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Shark dive qualifications

London
Level Contributor
535 posts
6 reviews
Shark dive qualifications

Hi all

Hoping to come to Fiji next year and interested in doing the shark dive. I am PADI open Water qualified with currently about 15 dives under my belt. My partner is not yet qualified.

We want to dive in Fiji, so we are heading to Sharm El Sheik in June so that my partner can get his Open Water Qualification. I will be completing my Advanced Open Water while I'm there. So we will both be qualified divers, but neither of us particularly experienced and my partner will be quite new to it all.

Looks like some of the shark dives go down to 30m, so my partner wouldn't be qualified unless he did his Advanced Open Water on arrival in Fiji. However I have seen some shark dives which are 18m, so presumably Open Water divers can do those? Is there much of a difference in the experience between the two depths?

BAD says that want qualified dives down to 30m, around 30-40 dives with at least 5 deep dives. Neither of us will be able to meet that criteria. However, i have read reviews where people have done their Open Water qualification in Fiji then nipped off on a shark dive! So I am very confused.

What qualifications do you need for the shark dive? Are there some 'lesser' dives on offer at shallower depths for the less experienced diver? And if so, are these worth while? Do bull sharks and tiger sharks come up to 17/18m? or do you really need to go to 30m for the full experience? Is it safe for novice divers?

Any help appreciated :)

Reno, Nv
Destination Expert
for Matangi Island, Fiji
Level Contributor
5,975 posts
9 reviews
1. Re: Shark dive qualifications

Suggest contacting resorts you are interested in regarding, if they offer shark dives and for the qualifications required.

London
Level Contributor
535 posts
6 reviews
2. Re: Shark dive qualifications

Yeah thanks. I have dropped emails to both BAD and Aquatrek, I just wondered if anyone else had experienced this or knew of other options for novice divers

London
Level Contributor
535 posts
6 reviews
3. Re: Shark dive qualifications

Ok, posting in case this is help to anyone else. Aquatrek only require divers to be Open Water qualified, not Advanced. However they do recommend that divers have done at least ten dives first (I am clarifying whether this is post qualification or including the four Open Water training dives)

Alexandria VA
Level Contributor
74 posts
74 reviews
4. Re: Shark dive qualifications

If the dive outfits are stressing experience in number of dives/depth experience, there must be considerable reasons. Number one, if everyone has to descend/ascend as a group, is really stinks if the group has to surface early because someone sucks air and gets low when everyone else still has 1/2 tank of more. You need to have good buoyancy control as well. BTW, I've done just over 750 dives in less than 7 years, and I almost freaked when a small nurse shark suddenly came up to me on a dive this morning and bit on my dive computer! I didn't panic, and the shark let go (didn't like the taste, apparently) and swam off. You and your buddy should find some way to get in practice dives, even if this means diving in a lake or quarry. Or get to Fiji a few days ahead of time and get in some regular dives and training.

Edited: 04 October 2014, 03:34
Level Contributor
286 posts
61 reviews
5. Re: Shark dive qualifications

Hi choccie

I have done the dive with aquatrek beqa lagoon. There are multiple dive guides with you. I never felt unsafe the crew are amazing. The worst bit on our dive was getting to the decent line as there was some swell and surface current. There was a great number of bull sharks and grey nurses. In my experience the open water course dives are included in an account of diving experience. There are other sites with reef sharks in the mamanucas that are accessible for ow divers. I have a good Fijian friend who is dive instructor that helped set up the dive site. Here is my video of the dive http://youtu.be/fxJ9bJ8asOI If possible get some dive in fiji beforehand. The diving in fiji is very easy

Level Contributor
286 posts
61 reviews
6. Re: Shark dive qualifications

To add pretty much most of the dives in fiji are guided and the Fijians are pretty good at showing you around. The shark dives are pretty much descend, kneel behind the rope/wall, ascend, safety stop and then surface a very easy dive

London
Level Contributor
535 posts
6 reviews
7. Re: Shark dive qualifications

Hi everyone

Thanks for the updates, that's really helpful. We went to Sharm and my partner completed his Open Water. I completed my Advanced and Nitrox qualification. Sadly, he didn't get to do any extra dives beyond his Open Water as we were both struck down with horrendous stomach bugs and were too sick and tired to want to dive anymore :(

We are off to Florida in December and will be going snorkelling with manatees (excited!), so we're taking the opportunity to do some extra dives. We'll be doing a drift dive and a cavern dive while there (they know he's a novice). So that'll be two. Then he's going to see about trying to completed his Advanced in the UK, even if it means a cold dark quarry.

You made me worry about the air thing, I'm an air sucker!!! I always seem to use my air up faster than others, even when consciously trying to breath slowly. Although my Nitrox instructor managed to keep me down for 60 mins in the end, I was overweighted by about 4kg (my previous instructors recommendation), and once reduced, it made a huge difference to my air. My OH on the other hand, being the novice, doesn't seem to have that problem and kept surfacing with half a tank when others in his group ran out.

We're also going to do a few days diving in Fiji, before attempting the shark dive, to help us get back in the flow of things. Tbh, if my OH funds he's not confident enough after doing a few more dives, we'll skip the shark dive. Not the end of the world, but would be a nice opportunity if possible.

Level Contributor
286 posts
61 reviews
8. Re: Shark dive qualifications

Don't miss the dive whatever you do, its a must. When it comes to air there's nothing to worry about. I am an air sucker too and because you don't move you don't use air. And because your mind is distracted you use less air too. I tend to use more air when I'm thinking about it

London
Level Contributor
535 posts
6 reviews
9. Re: Shark dive qualifications

Thanks Daniel, yeah that's a good point about moving. I suppose the main reason they want divers with some experience is not because of the technicalities of the dive, just that they need you to be able to look after yourself. They are obviously concentrating on the sharks and I guess you can't just ascend in the middle of it all of a newbie diver starts to panic. Will we definitely aim to do it if possible.

Do you seen many sharks milling around ok other dives? Or do they only tend to pop out for the organised shark dive? I've never seen a shark and I'm ok with the shark dive because I'll be mentally psyched up to see them. I'm not scared or sharks but not sure how I'd react if one just popped out of the blue on a regular dive. Mind you, I was a bit apprehensive about seeing sharks in Sharm, then ended up really disappointed that I never saw one! So I think I'll be ok :) Such magnificent creatures, but they get such bad press that you can't help but have a little apprehension in the back of your mind.

Level Contributor
286 posts
61 reviews
10. Re: Shark dive qualifications

I've seen my fair share of reef sharks around but the only time if seen the big guys is on the shark dive. I remember my first encounter it was one of my first dives as a certified diver and I was on the boat with some experienced divers just off castaway island in fiji. While we were on the boat they decided we'd got to the dive site called the supermarket which I'd read was a popular shark site. This was before I understood that reef sharks were harmless. I freaked out a little but there weren't any to be seen. Then one popped out from under a ledge and swam away. I wanted to follow it but it was gone. They have never bothered me since and I'll happily follow them. as for the Bulls and nurses of beqa I'm happy to stay behind the rope. I think there was 5 guides with us on at beqa 2 feeding the Sharks and the rest watching and assisting from behind us. So if anybody was having issues there would be someone to take them up without ruining it for the other divers

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