We initiated the shark encounter as a way to educate divers about sharks and the problems they face. As much as 80 percent of some shark species have been wiped out in the last 10 years by fishing and consumption of shark meat and shark products. Furthermore, the media has contributed to damaging their reputation by over - publicizing shark incidents. Sharks play a crucial role in the oceans ecological system and the more people know about them, the more advocates they will have in the fight for their survival. Since we began offering the shark encounter, the Fijian village that holds customary fishing rights to the area has agreed to protect the site and turn it into a marine park with an entry fee that goes back to the protecting village.
Aqua-Trek shark encounter is one of the most exciting, rewarding, and educational experiences offered in the sport of diving. Recent shark specials on television have contributed to disproving the theory that sharks are just mindless eating machines, and people now travel the world to dive with and photograph sharks. We are offering you the opportunity to dive with these magnificent creatures. Divers can see for themselves why sharks should be more respected than feared. Repeat divers learn more about them each dive, but never fail to be humbled by their presence. The shark dive takes place on the mainland side of Beqa Passage. The dive depth is 80 feet (25 meters), and lasts about 20 minutes. Divers are not in a cage, but situated on the reef around the perimeter of the dive site. A bin of discarded fish from a local factory is brought down and left for the fish to feed on while divers observe.
How safe is our shark dive? The answer is that no dive involving sharks is guaranteed safe. The safety record associated with shark dives is exceptional. "In 30 years, some 500,000 divers have made shark dives without a fatality", according to Jim Abernethy, owner of a scuba-diving company in Palm Beach, Florida. "Shark dives are a wonderful tool, they provide people with first-hand knowledge of what the species is all about. We are teaching people that sharks are beautiful creatures that need to be protected". Sharks are unpredictable animals, but they are also very smart and can differentiate between you and the bait. Because feeding dives are more controlled and supervised by the operators, it is said that these dives are actually safer than your typical open water dive. No-one has ever been hurt over the years on our shark encounter.
"I dove Beqa Lagoon with Aquatrek, a first-rate PADI facility with a friendly staff, a beautiful dive boat, and safety-conscious dive masters. Aquatrek took us first to Sharkfin Reef for an unforgettable large-fish encounter. We went down to 90ft ... As we watched from a safe perch behind rocks, the dive masters poured out the cut-up fish to feed the hundreds of waiting fish. Giant trevallies circled and gobbled up the chum, and it only took moments for eight large resident sharks to show up and put on the show of a lifetime just a few feet in front of us. The biggest shark was a 10½ ft bullshark! Another was nearly as big. And the rest were all bigger than I! They circled and swooped and gobbled enormous fish chunks. You simply cannot appreciate the excitement ... you have to get suited up, dive with experts, and see it first-hand. Even the divers who were scared at first loved it!" Joseph Ross
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