SSI x Edges of Earth: Diving with Fiji’s Bull Sharks

Venturing into the open ocean to dive with apex predators can be an intimidating prospect. To many, the idea may even seem a touch too adrenaline-fueled or reckless. Yet, to truly comprehend and value these fascinating and often misunderstood creatures, there are few methods as effective as diving with bull sharks. 

Diving with sharks provides an experience that can be transformative. It allows you to see firsthand how these predators navigate their domain; to witness their place within the complex web of marine ecosystems and to fully see their true nature, which differs significantly from stereotypes imprinted by popular media.

By witnessing how sharks interact with other species—the symbiosis and the struggle—we can gain a profound appreciation for them. It enables us to view sharks not as cold-blooded monsters, but as critical players in our world’s biodiversity.

Beyond Jaws – An intimate encounter with bull sharks.

However, diving with sharks is not for the faint-hearted. For those willing to embrace the challenge, the reward is certainly worth it. From a heightened understanding of marine biology to discarding preconceived notions, diving with these top predators can open our eyes to different perspectives.

This experience enables us to get just a little bit closer to their world, connecting us even if it is just ever so slightly. And that shred of closeness is what encourages conservation efforts, and challenges long-held beliefs about these majestic creatures. After all, understanding sharks is the first step to cohabitation, which is critical to humankind’s survival. 

Want to learn how to dive safely with sharks? Become an SSI Shark Ecology Diver.

That’s why the Edges of Earth expedition took us to Fiji. Home to one of the richest diversity of sharks on the planet, Fijian waters are alive with these enigmatic predators—from the nimble reef shark to the imposing tiger shark. 

Why does this cluster of tiny islands in the vast Pacific Ocean host such an extraordinary congregation of sharks? The answer lies within the unique convergence of warm tropical currents, active marine ecosystems, and stringent conservation efforts that have turned this island nation into a sanctuary zone. 

These currents carry with them a profusion of nutrients, which makes this ocean rich with marine life. The resultant biodiversity creates a complex food web, the top of which is patrolled by an array of shark species.

The best place to have shark encounters in Fiji is Pacific Harbour, on the south side of the mainland, Viti Levu. This is where we had the opportunity to learn more about these sharky waters.

Visiting the Shark Reef Marine Reserve.

The Shark Reef Marine Reserve is a protected marine area dedicated to shark conservation efforts. It’s a life-changing experience, with encounters leaving an indelible mark on those fortunate enough to witness it. One individual, in particular, had a profound bull shark encounter that hooked them, inspiring them to leave their previous life behind and contribute to shark conservation.

This person’s first bull shark encounter was with a large female that came to take a slow, long look. When their eyes locked, the observer knew their fate had been decided. Today, the Shark Reef Marine Reserve stands as one of the most sought-after places in the world to go diving with bull sharks, offering a multi-level dive site with not just bull sharks, but also tiger sharks, grey reef sharks, and plenty of whitetip reef sharks in the shallows.

RELATED: Diving Fiji: The World’s Most Colourful Coral Reefs.

The only way to ensure that the Shark Reef Marine Reserve can be a successful shark sanctuary long-term is through ongoing research and active poaching patrols. The team regularly runs these shifts day and night to deter or catch poachers. Current research delves into the social network of the bull shark population, with the hope that the results will be used to shape fishing regulations and facilitate the creation of new protected marine spaces.

There is a profound sense of tranquility and awe that comes from sharing the water with sharks. It is an experience that feels simultaneously humbling and empowering. Far from the sensationalized visuals we often see, diving with sharks is serene and calm. They glide effortlessly through the water, a seamless blend of power and grace, reminding us of the balance that must exist in nature.

Love whale sharks? Then check out: Diving With Whale Sharks - All You Need to Know

Our dives were not about tempting fate or seeking adrenaline. It was about education and empathy. It was about witnessing a misunderstood species in its natural habitat and gaining an appreciation for its importance in maintaining the health of the oceans.

Bringing us so close to bull sharks, we were able to see that they are intelligent beings with their own social structures and survival tactics. We were simply privileged guests in their underwater realm, learning to seamlessly navigate it.

It was easier for us to comprehend a peaceful coexistence between humans and sharks after these dives. This coexistence is critical for our shared future, which is complicated to understand without seeing it first-hand.

If you are curious about sharks, we urge you to go diving in Fiji with bull sharks. Go beneath the surface and see for yourself the beauty of these sharks in the wild. This experience is more than just a dive. It is an opportunity to contribute to conservation efforts that protect sharks for generations to come. It is a step towards understanding our blue planet more deeply.

Our fears should not guide us but rather should challenge us to learn, understand, and grow. Sometimes, they take us on the most unforgettable journeys and into the depths to meet bull sharks.

Let us embrace these experiences for what they truly are—pathways to enlightenment, empowerment, and much-needed changes in perspective.


Andi Cross is an SSI Ambassador and lead of the Edges of Earth expedition, highlighting stories of positive ocean progress and how to explore the world more consciously. To keep up with the expedition, follow the team on InstagramLinkedInTikTokYouTube and their website