World-first chance to study previously unknown marine predator behaviour
Rare opportunity to join and sponsor top scientists and conservationists on leading research vessel Odyssey, departing Cape Town
Study previously unknown behaviour of great whites and orcas to try and uncover the reasons behind novel deadly interactions between these two apex predators
Combine mission with adventure in the Cederberg and helicopter flyovers of feeding superpods of humpback whales.
October 2022 – Luxury adventure travel company, Cookson Adventures, is renowned for designing pioneering global adventures, with a focus on conservation. From 9th to 14th November 2022, Cookson Adventures is offering a world-first opportunity for an exclusive group of up to six guests to sponsor and be involved in a meaningful marine science research project. They will join a leading group of Ocean First Institute scientists onboard RV Odyssey, as they lead an expedition from Mossel Bay to Cape Town to uncover the science behind dramatic new behavioural changes between the region’s great white shark and killer whale population.
Guests will be able to combine time on this research project off the Western Cape, with a three-night adventure to discover the Cederberg region of South Africa from 14th to 17th November. Alongside exclusive experiences, Cookson Adventures will organise daily flights by helicopter to explore less accessible locations and soar over super pods of feeding humpback whales.
The need for this expedition is due to a significant change in South Africa’s great white shark population, which has drawn the attention of the world’s leading experts in shark behaviour. Once abundant in the waters off Cape Town, carcasses of great white sharks have been washing up ashore, with confirmed signs of predation by killer whales. Footage has captured dramatic battles to the death between these two apex predators, with white sharks now moving out of the region in response.
Over five days, guests will have unprecedented access to observe unique scientific research with leading shark scientists as they attempt to track both species and gather vital data to help establish what is expected to be a pronounced impact on the local ecosystem.
Highlight experiences will include:
Riding with the scientists to satellite track and tag great white sharks, and potentially orca.
Take part baited remote underwater video camera deployment, whilst baiting sharks to create a unique opportunity to tag them in highly restricted marine protected areas.
Potentially discovering a unique battle between two of these top predators.
Scuba dives in underwater kelp forests, which are home an abundance of marine life including rarely seen shark species such as the charismatic pyjama catshark and the Shy spotted-gully shark.
Opportunity to view these predators in submersible dives in the marine protected reserve, off the iconic World Heritage Site of Robben Island and in the whale watching mecca of the De Hoop Marine Protected Reserve. De Hoop is home to huge schools of shoaling fish, turtles, rays of various species, sunfish, bottlenose dolphins, rare humpback dolphins and on occasion Bryde’s and humpbacks.
Daily updates on the expedition’s progress as well as learning more about the local ecosystems around Cape Town, directly from the experts in Odyssey’s media lab.
Coastal foraging and seafood lunches in remote locations.
Guests will be based across three spacious cabins on this consummate expedition and research vessel. The vessel from which the BBC’s Blue Planet II was filmed, Odyssey combines state of the art oceanographic, exploration, scientific and filmmaking capabilities with the comforts of a superyacht. A sub hangar houses the deep-dive submersible, atop of which is a helipad. There is also a fully equipped dive centre, wet and dry labs, a tank room for marine biological research, on-board medical facility, a sophisticated Mission-Control centre, as well as a broadcast-quality studio. She also comes with a 9.8m tender, two RIBs, sea kayaks and paddle boards.
Observe a world-leading team of researchers
Renowned marine biologist, Dr. Mikki McComb-Kobza, will be leading this world-leading team from Ocean First Institute. Dr. McComb-Kobza is lauded as one of the world’s foremost shark researchers, with a unique understanding of the sensory biology and ecological physiology of sharks. She will be joined by Dr. Alison Knock, South Africa’s leading expert on white sharks as well as Dr. Chris Malinowski and Phd candidate Alison Towner.
This mission will provide an incredible opportunity for young South African researchers. Through partnering with local non-profits and community members, it will offer a valuable opportunity to highlight the importance of a healthy ocean and balanced ecosystem.
Western Cape adventure
For guests who’d like to explore more of what Cape Town and the Cederberg has to offer, Cookson Adventures will design a land-based adventure tailored to their interests. Staying at Bushmans Kloof, a luxurious lodge on a private 7,500-hectare private reserve in the wilderness, there is everything from ancient rock art sites, game-viewing and spectacular hiking to be enjoyed in complete solitude. Guests will be immersed into the Cape’s thriving culinary scene, with exclusive tasting menus and wine tastings in the finest restaurant and vineyards.
Heli-flyovers over the coastline
Flying over the stunning coastline by heli, guests will soak up aerial views of whales below. Super pods of humpback whales gather in this region to feast on krill. This rare experience is one of nature’s most breath-taking spectacles to witness.
Opportunity to sub dive at previously unreachable depths
Explore the Cederberg region of South Africa from a luxury lodge in the wilderness
Enjoy a highly-personalised Cederberg adventure
Soak up incredible aerial views of breaching whales by heli
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