Heading to Barefoot Kuata in the Yasawas in Fiji was terribly exciting. We had heard the stories of shark dives and snorkels and that this pretty little island was nestled in the midst of a delightfully blue ocean full of life, pristine and quiet. It was a well needed stop after weeks in Fiji moving around and lugging dive kit about. We were desperate to get there to check it out.
On arrival we were met by the kind and welcoming staff who sat us down and checked us in. Cruising up to the island on their transit boat and getting this magnificent view of the island was impressive. All of those things we hoped for, white sandy beaches, water that almost glowed fluorescent blue and palm trees fringing its coast. Spectacular!
The dive crew went out of their way to plan our in water activities and of course for us this was heavily revolved around diving. With only a few days here we were keen to see as much as possible. I really wanted to check out all of the non-diving activities on this island too and it was really important for me to give people an insight into one of the companies signature snorkels. Signing up and heading out to the reef, I was told we would see a few sharks and this was said with a slightly cheeky grin as the captain set off. The boat trip out was gorgeous! The site was about 20 minutes away and this gave us the perfect opportunity to just be out on the water embracing the environment and the wonder that is the Yasawas.
So we arrive and bam, jump in and my gosh! I spat in my mask, eagerly submerged my face into the water and was totally surrounded by reef sharks. They were everywhere! I could have floated in the same spot and not moved and just watched everything going on around me but was then drawn to a huge group of cuttlefish that glided by me and they were so cool! I followed them watching their amazing colours glisten and their direction change as a group. I didn’t know where to look, the sharks, the cuttlefish, the reef, it was wonderful!
The boat crew guided us and ensured snorkelers were safe around the boats and snorkel guides supported us in water, pointing things out and explaining what things were. One of the guides absolutely blew my mind with his breath hold. He duck dived down, calmly swam to the ocean floor, maybe 10 meters or so depth and just hovered there, sharks surrounding him. It felt like he was there for ages and to just be above him watching these two worlds collide was really special He was totally at one with being in the water. I thought about how lucky Kuata was to have so many professional and skilled staff and this guy had everyone’s attention. It was the sort of moment where you just imagine and fantacise about what it would be like to be able to hold your breath for hours, what you would be able to do and see in the ocean if you could. We all got drawn into its wonder on this snorkel.
The session ran for about an hour and people were just overwhelmed and happy to be there. On the way back everyone was chatting about the sharks in a really positive way and were eager to find out more about them. This was totally the desired effect. People need to see and spend time and learn about sharks to develop a care and love for them and most importantly a passion to protect them.
The boat stopped abruptly on our way back and the boat captain fished out a plastic bag, he didn’t say anything and just carried on. I smiled to myself and realised that people here actually cared about the sea and this wasn’t an act to impress tourists on the boat, it was nothing more than to remove a piece of nasty plastic from his reef. Special moment.
Loved, loved, loved this snorkel and I am a diver who would always choose to dive over snorkel but I can honestly say that this changed my mind and I was keen to go again!
Learn more at: https://barefootkuatafiji.com/
Photos by Radoslaw Krol