Malpelo/Cocos Island Expedition  
     
 

Malpelo & Cocos Islands

World Heritage Site Double Header

April 16-29, 2008

 

Malpelo - Inducted into the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites in 2006 Malpelo is the largest n0-fishing zone in the Eastern Tropical Pacific. This area provides a critical habitat for internationally threatened marine species, and is a major source of nutrients resulting in the large aggregations of marine animals.

It is in particular a ‘reservoir' for sharks, giant grouper and billfish and is one of the few places in the world where sightings of the short-nosed ragged-toothed shark, a deepwater shark, have been confirmed. Widely recognized as one of the top diving sites in the world, due to the presence of steep walls and caves of outstanding natural beauty, these deep waters support important populations of large predators and pelagic species (e.g. aggregations of over 200 hammerhead sharks and over 1,000 silky sharks, whale sharks and tuna have been recorded) in an undisturbed environment where they maintain natural behavioural patterns.

Cocos Island - Inducted as World Heritage site in 1997, Cocos Island National Park, located 550 km off the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, is the only island in the tropical eastern Pacific with a tropical rainforest. Its position as the first point of contact with the northern equatorial counter-current, and the myriad interactions between the island and the surrounding marine ecosystem, make the area an ideal laboratory for the study of biological processes. The underwater world of the national park has become famous due to the attraction it holds for divers, who rate it as one of the best places in the world to view large pelagic species such as sharks, rays, tuna and dolphins. For more information about Cocos Island, please review our Cocos Island Site.


More about Malpelo - sheer granite cliffs that plunge into deep water. One of these, known as the Altar of the Virgin, can have hundreds of free-swimming moray eels, huge snappers and groupers, dolphin and mantas. Another site, a group of pinnacles off the northern end of Malpelo, is called the Three Musketeers. Here, divers enter a series of tunnels and caverns and cathedrals, filled with countless thousands of silvery bait fish, dozens of lobster, white-tipped reef sharks and large numbers of goat fish, grunts, jacks and groupers. La Gringa, is where divers go for real shark action and hundreds of female hammerhead sharks line up in strong currents just off the granite wall right in front of you.

Located about 300 miles off the coast of Colombia, the site includes Malpelo island and the surrounding marine environment. This vast marine park, the largest no-fishing zone in the Eastern Tropical Pacific, provides a critical habitat for internationally threatened marine species, and is a major source of nutrients resulting in large aggregations of marine biodiversity. It is in particular a 'reservoir' for sharks, giant grouper and billfish and is one of the few places in the world where sightings of the short-nosed ragged-toothed shark, a deepwater shark, have been confirmed. Widely recognized as one of the top diving sites in the world, due to the presence of steep walls and caves of outstanding natural beauty, these deep waters support important populations of large predators and pelagic species in an undisturbed environment where they maintain natural behavioral patterns.

The rugged cliffs are host to the second largest masked booby colony. And is also visited by many species of migratory birds such as the black noddy, red-footed booby, red-billed tropic bird, and frigatebirds. Endemic to the island are one species of crab, 2 starfish, and 2 reptiles.

The climate is wet tropical with high humidity and abundant rainfall. From December thru May, the northern winds bring with them calm and cold waters and clear skies. From May to November, the effects are the opposite with warmer waters rich in plankton and lots of rain.

 

 

MEET OUR LEADERS

Georgienne Bradley lives in Santa Monica, California. She owns and operates a production company and image stock house, founded the American Society of Media Photographers' Underwater Specialty group(which she chaired for six years), and is currently the chairperson for the Nature Photographers of America Specialty group. Having logged thousands of dives, Georgienne's passion is the ocean. She believes the Imaging Foundation will bridge the gap between the need for quality images and the work being done by other non profit educational and environmental organizations. Georgienne uses the images produced by the Imaging Foundation to develop innovative, engaging, and educational productions. George's favorite quote is borrowed from Margaret Mead who said, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."

Jay Ireland is a partner in Bradley Ireland Productions, one of the largest film and video underwater stock house agencies in the world. With over 30 years of experience as both a photographer and a diver, Jay Ireland has captured extraordinary images both above and below the water in some of the most exotic places in the world including Madagascar, Borneo, Egypt, and Fiji. His combined understanding of diving, marine wildlife, and the unique aspects of shooting underwater ensures he captures striking images. Jay has been featured in both National Geographic and the Wall Street Journal as the co-founder of Cayman Islands Stingray City. His quest for the perfect stingray image created what is now one of today's most frequently photographed underwater attractions in the world. Jay is also known for his almost unparalleled familiarity of Cocos Island, the largest uninhabited island in the world, and he has logged over 3,000 dives in the waters around the island. Using his images to stand witness, Jay successfully partnered with the United Nations in making Cocos Island a United Nations World Heritage Site. Other environmental partnerships include Conservation International and the NRDC.

