Turtle Island Restoration Network Cocos Island Dive Expedition

Cocos Island Research Expedition

Volunteer Opportunity to Participate in Tagging and Tracking Sea Turtles and Hammerhead Sharks

December 9 – 19, 2014 – Only Four Spots Left!
February 11 – 21, 2015
July 17 – 29, 2015

Cocos Island Named Best Place to Dive with Sharks by CNN!  Read the story here.

Trip Details: Read about the trips below and contact Madeline Rose at info@seaturtles.org or call 1-800-859-7283 to register or learn more!

You’re invited to join me, Todd Steiner, Executive Director of the Sea Turtle Restoration Project, on a 10 or 12-day live-aboard dive research expedition to Cocos Island National Park to help study the sea turtles and sharks of the region.  Our aim is to better understand these species’ movements, and collect data necessary to advocate for marine protected “swimways.”  Your participation as a volunteer research assistant may be tax-deductible*.

These trips rank as my most memorable lifetime diving experiences, and offer some of the most spectacular opportunities to view and photograph the incredible marine biodiversity of the East Pacific.  Expedition participants will get to dive among schooling hammerheads, several species of sea turtles, and schools of thousands of fish, as they support conservation efforts directly at the site.

To read testimonials from previous expedition participants, click here.

Cocos Island National Park and World Heritage site is located 530 km southwest of Costa Rica’s mainland. Known as one of the world’s most incredible diving destinations, it is famous for its large populations of scalloped hammerhead and white tip reef sharks, and boasts a number of endemic fish that occur nowhere else on the planet.  Hammerheads are easily viewed at close range at “cleaning stations,” and inquisitive green turtles commonly approach our dive teams, offering fantastic photographic opportunities and facilitating tagging studies.

Other regularly observed species include Galapagos sharks, black tip sharks, silky sharks, marbled rays, eagle rays and bottlenose dolphins. The special treat of any diving expedition–whale sharks–are also occasionally observed. Endless schools of jacks also swarm the island.

On these upcoming trips researchers will add to our current tagging efforts with a combination of satellite, acoustic, and monel tags.  Already, our dive research expeditions have tagged 150 sharks with acoustic telemetry and 72 green and two hawksbill turtles to build our knowledge of their migratory routes.  We will also recover, download data and re-deploy six acoustic receivers located underwater around the island. Participants will be able to assist with various levels of research depending on experience.

The 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. We will be using the 130-foot MV Argo, their newest and largest live-aboard vessel. Participants will be divided into two dive groups which will be under the supervision of an experienced Dive Master/Rescue Diver. Those planning to dive must be experienced divers, with PADI or NAUI membership, and must have personal DAN insurance. Nitrox is available for certified divers.

To see amazing 360 degree views of the Cocos Island, the
Undersea Hunter vessel and underwater views from the DeepSee
submersible,
click here.

Upcoming trips: 

Dec 9-19, 2014 (10-day trip)
Cost: $5,945 (includes all meals and nitrox refills) + $245 (Cocos Island National Park entrance fee) + $60 (round-trip transportation between hotel in San José to dock in Puntarenas).  TOTAL cost of trip:  $6,250*

Feb 11-21, 2015  (10-day trip)
Cost: $6,035  (includes all meals and nitrox refills) + $245 (Cocos Island National Park entrance fee) + $60 (round-trip transportation between hotel in San José to dock in Puntarenas).  TOTAL cost of trip:  $6,340*

July 17-29, 2015 (12-day trip)
Cost: $7,235  (includes all meals and nitrox refills) + $315 (Cocos Island National Park entrance fee) + $60 (round-trip transportation between hotel in San José to dock in Puntarenas).  TOTAL cost of trip:  $7,610*