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“The mixture of shark diving, soft coral diving and cultural experiences was perfect. The academics were challenging and a lot of learning that was nothing short of worth it! This is one of Broadreach’s best trips!” Katie, high school alumna
Three natural science credits available through Lesley University.
Course description: This course surveys natural history, biology, behavior, ecological and social importance, threats and conservation of sharks. Coursework consists of both academic discussions and hands-on field research, examining local shark species and global populations.
One PADI scuba certification available: PADI Advanced Open Water Diver.
Eight hours of service learning through projects dedicated to data collection and maintenance projects.
As you land in Fiji, the magnificent vistas barely prepare you for the adventure ahead. Eager to get in the water, head to Pacific Harbour for an orientation and introduction to the Shark Reef Marine Reserve, recently established to protect and study the resident population of sharks, and in turn aid in the long-term conservation of sharks worldwide. Awe-inspiring dives offer Broadreach students and researchers unique opportunities to watch these amazing creatures in their natural habitat.
You continue to explore the underwater ecosystem of Fiji as you glide through coral-filled reefs brimming with fish life. On land, develop a deeper understanding of shark behavior so you can practice identifying their body language and other natural behaviors. Under water, collect and input data on resident sharks, noting how many species of sharks you see on dives, the male to female ratio and which members of the named population showed up. Begin to identify the resident sharks by name – Hook, Crook, Big Mamma, Lindsay (named after a Broadreach instructor) and Blackbeard – and perhaps have the chance to name one yourself! Learn about the relationship between the Shark Reef Marine Reserve and local villages and how the project overcame challenges to create a successful balance between shark conservation, dive tourism, the interests of village fishermen, the local economy and the government.
After a warm welcome and formal introduction to the chief by the village spokesman, partake in a traditional kava ceremony and feast at a traditional lovo while listening to locals tell stories of the ancient Shark God, the fierce Dakuwaqa. Take part in meke, traditional Fijian singing and dancing, and soak in the rich cultural experience. Learn about village pastimes such as cooking, weaving and dancing. Play games with the local children and give back to this beautiful place by assisting with a service learning project. Later, venture to the Fijian capital of Suva, with its museums and vibrant markets, and immerse yourself in this unique culture.
Back at the Shark Reef Marine Reserve, continue your shark studies as you compile, summarize and discuss surveys and field research for your final project. Talk about the role of sharks in the food chain and how they are critical to ocean ecosystems. Examine the negative impact of longline fishing, as well as the misrepresentation of sharks from Hollywood movies to folktales and myths. Take a break from shark diving and enjoy the vibrant reef life Fiji has to offer: soft coral dives in the Beqa Lagoon abound with more than 250 species of fish from tiny critters to large pelagics. Encounter blue ribbon eel, lionfish, jacks, giant groupers, octopus and scorpionfish on unforgettable dives!
Complete your trip with a visit to a river village and a whitewater journey down the Lower Navua River on an inflatable kayak. The rapids cascade down a stunning canyon lined with black lava rock, vibrant jungle and dazzling waterfalls. A feast on your final night gives you the opportunity to celebrate all you have learned and experienced on this extraordinary South Pacific adventure.