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JBL Expedition February 2012

Deadline for application: 30.08.2011

Vietnam Workshop

Accompany the biologists of JBL's research team into the rain forests and volcanic regions of Central America, to Lake Nicaragua and the Galapagos Islands. Spend 17 days observing animals in their natural surroundings, carrying out research tasks and measurements, photographing and filming, engaging in technical discussions and, last but not least, enjoying some adventure. But anyone afraid of creepy-crawlies had better stay away! You should be physically fit, be able to handle tropical temperatures and humidity and have a strong interest in nature. There are diving opportunities for certified scuba divers at some of the spots we will be visiting. Participants who don't have a scuba diving license can snorkel in the biotopes and benefit from being independent of the limited oxygen supply of the diving bottles. The language used during the expedition usually ends up being a mixture of German and English.

Day 1, Saturday, 04.02.2012

Departure from the Frankfurt/Main Airport at 09:25. (Participants departing from other countries can either join us in Frankfurt or travel directly to Cancun/Mexico.) Arrival in Cancun/Mexico at 14:20. Transfer to Playa del Carmen to Hotel Paraiso Azul Casa de Gopala 3***, bed & breakfast, located just 2 blocks from the ocean. The hotel belongs to the Yucatek Divers diving club, who will direct the program the following day. In the evening, check-in in the diving centre, preliminary meeting and preparation for the next day. Dinner on your own. Departure from the Frankfurt/Main Airport at 09:25. (Participants departing from other countries can either join us in Frankfurt or travel directly to Cancun/Mexico.) Arrival in Cancun/Mexico at 14:20. Transfer to Playa del Carmen to Hotel Paraiso Azul Casa de Gopala 3***, bed & breakfast, located just 2 blocks from the ocean. The hotel belongs to the Yucatek Divers diving club, who will direct the program the following day. In the evening, check-in in the diving centre, preliminary meeting and preparation for the next day. Dinner on your own.

Day 2, Sunday

Ocean program in the Caribbean: Excursion to coral reefs, snorkelling, diving, sea water measurements, etc. Unfortunately, the whale sharks will not be there at that time. Instead, though, we should be able to do a night dive. Dinner on your own. Hotel Paraiso Azul Casa de Gopala, bed & breakfast Ocean program in the Caribbean: Excursion to coral reefs, snorkelling, diving, sea water measurements, etc. Unfortunately, the whale sharks will not be there at that time. Instead, though, we should be able to do a night dive. Dinner on your own. Hotel Paraiso Azul Casa de Gopala, bed & breakfast

Day 3, Monday

Transfer to our hotel in Tulum - very close to the cenotes and the famous temples. All-day excursion to the cenotes in the rain forest. Cenotes are cave-ins in the region's limestone foundation that contain water and lead into deep cave systems. At the surface, they form crystal-clear ponds with tropical fish and plants. The Mexican blind cavefish (Astyanax mexicanus) are the best-known fish from this cave system. However, we would like to concentrate more on the clear shallow-water areas with their fauna and flora and less on the deep caves. Of course, anyone interested (scuba divers) can also dive in the caves with a guide and in accordance with the prescribed safety precautions. Lunch: Packed lunches directly in the jungle. Dinner on your own again, either in the hotel or in town.

Day 4, Tuesday

Second day at the cenotes in the jungle. Terrarium animal friends will also be delighted at what they find near the cenotes. The surrounding jungle is home to a multitude of interesting organisms: From tarantulas to iguanas – be careful of where you step! Packed lunches. We plan to go on a tour of the world-famous temple grounds after our return from Tulum in the late afternoon. We expect there to be less tourists at that time. After that, you will have time to pack for the next leg of the journey. Dinner on your own.

Day 5, Wednesday

Check-out, transfer to the airport and flight to San Jose/Costa Rica. Departure 11:00 – Arrival 16:00 (stop-over in San Salvador, perhaps with an opportunity to take a short tour of the city by taxi). After our arrival in Costa Rica, we are planning an excursion to the cloud forests of Monteverde. Overnight stay in the Mirador Lodge*, (room, breakfast, dinner), located right by the jungle with a view of the active volcano, Arenal. Howler monkeys, toucans, tarantulas and vipers will be our neighbours! Dinner in the lodge

Day 6, Thursday

After breakfast (incl.) Check-out. Guided excursion into the cloud forest reserve, Santa Elena. Frogs, lizards, tarantulas and many other animals live in this impressive habitat. Participants will have the opportunity to explore the habitats in the treetops at high altitudes by using ropes (only for those who can stand heights). We are planning a trip to the large Arenal reservoir, which offers a fully different habitat with the corresponding fauna, in the afternoon. The Arenal volcano with lava usually coming out every hour is in view. We will be able to observe this spectacle by day and by night! Overnight stay in Ecolodge Catarata** (dinner), located next to a river (100m).

