Whale sharks, silkies, hammerheads and something else!

Malpelo Trip Report

What a great trip!!! From the beginning, meeting a nice, warm, and funny Czech group plus one French and one American guest onboard, to very good underwater conditions, until the last two days with clear, sunny skies and a very calm and quiet crossing back home.

We had whale sharks almost every day, with silkies appearing in blue water and close to underwater pinnacles, hammerheads into the cleaning stations, Galapagos sharks circling around one spot that looks like, for more than 5 trips in a row now, is becoming a Galapagos station this year; plus huge schools of mullet snappers, bonitos, tunas and jacks. The highlight of the trip was one huge whale shark surrounded by dozens of silky sharks cleaning themselves on it, amazing!!!

We arrived on a rainy day, in calm water conditions—warm water of around 27ºC (81ºF) with a thermocline of 23ºC (73ºF) below 35 meters (115 feet), and visibility a little murky.

The first two days we visited the northern and eastern wall dive sites, finding some hammerheads, one whale shark, some silkies, schools of mullet snappers and bonitos together, a big Galapagos shark, blue-fin trevallys joining leatherbasses hunting, some eagle rays and two red frogfish facing each other.

The next days we visited underwater pinnacles like Acuario and La Ferreteria, and wall dive sites like La Nevera and Naufrago. We saw at least one whale shark a day, having two of them at the same time in La Nevera and Acuario on the last day.

La Ferreteria in the morning was incredible: a small bait ball attracting hundreds of silkies, tunas and bonitos, one oceanic black-tip and, in the middle of them, one big whale shark coming and going, surrounded by dozens of silkies cleaning themselves on it, just amazing! On another occasion, a huge male whale shark was passing by, and one of the biggest school of bonitos I have ever seen in Malpelo. Every visit to the different spots was full of surprises.

La Gringa was also memorable with the schools of big-eye jacks and mullet snappers, beautiful school of blue-and-yellow striped snappers, and one big group of hammerheads with at least 50 sharks passing by.

Acuario, like La Ferreteria, was giving us at least one whale shark a day, and D’Artagnan was covered with a huge school of big-eye jacks; whale sharks were occasionally passing by, and schools of mullet snappers and bonitos were around. Big schools of silky sharks in blue water stayed for a while, drifting either from Acuario or D’Artagnan, spectacular!

We improved visibility on the last two days. We continued to find schools of fish everywhere—whale sharks, silkies and, with La Nevera finally full activated, lots of hammerheads coming to the cleaning stations, staying for long time very close to us. That plus two whale sharks during the same dive was the perfect ending.

Juan Solano
Dive Guide on MV Yemaya
Malpelo Trip Report
June 22-July 2, 2017