Friday, 14 December 2007

BULA (Part 4)

Before I start, please note attached are quite a few underwater photos taken by Hubby. My job for this day is to enjoy the dive and not to panic!

Day 4 12-11-2007

The activity for the day is the dives with Beqa Adventure Divers! We are doing shark dives!!!!

Beqa is located at Pacific Harbour. Taxi journey from Outrigger to Pacific Harbour is about 1.5 hours. Journey is rather tough as the road condition is bad. We had the dives booked on the 2nd day of arrival and requested them to organise the transport for us. Transport itself cost us $115 return.

It was after 0800 when we reach Beqa. We were the first to reach. After paying $200 each for 2 dives and verify our diving license, we proceeded to gather our gears. Honestly, I was rather impress with their gears + maintainance. Plus they are using top quality gears!

After all the stuff are being sorted out. We waited for everyone to arrive, settle down and most important the FOOD use for feeding! At the meantime, we started chatting with the crews + the famous feeder, Rusi! Even joke that the sharks are Rusi's pets and all has a name. Do you know Rusi had experience feeding the sharks with his mouth!!!!!

They have being feeding the sharks for 9 years now and they do not have a single incident! I was really impressed!!!! But at the same time I'm still very scared as I have no idea what is under the sea waiting for me. Yes, I have seem shark when I dive but only white tip and black tip sharks. They aren't really huge + just one of them either lying on the sand bed or swimming pass us.

The food finally arrive and the crews began sorting out the food and packing them into the bins. Load them onto the boat + secure the bins for the boat ride.

As we are all excited and ready to depart, we were requested to be patient as 1 of the japanese diver who had sign up forgot to have his diving licnese with him and they are in the mid of driving him back to his accommdation to get them. Lucky he doesn't stay as far as us! In the end, the japanese guy still can't find his license. Beqa decided that he won't be able to dive with us but they will still bring him out to sea with us to snorkel and watch the feeding at the top.

Bet he is super disappointed. Diving license is like a passport to the divers. Without it, you won't be able to dive. If you forgot to bring your gears, you will still easily able to rent it. But as for license, there is not way! Hubby and me always tend to constantly check to make sure either our license or log book is with us.

The food (fish head + bones) use to feed the fishes and sharks!

It was already 1000 when we finally depart! A total of 8 leisure divers + 8 crews ( 1 feeder, 1 videographer, 1 skipper, 1 delivery gal cum bodyguard and rest bodyguard). The maximun number of lesiure divers they bring per trip is 16. Once that number is reached, you will have to wait for the next day. We had our briefing during the journey. Being orientated how to position ourselves behind the wall, how to react if the fishes/shark come close to us, what will happen when the feeding start etc. Oops before I forget, I was impressed with their speed boat too! It's spacious for all of us + in very good condition.

When we arrived Shark Reef Marine Reserve, Giant Trevally are already there to welcome us.

Giant Trevally

Petero said they are starting to get impatient as they have not being eating for more than a day! The crew started to throw some food for the Trevally and you can see them fighting for it. It got us all excited and scared.

We all descend altogether and was guided to the viewing gallery/wall. We were line up side by side.

Hubby had such a good view of the sharks! As he is taking photos, the crew actually brought him nearing to the feeding area when they survey that the area is safe. The potota cod even mistaken his as food! Potato Cod "Oh WoW, I'm going to have a FEAST!". After the end of the dive, Hubby say he felt that he is in where all the actions are! He even felt a bit scare....HAHA.
Giant Trevally

Here comes the star!

Me at 17m on my 1st dive of the day

The world famous shark feeder, Rusi in his yellow hood at 17m!

Sharks! Sharks and more Sharks!

Bubbles, Bubbles, Bubbles. All the leisure divers all line up side by side at 5meters doing safety stop and at the same time viewing the sharks (see next photo for)! One stone kill two birds!!!

Sharks at 3-5 meters.

Throughout the whole dive time, Hubby wasn't beside me. He was at a good spot without bing blocked by other divers taking pictures and Petero is watch out for him. As for me, I'm just with the group, secure a good viewing spot and breath slowly and watch. Maximise the whole tank of air I have. In total we clock more 51mins for the 1st dive! It's really cool considering we stayed at 31meters for more than 15mins.

Hubby and me doing our surface interval after the 1st dive. We can't wait to go dive down again!

During the surface interval, Hubby asked Beqa is it possible for us to do 3 dives for the day instead? Since we will be finishing the 2nd dives at before 1300. Since I already spend more than hour travelling to Pacific Harbour and $115 for transport, we must make full use of it! The answer was if we manage to gather enough people, they are happy to orgainse another dive. We went asking around, the japanese can't do it as they already had program but the rest of us say YES immediatly! Petero was so surprised by immediate our response and agreeded. Suggested to bring us to the soft coral + wreck dive!!!

Wreck!!! I'm so happy when I heard it. Because I only did 1 wreck dive and that was in February, the Yongala. The Yongala was one of the best and well-known wreck but I was suffering throughout the whole trip due to sea-sickness. :(

After more than hour surface interval + to wait for the sharks to come, we are all geared up and ready for the 2nd dive. The purpose of the 1st dives is to actually create commotion under the sea so that huge sharks will swim over and check things out. That where the 2nd dives will come into play.

Me at 17meters, positioning at the viewing gallery/ wall during the 2nd dive. Waiting patiently for other species of sharks. Petero had Hubby station right beside him. It was a really good spot! You will see why I say that when you see the photos of the bull sharks.

The Potato Cod is back to look for my lover!

The best part! Bull Shark! Pregnant Bull Shark! It was so HUGE!!!! We were really lucky because it was actually the mating season for the sharks and Beqa told us we might not be able to see them. Did notice the sharks did not eat even when Rusi ahd actually brought the food right in front of them. Petero told us they notice the sharks doesn't eat during mating season and the female sharks are usually bruised with teeth marks on them after the mating season. Apparently the male will bite and hang onto the female during mating. The Bull Shark was practically right beside Hubby!

During the 2nd dive, Maria (she is really into photography!) as usual was taking photos. Beqa had assigned 1 of the crew to take care of her. Guard her, help her with her camera if require etc. Half way through, the crew got a bit side tracked and left Maria alone (she was in front of us). Petero saw it and went straight to the crew, took his metal rod and indicate he will take over to protect Maria. I was stunned for a minute. I felt that Maria was safe as we are all in a group, she is not isolated. Didn't realise they were so particular about safety! That how they manage to maintain their reputation with ZERO incident for the past 9 years and still running.

Me during my 2nd dive. No idea how many meters I am at but I will say most probably 5 meters doing my safety stop.

Once we finish our 2nd dives, Beqa bring the boat back to the main office. To drop off the other leisure divers who aren't joining us for the 3rd dives, to change the tanks and also for us to have lunch.

I will need to continue the 3rd dive in the next entry as I have not upload the photos. :-)

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