Fiji Shark Studies — Saturday, July 13, 2019

"THE UNTAMED BEAUTY OF OVER THIRTY FULLY GROWN BULL SHARKS..."

This Saturday was an extremely fun, memorable, and exciting day for everyone. The main activity was our shark dives, which were awaited eagerly by Ivy, Charley, and Philip. We woke up around 6:30 in order to eat breakfast, get changed, and be at the dive shop by 7:30. While on the boat we were briefed by several different members of Beqa Adventure Divers as to the exact structure of our two dives. For the first dive we swam down to a steep 96 feet to a viewing area. There, we were overtaken by the untamed beauty one should feel when observing over thirty fully grown Bull Sharks. The Beqa divers kept them in line with metal rods but the power these creatures possessed was unmistakable for everyone in the water. A trash can filled with tuna induced a frenzy that especially captivated those close to the action like Cedar and Alex.

Still supercharged with excitement, we continued the dive by moving to the second viewing spot where the commotion only increased. Instead of Bull Sharks, we were blown away by the endless stream of Whitetip and Grey Reef Sharks. Feet away however, Ryan and Noah were alerted by Laura to presence of a large Moray Eel that had become curious of the divers. Much to their surprise, one of the dive leaders began to pet the Moray and feed it scraps of fish. After finally surfacing and clambering onto the boat, we were treated to tea, cookies, and the Fijian hospitality we have grown to love. Ben, one of Beqa's marine biologists, gave an extremely engaging and fascinating lecture on the importance of the Shark Reef Marine Reserve and conservation in general. Before we knew it, we were back in the water at the next dive spot where the sharks were fed in different fashion. Here, the tuna heads are dropped right in front of the divers and sharks are known to give a few love taps to their audience. This phenomenon was warmly experienced by Jordan, Mia, and Morgan who report that the slight bumps did nothing to deter their enjoyment of the dive. Some of us were even lucky enough to find their own shark teeth! Before we knew it, we were on the boat coasting back to the villa, still in awe from out first shark dive.

It was only 12:30 by the time the group returned to the villa and they quickly sought out the extra time to complete their journals for the day. Their hardwork was only disrupted when Nani from the dive shop arrived with delicious pumpkin curry wraps and fresh fruit for lunch. Following our meal, we participated in a lesson from Mugdha focused on the specific anatomy, taxonomy, and history of Sharks and their ancestors. Cedar surprised many of us, including Mugdha, with his seemingly limitless knowledge of the sharks we mentioned during the lesson. As we concluded, Maggie and Nicole created a detailed plan of attack for the upcoming dinner. Those without as developed culinary skills, such as Ryan, Mia, and Jordan, were happy to help prepare the meal as Laura supervised and occasionally helped us turn off the smoke alarm. After investing blood, sweat, and tears into our culinary masterpiece, the group gathered around the table and chowed down on chicken and pork schnitzel, green beans, and mashed potatoes. Five star reviews were given by Alex and Charley and much praise was given to the cooking staff. With full stomachs and visions of Bull Sharks dancing in their heads, everyone settled in for the night and awaited whatever tomorrow would bring them.

Ryan
Leader of the Day