Thought In would drop in a report form my recent trip as info for this destination is not too common
Malpelo MV Ferox Liveaboard
Summary (April 2022)A trip of a lifetime and well worth the effort, for me up there alongside the Galapagos and Raja Ampat it is that good, visibility is probably the poorest of the 3 at 15 metres but this appears to be down to the sheer volume of life in the water which perhaps explains why the schools of fish are so large in size
Compilation Video with mainly natural light pics and video using my EM5iii and my dive buddies Go Pro 9
LogisticsMany options from London UK but by far the easiest is the direct night flights using Avianca from LHR to Bogota taking about 11 hours, food is so so but not really a problem as all I want to do on a night flight is sleep and ate in the airport before take off
Avianca internal flights are frequent, cheap and extra luggage is good value, Avianca were very good, 4 out of 5 flights on time and the 5th was a 3 hour delay but they knew this when I got to the airport and quickly bumpned me up to an earlier flight
10 day trip, 3 days for the crossings and 7 days diving, 3 dives per day & 2 on last day
Once in Bogota it is easy to get a flight down to Cali where the trip ends and starts, would highly recommend arriving a day early to acclimatise and in case your luggage gets delayed it has a day to catch up (one reason to use Avianca as they have daily flight from LHR)
Trip booking is easiest direct with their company Columbia Dive Adventures (you can also pay park fees, 15 litre tank costs in advance too)
A fantastic boat for diving, 320 tonnes so it rides the waves well on the 30 hour journey and whilst moored at Malpelo, don’t expect high end luxury but if you want a boat is well adapted for diving which is what this trip is all about the Ferox is your vessel. Plenty of single cabins, I only wish more boats had these, air con and the showers were really strong and never ran out of hot water - something other boats frequently lack.
Not a bad crossing but if you do get seasick or simply don’t want to take a chance then the patches behind the ears and/or the travel wrist bands are very good, just make sure you put them on when you get on the boat.
A great crew and atmosphere, you can even have a go driving the boat - where else due you ever get the opportunity!
All diving is done from 2 ribs, small groups of 6 + a Divemaster (an added benefit as the boat only takes 12 people) your gear stays on the rib all week and the tanks are filled directly from the main boat to the rib.
32% Nitrox is standard & in reality mandatory if you want to maximise your safety and dive time, 15 litre cylinders are available for a little extra and a must really for any man (women are sooo much better on air generally) The extra gas ensures you can do a full hour, deal with the current / surge and deeper dives with no issues
A 5mm wetsuit, 0.5mm skin plus thin hood and gloves were fine, water temperatures from 28 down to 22 degrees with only 1 dive below 20 degrees at depth (The Ferox shark). Gloves are a must due to the large number of barnacles and whilst you can reef hook we all simply held onto the bare rock where really necessary.
Current was not bad at all and due to the number of sites where current was too strong then it is simply a matter of going to another location, surge was a factor more often that not to deal with and often down to 15 metres.
3 dives a day is about right, on some dives you get down or close ish to deco so the 2-3 hour surface interval really helps off gas.
It goes like this Breakfast 1 (Cereals, Fruit, Bread) Dive 1 - 7.30 > Breakfast 2 (Eggs anyway and local food) Dive 2 - 11.30 > Lunch (Soup, Rice, Veg or Meat) Dive 3 - 2.30 > (nibbles) then Dinner 6.30
Food is not 5* but was tasty enough and kept me fuelled for the dives, perhaps too much rice.
Safety is strictly enforced and poor actions will impact your whole group’s dive & experience, don’t forget you are 30 hours from help.
Murco transponders are issued to every diver for the trip in case you are blown off into the blue but the dive guides here know Malpelo well and some have done 1,000s of dives here so don’t worry
A very diverse group on our trip from across the world which for me made the experience more memorable, a great bunch of ghouls & girls.
The Important Part - Aquatic Life
The sheer volume and size of the fish life is second to none, I have not seen so many schools of fish anywhere else in the world including the Galapagos. All the fish here are at the top of the tree and reach their maximise size, 4ft Jacks, 2ft Leather Bass etc etc.
Hammerhead sharks abound, saw a shoal below us 150+ strong but are certainly harder to see than the Galapagos as the visibility is not as crystal clear but I suspect part of the reason everything here is large is simply the large volume of nutrients in the water.
Huge Galapagos sharks & even the Silky Sharks are huge in comparison, more Moray Eels than you can shake a stick at.
Whalesharks in season but can turn up anytime and we saw a couple on our trip and a massive Swordfish which are not even really known in the waters here, Mobula Rays and on most dives we saw some Eagle Rays.
There is even some really nice small stuff in the rocks, some corals and in tunnels but you tend to overlook these as the large life is so abundant.
And if you are amazingly lucky (as we were) the chance to see the Small Tooth Sand Tiger Shark (Ferox) a pregnant monster at 5 metres for us.
A wonderful country and doesn’t deserve the reputation is has, I did 5 extra days on my trip. 2 in Bogota (City tour inc Monserrat plus Zipaquira/Guatavita , 2 Cali (City tour and Park Fallones) & 1 Cartegena. I hired local guides to make the most of my time and ensure I took in all the sites, it helped they were bi-lingual too, they were all excellent
Vibrant, scenic, lush, stunning Vistas and lots of ancient history to enjoy - 5 days was only a taster