martes, 30 de diciembre de 2008
Diving in Malpelo Island, Colombian Pacific June 2008
I am sure you heared about the spectacular diving of Cocos Island in Costa Rica or Galapagos in Ecuador.
But did you hear about Malpelo in Colombia?
We all know that there are so many "best dive sites on the world" and it depends always what we like to see, but Malpelo is defenetly
a paradise for the SHARK FREAKS between us.
I went with my wife Luz on a 7 day Trip Buenaventura-Gorgona Island-Malpelo Island-Buenaventura. Buenaventura is a harbour town one the pacificoast. http://www.valledelcauca.gov.co/publicaciones.php?. Its habitated by the followers of african slaves and you feel like back in time. Despite of the poverty, Buenaventura is Colombians main harbour on the pacific and has a crucial importance for transports overseas.
On the evening we shipped in on the "Maria Patricia" a quite old lady but still (after 20 years) travelling to Malpelo. We had a
great group together, mainly colombian diving instructors and their groups.
The sea was nice not to many waves and sunny weather. After navigating the night we arrived the other day in Gorgona Island.
This tropical island has a long story, spanish invaders died in big numbers on the snake bites.
It was in the past a prison-island and these days its a nationalpark, rich on fauna and flora.
We made a short trip on the island and a briefing about the environment and protection from an official of the environmental department of the Colombian Government.
Finally we went for the first dives. We dove on a pinnacle with a
medium current and got lucky at the first time. 2 whitetipreefsharks and 2 Whalesharks!!!
We were kind of freaking out!!
It was a good start and and we continued to Malpelo. http://www.fundacionmalpelo.org/ 24 hours later we arrived early in the Morning the Islands. Its amazing, 500km from the coast in the middle of the Pacific. Huge Rocks coming out of the water, covered by thousands and thousands of birds...
What might be under the water?
We were all so unpatient, it was not easy to keep it organized and a few minutes later we were all distributed on 3 zodiaks driving to the dive spot.
The diving in Malpelo is not for beginners. Deep drop offs
with sometimes strong currents and a heavy surge.
But once we were down, who cares? I dived for 2 minutes and the first hammerheadshark passed by. Eagle rays, huge groups of barracudas, groupers, whitetipreefsharks, jackfish and plenty more.
We got really high a few day later, when I was with my buddy
Sylvain performing a safety stop as suddenly we watched hundreds
of hammerheadsharks emerging from the deep.
We pulled inmediatley down and fitted perfectly into this "shark soup". It was a great emotion, we where the happiest people on earth!
The other highlight was a 7 meter whaleshark drifting on the surface. Our entire group was smimming with him for half an hour in apnea...
We visited the Colombian Navy Base on the island. They are there to protect the Colombian autonomie and the island from the big sharkfinning fleets waiting outside for their oportunity.
The island is covered with different, some of them endemic, species like birds, lizards and crabs.
After 4 days diving in Malpelo we had to say goodbye and took our way home.
It was a shaky experience to be back on Land but we all where full of amazing new experiences and impressions.
Its a spot I defenetly recommend.
I would be happy to know about your experience in Malpelo.