Malpelo Island

Malpelo Island

Malpelo Island longMalpelo Island is located 235 miles (378 Kilometers) from the Pacific coast of Colombia in the Eastern Pacific Ocean. In 2006 this nationally-protected sanctuary was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, the Committee of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization.
The island consists of a steep, visually barren rock with three peaks that are the crest of a large submarine volcanic ridge stretching 150 miles from northeast to southwest. This ridge rises from a depth of over 13,000 feet (4000 meters) to reveal itself as the tiny, solitary rock of Malpelo. Composed of pillow lavas, breccias and basaltic dykes, the island is understood to be the remnant of a "hot spot" which is now an exposed portion of the oceanic crust.
On closer examination, the rock surfaces are home to algae, lichens, mosses and even some small shrubs and ferns that have taken hold in the nutrient rich guano that is continually replenished by the dense bird population. The maritime weather has eroded the island, forming steep cliffs and sea caves along its jagged coastline. The north and south sides of the island are ornamented by 11 smaller satellite rocks, each with its own unique appeal.
Undersea Hunter Group runs only full boat charters to Malpelo Island by request.
fine-spotted-moray-eelsThe submarine environment surrounding Malpelo is defined not only by its isolation but also by its location, which is highly influenced by the convergence of several diverse marine currents. This phenomenon creates a focus in the usual dispersion of marine fauna throughout the Indo and Tropical Eastern Pacific.Malpelo is home to an important coral formation as well as a large variety and quantity of marine creatures. Of special interest are hammerhead sharks with awe-inspiring schools of 300 hundred individuals commonly encountered. The two most outstanding phenomena in Malpelo are the huge numbers of free swimming and cluster moray eels along with the colossal congregations of silky sharks that often join with hammerheads to form enormous mixed schools. Extraordinarily, Malpelo is one of the few places that a diver may chance upon the elusive Small Tooth Sand Tiger, which is also known as the Spotted Ragged-tooth shark (Odontaspis ferox).

Other common sights are the white tip shark, Galapagos shark, giant schools of angel fish, Creole fish, jacks, tuna, several ray species including the giant Manta and occasionally a sail fish, whale shark and even Humpback Whale.

nazca-boobies-on-malpelo-islandThe island is visited by some 12 species of migratory birds, including the Red-billed Tropic bird, Red-footed Booby, Black Noddy and the Great or Magnificent Frigate bird (Fregata magnificens). Endemic to the island are one crab species, two sea-stars, various species of coralline fish, and two reptiles.

Algae, moss and lichens cover the rugged cliffs of Malpelo, which host the second largest Masked Booby colony in the world, consisting of approximately 25,000 birds.