 

 

EXPEDITION'S GOALS

We provide the following task list to give prospective volunteers an idea about the types of tasks they may encounter on expedition. Attempts are made to develop a task schedule that suits a wide range of participants and their skill sets. Usually, the ultimate agenda of accomplishable tasks is achievable only after the team is assembled and skills are assessed.

This is Imaging Foundation's first expedition to Malpelo and fourth trip to Cocos. At this time we have not yet developed a detailed list of tasks for this expedition. We expect to add to our production footage of Cocos by inter-relating Malpelo as another World Heritage site and into the Triangle of Shark Corridors. During this expedition we also plan on continuing our video clipping activities and image database enhancements.

EXPEDITION LOGISTICS - DATELINE

Arrival Date - You must be in San Jose no later than the evening of Tuesday April 15th. We suggest you arrive a day early, on the 14th, in case of any issues with your luggage or any flight connections. We always attempt to stay in the same hotel, as a group, for the sake of logistics. At this time, the hotel of choice is yet to be determined.

Boat Departs - the crew from the Undersea Hunter will pick us up at the Hotel between 8 - 10 AM. on April 16.

Boat Returns - we return to port on April 29 and will be transported to our hotel.

Return Home - your earliest departure from San Jose will be on Wed., April 30th. If we have a post-trip planned it will start on April 30th .

Tentative Expedition Schedule

We are on an expedition and animals and safety make the final itinerary decisions. This schedule may AND PROBABLY will change. That is what makes this experience exciting and different... that is what makes it an expedition.

   

Costa Rica Arrival Day

You must arrive at least one day prior to the boat departure date.
Upon arrival to San José, we can have transportation waiting for you for the cost of $10-20 or you can take a taxi to your hotel. There are always taxies available at the airport, even minivans for those of you who carry a lot of gear. We can also recommend and arrange accommodations for hotels in San José. The evening before boat departure, an Undersea Hunter representative will fax you to confirm your pick up time the next day.
Day 1 THE ADVENTURE BEGINS! The following day, we pick up from certain hotels and transfer everybody by bus to Puntarenas where you will board the vessel. The pick-up is usually fairly early for Malpelo trips. The drive takes about 2 1/2 hours, and gives you a chance to view the lush forest and rich farmland of the region.
Due to occasional low tides our boats may need to depart from the pier earlier in the day. Should this occur, you will be transferred by skiff to the vessel. When all passengers have arrived on board, the vessel will take an approximately 40 hour cruise out to Malpelo Island.
Day 2
A travel day. There will be time to arrange dive and camera gear as well as enjoy the Pacific and the sunshine. We will tak advantage of this time to look for marine mammal sitings and start the Imaging Foundation orientation and task assignments.

Days
3-5

Spent diving the sites around the perimeter of Malpelo Island. Divers usually average three dives per day at depths of 60-100 feet or more. This, of course, is what the whole trip is about.
Day 6
Make the last 3 dives before continuing towards Cocos Island.
Day 7 Another travel day, the crossing to Cocos takes about 36 hours.
Day 8-11
Time to continue the diving, as you explore the pinnacles around the perimeter of Cocos Island. Divers usually average three dives per day at depths of 60-100 feet or more.
Day 12 Make the last 3 dives before the cruise back to Costa Rica and reality!
Day 13
All day to discuss the diving and to compare your adventures! We will use this time to finish tasks and assignments.

Boat description and more information:
http://underseahunter.com

Expense and Tax Deduction Information

The Imaging Foundation is a 501(c)3 tax-exempt corporation under the United States Internal Revenue Service. It is not a private foundation. U.S. tax deductible expenses may include:

  • Liveaboard costs including $367.00 National Park Fee and transportation fee to the boat.
    Standard Fee Discounted Fee *
    $5862.00
    $5662.00

    Not Included in above:
  • Airfare to San Jose, Costa Rica
  • Pre and post liveaboard hotel
  • Trip cancellation insurance
  • $75 yearly membership fee (one time yearly fee covers multiple expeditions)

At this time fuel surcharges have been discontinued, but this is subject to change at any moment.

Pre- and post-liveaboard expedition staging hotel

The Imaging Foundation’s staging area hotel is the Sleep Inn, San Jose, a short 15 minutes from the Santamaria International airport and close to tourist attractions to be enjoyed before or after the expedition. Besides very comfortable and ample rooms, this hotel offers complimentary transportation from and to the airport, buffet breakfast, a business center with free wireless Internet and a fitness center. It also boasts a classic restaurant open 24 hours a day. When booking your reservation, please inform us if you are staying extra nights in San Jose so we may extend your stay at the Sleep Inn. We reserve a block of rooms at the rate of $122.00 per night (single or double room) including accommodation tax.

