Thursday, May 22, 2014

Best shark dive in the world?

We just got back from 2 weeks in Fiji, diving with Beqa Adventure Divers. The shark dive is billed as the "Best shark dive in the world". Now that's quite a bold statement. ...... so did they deliver?

For me, to be great, a shark diving operation doesn't just have to deliver awesome shark action, but also  provide education about the sharks they're diving with and be involved in conservation.

As for the shark action, did it live up to the billing? Look at these pictures and judge for yourself.

Did they come close? ...... well, there were still a couple of inches between the shark and my camera.

Too bad they didn't come close ;-)
Did we see a lot of sharks? ......well, there were a couple.

Can you spot the bull shark? ... can you?

Of course, after every dive, there is the boring safety stop. ...... well, maybe not so boring! There was some great action, with white- and black-tip reef sharks buzzing around us the entire time.

"World's best safety stop"

OK, so they delivered on the sharks, but what about the educational aspect and their involvement in conservation? During our surface interval, between shark dives, we had Ben, a marine biologist, tell us all we wanted to know about the bull sharks, their behavior and local migration. He counted the sharks on each dive and knows the sharks individually. They have a database with around 150 different sharks identified, very similar to our photo ID database of the great white sharks at Guadalupe Island.

Beqa Adventure Divers "BAD" bill themselves as a conservation company masquerading as a dive shop and they mean it. During our visit, Shark Diver has seen Projects Abroad go out on "BAD's" boats to conduct various research projects on the reefs on a daily basis. I personally also had the opportunity to tag along (pun intended) on a trip, trying to tag juvenile bull sharks and will write about that experience in a different blog. You can read about all the other conservation projects that "BAD" is involved with here. It's an impressive list!

So is it the best shark dive in the world? I have to admit that I'm partial to "my" great white sharks at Guadalupe Island, but overall I have to say, not only did they meet my expectations, they far exceeded them! We will definitely be back. Stay tuned for details.

Martin Graf
Shark Diver

About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at


Steve Eilenberg said...

hey martin,
those shots are amazing-breath-taking! please let us know if/when you plan a return visit!

marie & steve

Anonymous said...

We dove there about 4 years ago. It was amazing then and still looks like it is today! We got to see "Big" the '14 Tiger, which was amazing. She was so graceful and we got some awesome pics. I'm stoked to see that they are keeping that place going and continuing the conservation efforts. Healthier environment = more sharks/fish = way more divers!!!

Way to go!

pk24 said...

Great post Martin. It was pleasure meeting you in Fiji and sharing the shark dive experience. I'd like to suggest two additions to your criteria for a great shark dive / shark dive operator:

1) The dive/operator should help to demonstrate/validate the proposition that sharks are worth more alive then dead. This is related to your education criteria, but is aimed at policymakers and other stakeholders who are in a position to make decisions regarding shark protection. Good Shark Dive operators should collect and share data and other evidence to demonstrate the economic value and benefits that arise from shark conservation. More on this here:

2)A large share of the economic benefits arising from the Shark Dive should accrue either directly or indirectly to fishers and local communities. It means little to a local fisher, who is barely able to sustain his/her family, that protecting a shark, will generate more in tourism dollars than what he/she will get from the shark fins or meat. Whether through involving these communities in ecotourism, or convincing policymakers to commit to ues tax revenues from ecotourism to improve delivery of housing, education and healthcare to fisher communities.

How does the Fiji Shark Dive and Beqa Adventure Divers stack up against this expanded criteria? Still an A+ is my book!