Not just a
huge collection of
Elasmodiver.com contains images of sharks, skates, rays, and a few
chimaera's from around the world. Elasmodiver began as a simple web
to help divers find the best places to encounter the different
species of sharks and rays that live in shallow water but it has
slowly evolved into a much larger project containing information on
all aspects of shark diving and shark photography.
now more than 10,000 shark pictures and sections on shark
evolution, biology, and conservation. There is a large library of
reviewed shark books, a constantly updated shark taxonomy page, a
monster list of shark links, and deeper in the site there are
numerous articles and stories about shark encounters. Elasmodiver is
now so difficult to check for updates, that new information and
pictures are listed on an Elasmodiver Updates Page that can be
Schooling Scalloped hammerhead sharks
congregate at various sites around the island. The sharks arrive to take
advantage of cleaning stations. Divers hide behind boulders and coral heads
trying to avoid being noticed. The hammerheads are generally shy but
occasionally come close enough to be seen clearly. Even when they are less
cooperative the spectacle of hundreds of Hammerheads swimming by high above the
divers is extremely memorable.
The hammers are generally thicker in the
winter months but this is also the time the poorest visibility.
Whitetip reef sharks are present on
most dives They are not as common at Malpelo as they are further north at Cocos
Silky sharks can sometimes be
seen in great numbers. According the Captain of the Inula, every 5 or 6 years
the island is visited by schools of silkies that number in the tens of
thousands. What a spectacle that would be! Silky shark encounters are more
common during the summer months.
Smalltooth Sandtiger Sharks are
seen at very few locations around the world. For about a two month span, some
time between December and April, a small group congregates at a site named Bajo
del Monstruo which is a deep seamount off the north west side of the island. The
Inula has about a 70% success rate of seeing these sharks in the right season.
Generally there are just two or three but the highest number counted in one
aggregation was 17 individual sharks.
smalltooths have been seen as shallow as 30m but they generally remain in 50-65m+.
That is far shallower than their usual habitat so it is a
great place to see them if you have the training and confidence to go that deep.
Bare in mind that the Columbian
authorities frown on technical diving at the island so any attempt to encounter
them is usually done under the radar on regular scuba gear.
Malpelo is a Columbian owned, one mile
long, barren rock that rises out of the Eastern Pacific seemingly in the middle
of nowhere. It is the summit of a mostly submerged mountain in a range that also
incorporates world famous Cocos Island further north.
There is a small Columbian military base
on the island. Usually the Commandant allows divers to hike around the rock but
the army base changes personnel regularly and some new Commandants are less
friendly. The only way onto the island is via a precarious rope ladder that
dangles into the water. The climb to the top of the island is steep and fairly
Malpelo is home to a large colony of red
footed boobies and many other sea birds. There are also three endemic species of
lizards that call Malpelo home.
Ship based only. Malpelo is more than 200km from the port of David.
The MV Inula leaves the Port Town of
David in eastern Panama for the 200 mile crossing to Malpelo at various times
during the year. If you are specifically interested in joining a trip when it is
possible to encounter smalltooth sandtigers, please contact big fish expeditions
for charter dates:
There is another liveaboard that sails out
of Columbia. This one caters mostly to South American divers and has a
reputation for being rather spartan.