ScubaDivingVacation.netCocos Island Sea Turtle & Shark Tagging Expedition In Costa Rica

You have the opportunity to join biologists (including "2010 Goldman Environmental Prize Winner" Randall Arauz and biologist and executive director of the "Sea Turtle Restoration Project", Todd Steiner) on a turtle and shark tagging expedition to the Cocos Island National Park, Costa Rica. Located 350 miles from the Costa Rica mainland, the Pacific waters surrounding this oceanic island is world-famous for its large populations of hammerhead sharks and other large pelagic species, and is considered one of the most incredible dive sites on the planet. These rich waters hold perhaps the richest biodiversity in the Eastern Tropical Pacific and boast a large population of green sea turtles, more than 300 species of tropical fish, many of which are found nowhere else in the world! The island is also surrounded by amazing coral reefs. It is not uncommon to see large schools of more than 100 hammerhead sharks swimming by, and to see a hundred or more white tip sharks on every dive, therefore it's not surprising that Cocos Island was declared a United Nations World Heritage in 1997 and is the trip of a lifetime for many seasoned divers and professional marine scientists.

Along the 10-day expedition that includes 26+ dive opportunities, you are likely to also see silver tip sharks, Galapagos sharks, black tip sharks, silky sharks, marbled rays, eagle rays and bottlenose dolphins. The special treat of any diving expeditions, whale sharks, are also occasionally observed, not to mention endless schools of jacks that also swarm the island. The "work" part of the trip that participants are able to participate in fully includes capturing turtles using scuba that are brought on board and are weighed, measured and tagged with a combination of satellite, acoustic and/or permanent transmitters and tags before release back at the point of capture. Scalloped hammerheads are tagged underwater using scuba with acoustical tags applied at close range, and receivers located around the island are retrieved to download data and then returned to their positions.

The scientific data being collected allows scientists to track these species on their oceanic migrations as well as to understand the importance of the local Cocos Island area to these endangered species. Furthermore, the information learned is being used to propose protected "swim ways" to protect these species when they leave the protected waters of Cocos on their way to Galapagos and other islands, and the mainland of Central America. There are only a few spots available for the August 24-September 3, 2010 expedition and participants must be experienced intermediate divers that are comfortable in the water in close proximity to sharks. The dive expedition will be supported by the experienced and well-known dive company "Undersea Hunter S.A", which has been running expeditions to Cocos Island since 1990 and has some of the best dive-masters in the region. We will be using the UnderSea Hunter, a luxurious 90-foot live-aboard dive vessel and its fleet of skiffs.

Don’t miss out! Be a direct part of this important research expedition, and support the conservation of the Eastern Tropical Pacific’s incredible biodiversity! For more information contact: Todd Steiner - TSteiner@SeaTurtles.org. SAVE THE SEA TURTLES AND SHARKS!

Travel Article Written By Todd Steiner.

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