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Join Us in 2002!

Thresher Sharks

Join Us in 2002!



Pelagic Thresher Shark Expedition - Philippines, May 2002

  • Expedition Type:  research

  • Dates:  not yet set

  • Duration:  10 days

  • Number of participants:  6
  • Approximate Package Price:  US$2450 - includes round trip airfare to Babu, Philippines, from Hong Kong, SAR, 9 night's accommodation and all meals

ReefQuest Expeditions combines forces with Asiatic Marine Ltd. to offer you an exceptional learning adventure.  Join marine biologists Rick Martin and Charles Frew for an amazing 10-day Expedition to study and film the elusive, little-known Pelagic Thresher Shark (Alopias pelagicus).

Very few people have ever seen this rare creature alive in the context of its natural environment.  Yet, at a secret location in the Philippines, it is possible to see six to ten Pelagic Threshers each day as these ribbon-tailed sharks queue over a guyot (a submerged, flat-topped seamount) to be cleaned of skin parasites by Cleaner Wrasses and possibly juveniles of other small fishes.  In the early morning, from about 5:30 to 7:00 or so, the Pelagic Threshers put on an amazing acrobatic show, breaching completely out of the water up to four times in succession.  At the same guyot, it is also not at all uncommon to see 13-foot- (4-metre-) wide Manta Rays (Manta birostris) and squadrons of their smaller relatives, the devil rays (Mobula spp.).  The Pelagic Threshers and rays can be observed at close range at the guyot, which rises to within 120 feet (36 metres) of the surface.  A few hours sailing from the guyot, an artesanal fishery for Pelagic Thresher is carried out by local pescaderos -- who will be our source of fresh specimens for detailed biological examination.

Every few days, our Research Team will alternate between dissection/measurement and observation/filming of Pelagic Threshers.  Our support vessel is an adapted fishing boat that features huge deck space that is ideal for both diving and dissection.  The vessel has on-board air compressors to fill scuba tanks and sleeps nine (four twin cabins and one single).  On-board beds are rather small (being built for Philippine fishermen) and ... well 'rustic' but reasonably comfortable.  In compensation, food on-board the vessel is excellent.  Each day we are dissecting the Threshers, our vessel will anchor up near an idyllic tropical island that offers stupendous shallow-water diving or snorkelling and wonderful macro underwater photography, featuring gin-clear water that bathes lush seagrass beds swarming with exotic little tropical creatures such as the Mimic Octopus (Octopus sp.), seahorses (Hippocampidae), and the Leaf Scorpionfish (Taenionotus triacanthus).  Our tentative plan is to split our Research Team into two halves so that, in turns, one half assists dissections while the other explores the island and its near-shore wonders.  In the evenings, we will offer informal lectures by your Expedition Leaders and opportunity to share your own diving or travel adventures with our Research Team.

Clearly, this is not a run-of-the-mill diving holiday.  Our purpose is serious research, which we hope will result in a couple of published scientific papers as well as broadcast of a half-hour documentary.  As such, we must choose our participants very carefully.  Specifically, we are seeking individuals with a strong interest in natural history or research who can work together as part of a team.  Preference will be given to people willing to get their hands dirty during biological examinations of specimens.  Due to the significant depths involved, it is strongly recommended that all participants wishing to dive be deep diving or NITROX certified.  This Expedition may not be to everyone's taste, but for those who share our deep sense of exploration and adventure, it promises to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience you will never forget.

  • Details will be finalized shortly
  • Applications and serious enquiries are being taken NOW

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Copyright Rick Martin.  -  All text and illustrations on these pages are proprietary.  If you would like to use any part of these pages' contents in any form, please ask first. Taking text or images from this website without asking is not merely a 'harmless' lifting from the Internet, it is theft directly from me, pure and simple. Please don't do it - I have worked long and hard to create this material. If your cause is noble and you give both me and ReefQuest Expeditions due credit, I will almost certainly grant any reasonable request. Please note that each of the photographs appearing on this site is the rightful property of the credited photographer; any request to use one of these images must be negotiated directly with him or her.