Unique".  Take the examples of Safari in The Serengeti and walking through Rome - they both appeal at opposite ends of the nature / culture spectrum, and you can have a fantastic time without needing to appeal to both sides.  So, their overall scores aren't penalized for their lack of one or the other, and I've done the same for "World Famous" vs "Unique".  But . . . I do think that the "Fun factor" of an experience is important, irrelevant of other factors, and so is "Avoiding the Crowds" (or where there are crowds that add to the experience).  So, both of these scores are standalone