Volunteers Needed for Expeditions MAY 27-JUNE 6 AND AUGUST 24-SEPT 3, 2010!

with the
PRETOMA (our sister organization in Costa Rica)
PRETOMA and STRP announce its third Cocos Island Sea Turtle and Hammerhead Shark Tagging Volunteer Expedition, to be held from August 20-30, 2009

I invite you to join me on an expedition that ranks as one of my most memorable lifetime experiences, viewing and studying the incredible marine biodiversity of the waters of Cocos Island National Park.

Cocos Island National Park and World Heritage site is located 530 km southwest of Costa Rica. The site is one of the best diving spots in the world, and holds perhaps the richest biodiversity in the Eastern Tropical Pacific. Green and hawksbill sea turtles are commonly seen, as are schools of scalloped hammerheads sometimes numbering more than 100. White tip reef sharks are also very common, as are marbled and eagle rays and endless schools of jacks also swarm the island. Silver tip sharks, Galapagos sharks, black tip sharks, and silky sharks are also seen regularly. The special treat of any diving expedition, whale sharks, are also occasionally observed. For more information, see http://www.cocosisland.org/english/

PRETOMA began a five-year shark census and study of the migratory movements of the sharks at Cocos Island and thus far, seven expeditions have visited the Park, and nearly 50 scalloped hammerhead sharks have been tagged with acoustic telemetry.

In March 2009, the first two satellite transmitters were attached to green sea turtles at Cocos, and on this trip, several addition sea turtle satellite transmitters will be deployed.

From August 20 to 30 of 2009, you will have the opportunity to participate in one of these fascinating expeditions, and live the experience of a lifetime! Dive among schooling hammerheads, assist researchers, and support conservation efforts directly at the site!

Expedition members MUST be intermediate divers, with PADI or NAUI membership, and have personal DAN insurance. Nitrox is also available for certified divers. Certifications will be requested at the site.

The dive expedition will be supported by the experienced and well-known dive company Undersea Hunter S.A (http://www.underseahunter.com), which has been running expeditions to Cocos Island since 1990. We will be using the Argo http://www.underseahunter.com/uh/english/argo/argo_index.php , a live-aboard 130-foot dive vessel for 15 passengers. The Argo carries a three-person submersible http://www.underseahunter.com/uh/english/deepsee/deepsee_operation_index.php
that will be available (at additional cost) for participants who wish to explore deep depths. Participants will be divided into two group dives, which will be under the supervision of an experienced Dive Master/Rescue Diver.

Expedition members are expected to arrange their own travel to Costa Rica. The expedition begins with pick up at the hotel of your choice on August 20 at around 10:00 am, and ends when we return you to the hotel of your choice on August 30 at around 12:00 noon. We recommend Hotel Rincón de San José (http://www.hotelrincondesanjose.com/), or Hotel Grano de Oro (http://www.hotelgranodeoro.com/). If you would like assistance to book hotels, contact PRETOMA ([email protected]).

Cost: $4,735.00 (includes all meals and nitrox refills).
$245.00 (Cocos Island National Park entrance fee).
$69.00 (Transportation from hotel in San José to dock in Puntarenas.

TOTAL: US $5,049.00

To ensure a space in this expedition, we are requesting an immediate deposit of $2,500. The balance ($2549.00) is dune June 15, 2009.

(These expenses may be tax-deductible, as they help finance the research expedition. Contact Todd Steiner, [email protected] for more information)