 

$1000 deposit required to reserve a spot.

Payment Options are as Follows:

1.
Pay by phone (360-570-3453) using credit card : VISA, MC or AMEX - $1000.00 deposit. The remainder will be charged to the same credit card on a payment schedule with the balance due 90 days prior to the expedition.
 
2.
Pay by check, minimum $1000.00 deposit, to receive the cash discount*. The balance will be due on a set payment schedule. There will be a $25.00 late payment fee charged on all payments not made on time.
3.
Pay by wire transfer, $1000.00 minimum to be eligible for cash discount*, plus wire transfer fee ($15.00). Call or e-mail to obtain wiring instructions.

Please send check payments, in US dollars, made out to:

Imaging Foundation

Send to:

Ana Martin
Imaging Foundation
908 East Bay Dr. NE, #E102
Olympia, WA 98506

Call or email us with any questions.

 

Second Payment - 6 months out, by October 15, 2007

Third Payment - 90 days out, by January 15, 2008

Our Financial Director will be sending out Invoices once you sign up.

There are other related expenses such as crew tips and Costa Rica departure tax, some of which may be deductible for residents of the US and other countries. Participants must check with their tax advisors regarding deduction limits and other particulars. Please see the relevant IRS publication for more information.

All monies paid to Imaging Foundation are considered donations and, therefore, are not refundable. Trip insurance may be found at Divers Alert Network (DAN) and we strongly recommend it.

 

Additional Costs - The following information is listed as a courtesy to our volunteers.   We researched Internet prices for the following items and posted our findings. We are not responsible for making these arrangements NOR are we responsible for changes in rates. Usually the sooner a volunteer locks in their rate the better.

Airline and Flights Suggestion

We are not a travel agency and prices may change at any time.

You can travel to San Jose, Costa Rica through any U.S. major airline: American, Continental, Delta, US Airways or United. From your home port, you can connect through Houston, Dallas, Atlanta or Miami. From these connecting cities, the airfares start at $436.

Extra Reading Information -

Past volunteers who have read about each destination prior to departure have commented that it greatly enhanced their experience. Also, identification manuals of reef fish and at times topside animals lend additional information for the duration of the expedition. Below please find a few books that our team read and think you may enjoy.

All book sales help to fund the IF Mission.

Study before you go, or read aboard the Sea Hunter !


Other Pre-Trip Suggestions:

  • Get your Nitrox certification and other add on courses. Due to the nature of the trip and goals to be accomplished, Nitrox and other certification classes will not be taught during expedition.
  • Check with your consulate office for any required visas you might need.
  • Check with the CDC for any inoculations you may need for the country you are visiting and carry proof of this along with your passport

Most foreign destinations require US citizens to carry a valid US passport. Please visit The Bureau of Consular Affairs website to check the trip destination requirements regarding passport and visa. If you are a non-US citizen please check the website of your country of citizenship regarding the trip destination requirements for entry. It is the responsibility of all passengers to obtain the appropriate visas for their expedition. If you have any questions please contact the Imaging Foundation.


All book sales help to fund the IF Mission.

Study before you go, or read aboard the Undersea Hunter!


Diving & Snorkeling Guide to Cocos Island
(Lonely Planet Pisces Books) (Paperback)
by Lucy Agace
(Limited availability; Click on the small "Diving &" link to access this selection)

Lonely Planet Costa Rica
(Lonely Planet Costa Rica) (Paperback)
by Carolina Miranda, Paige Penland
Lonely Planet Costa Rica
(Lonely Planet Costa Rica) (Paperback)
by Rob Rachowiecki
Lonely Planet Columbia (paperback)
by Michael Kohn, Thomas Kohnstamm, Robert Landon
 
The Flight of the Iguana: A
Sidelong View of Science and Nature
(paperback)
by David Quammen

 

 

 
 
 


Shop and Support IF Click Below




 

t;Diving &" link to access this selection)

Lonely Planet Costa Rica
(Lonely Planet Costa Rica) (Paperback)
by Carolina Miranda, Paige Penland
Lonely Planet Costa Rica
(Lonely Planet Costa Rica) (Paperback)
by Rob Rachowiecki
Lonely Planet Columbia (paperback)
by Michael Kohn, Thomas Kohnstamm, Robert Landon
 
The Flight of the Iguana: A
Sidelong View of Science and Nature
(paperback)
by David Quammen

 

 

     


Shop and Support IF Click Below