Diving in Malpelo

Malpelo is a small island in the East Pacific Ocean, located about 500 km (310 mi) west of the Colombian mainland. Except for a small military post that is manned by the Colombian Armed Forces, it is uninhabited. It consists of a sheer and barren rock with three high peaks, the highest being Cerro de la Mona with a height of 300 metres (980 ft). The island is about one mile in length from northeast to southwest, and 700 yards in width.

It is the only island that rises above the surface from the Malpelo Ridge, which is a solitary volcanic submarine ridge that extends in a northeast-southwest direction with a length of 300 kilometres (190 mi) and a width of 100 kilometres (62 mi). This island is surrounded by a number of offshore rocks.

Off the northeast corner are the Tres Mosqueteros. Off the southwest corner areSalomon, Saul, La Gringa, and Escuba. All the rocks are surrounded by deep water, and most of the face of the main island is very steep. Soundings of between 1,000 and 5,000 fathoms are obtainable within a few miles of the shore, and the currents are strong and changeable. As an oceanic island, this island has never been connected with any other islands or the mainland.

Today, the Malpelo Fauna and Flora Sanctuary is the ninth largest marine protected area in the world. Since 2005 it has been listed as an Area of ​​Importance for the Conservation of Birds (AICA Area) by BirdLife International and by the Alexander Von Humboldt Institute.

Perhaps the greatest recognition is its declaration as a Natural Patrimony of Humanity in 2006 by the UNESCO. Under this scenario, from the National Government is designated Malpelo as one of the "marine gems" of Colombia.

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