It is a little after 8.30am on a rainy Wednesday morning as we make our way through the Qara-ni Qio river in Pacific Harbour and out to sea, our destination - Shark Reef, Fiji if not the world’s only marine reserve for sharks.
We are on board the Predator, a state-of-the-art 10m-hydrofoil catamaran dive vessel belonging to Beqa Adventure Divers, a dive company, which offers tourist divers the rare opportunity to dive with various species of sharks at Shark Reef.
On board with me is our photographer Avikash Chand, four nervous yet eager tourist divers, dive operations manager Andrew Cumming and other experienced divers that work for Beqa Adventure Divers.
The Predator we are informed by charismatic staff diver Manasa is specifically designed for diving and is able to reach speeds of up to 50 knots.
“It’s a good boat,” he says proudly.
Manasa is one of the most experienced divers with the company and along with fellow staff diver Rusi has made over 25,000 shark dives throughout their diving career.
The two have been diving most of lives and know the water like they do their backyard.
Along the way Manasa advises the tourist divers what to do once we reach to the dive site and briefs them on the specifics of the dive.
He is very thorough and takes his time to answer the tourist divers queries.
As I listen to the details of the dive, I’m somewhat relieved by the fact that I’m not joining them for the dive. Jumping into shark-infested waters just didn’t seem like a very wise thing to do.
Not that I wouldn’t have if I were a certified underwater diver.
The journey to Shark Reef is a bit rough due to the dreadful weather but we get there without a hitch within minutes.
Suddenly the vessel comes to a halt and the anchor is dropped.
The staff divers begin throwing large chunks of fish out into the sea fish to attract the sharks.
Surely enough within seconds the sharks surround the vessel and the feeding frenzy begins. Manasa tells me that this is nothing compared to what it would be like underwater.
There is excitement amongst the tourist divers as they don their diving gear and get ready to jump overboard.
Staff diver Aminiasi is one of the shark feeders and is first to get into the water with a tube full of fish to feed the sharks.
In his right hand he wears a steal chain glove, which I’m surprised to learn later is not for protection against the sharks but against...