Thursday, May 28, 2009

Thanks Lill!

Diving with Sharks in Fiji

Posted by FiNS on Apr 22, 2009 in Blog, Destinations, Environment, Marine Life

We received this from Lill Haugen, who is a Norwegian photographer. She’s spending an extended time in Fiji diving with and photographing sharks, helping to establish an image inventory of individual sharks:

Meeting a live shark, face to face, during a dive sounds scary, doesn’t it? A lot of people would say yes…and many inexperienced divers fear sharks. I did too.

The first time I came across a small reef shark, I tried to swim away. Because it was a SHARK, and just the name creates fear in humans. But at the same time, I noticed that the shark desperately tried to get away from me! I was left fascinated and “hooked”, and after that every shark encounter has been magical, and deeply appreciated.

Fear of sharks comes from lack of knowledge…and the inaccurate man-eating image perpetuated by mass media over the years. Driving a car…or just sitting under a coconut-tree…is way more dangerous. However, you do need to treat sharks with respect, as even the most peaceful animal can harm you if harassed or cornered.

If you see a shark while diving, you are very lucky. They are disappearing from waters all over the world. Overfishing, especially due to the demand for shark fin soup, is eradicating sharks in our oceans.

Sharks are slow breeders and will not bounce back if overfished. Nobody knows what will happen to the oceans and marine ecosystems when the last shark has been killed and finned…but it will not be nice.

This is why divers from all over the world now seek out places to dive where they know there will be sharks. They already know that sharks are not mindless killers. Once you’ve met a shark underwater, you see that they are very cautious and intelligent creatures.

I took this picture of a three-metre bull shark on a designated shark dive in Fiji.

Bull shark at close quarters, on a dive in Fiji

Fiji is one of few places in the world where you can have the privilege of diving with these big sharks. On the famous shark dive in Beqa Lagoon, you might encounter up to eight different species of sharks on a single dive, from a small charming whitetip reef shark, to a large, majestic bull shark.

Shark Reef is a marine sanctuary, protected from fishing. Sharks are sacred to the people of Fiji and of Beqa. They believe in the protective powers of sharks, and they will not hurt any sharks.

The sharks here have never hurt any divers, although they easily could if they wanted to.

Sharing time with sharks on this dive is a great experience, and will alter whatever view you had on sharks forever.

For more information about the shark dive in Fiji, see the Beqa Adventure Divers website.

Editor's note: If you want to see more about what we do, check us out on this feature by MaiTV.
Thanks Lill, you rock - you may stay in the pit for as long as you like!


(Tiger)Lily said...

...JUST a pleasure Mike, and thanks to you too! Hope to be back in business in the pit in week or two (as soon as I get the replacement parts for my UW-camera...) :D

DaShark said...

Uh oh... (:

Nah, seriously, the pleasure is all ours! You've been a very good girl, and we love the pics!