Day 7, Friday

Guided excursion to the La Fortuna waterfall located deep in a rain forest gorge. Examinations of the river and the lake at the waterfall. Numerous amphibians and reptiles. Next leg of the journey to Los Chiles on the Nicaraguan border. Opportunities to observe iguanas during the journey. Border crossing and a boat trip across the Rio Frio to San Carlos, short tour of the city, continued journey on Lake Nicaragua to Macarrun Island of the Solentiname archipelago. Overnight stay and dinner (incl.) in the Casitas Espanola Lodge* (breakfast - full board).

Day 8, Saturday

The whole day is set aside for the fauna of Lake Nicaragua. Analysis of the water parameters, fishing, snorkelling and the search for invertebrates will occupy us the whole day. It is only with lots of luck that we will be able to spot the bull sharks and sawfish. Overnight stay in the Casitas Espanola Lodge* (breakfast - full board).

Day 9, Sunday

Early in the morning, return trip to Costa Rica. Boat trip in the Cano Negro National Park, a wetland with an extreme diversity of species. Caymans and basilisks are guaranteed. The extremely rare gaspar fish, a tropical gar (Atractosteus tropicus). Continued journey to Upala and then the Tenorio volcano. Overnight stay (room, breakfast, dinner) in Heliconias Lodge**, with an own forest reserve where you can see snakes often and tapirs with some luck. If the view is clear, you can see all the way to the Solentiname archipelago of Lake Nicaragua. We recommend an exploratory walk in the jungle before dinner.

Day 10, Monday

A guided tour in the surrounding rain forest across swinging bridges that will give us an opportunity to observe the habitats in the treetops. The tour will also provide opportunities for perfect measurement of light and UV from the ground of the virgin forest to the treetops. The wildlife is very diverse here: Iguanas, poison dart frogs, glass frogs and various tree frogs, salamanders, lance-headed vipers, coral snakes and so much more. In the afternoon, we will climb the Enorio volcano and visit Lagune Danta (Lake Tapir). Heliconias Lodge** (breakfast, full board).

Day 11, Tuesday

Early in the morning, we depart for the Gulf of Nicoya and take a fishing boat to one of the largest mangrove swamps in Central America where we should be able to see some crocodiles among other things (the exact time will depend on the tides). Afterwards, we drive back to the San Jose airport. Flight to Guayaquil/Ecuador via Panama. Departure 17:37 – Arrival 22:58 (travelling time 4 hrs. 21 mins.)

Day 12, Wednesday

Flight to Baltra/Galapagos. (Departure 08:10 - Arrival 09:10) Scuba diving will not be permitted on the days of arrival and departure and the day before the day of departure. Accordingly, we have planned a program on land for this day: Darwin Research Station, giant tortoises and the highlands of Santa Cruz Island. Overnight stay in Hotel Mainao* (full board).

Day 13, Thursday

Day for diving and snorkelling: "Floreana". Floreana Island is about 50 km south of Santa Cruz. The diving and snorkelling sites are characterised by relatively calm water and little current, plus good visibility in somewhat cooler water. This is where one finds the best coral colonies, endemic emperor fish, tortoises and most of the existing reef fish species. One can also find mackerels, barracudas, eagle rays, hammerhead shark on occasion and white-tipped reef sharks in deeper waters. Floreana is known as the top site for diving with sea lions.

Day 14, Friday

Day for diving and snorkelling: Gordon’s Rock for the scuba divers and a shallower section of the reef with sea lions and marine iguanas for the snorkelers. At Gordon’s Rock, divers can expect to see large schools of hammerhead sharks. However, the dive site is quite uncomfortable: Currents with a "washing machine effect" and limited visibility at the dive site require experienced divers. In return, it is known as the hot spot for schools of hammerhead sharks.

Day 15, Saturday

We go on the "Tour de Bahia" boat excursion and to the white Garrapatero sandy beach to snorkel from the mainland.

Day 16, Sunday

Day of departure. On the drive to Baltra, we will visit the twin craters, "Los Gemelos". Flight to Quito/Ecuador and then to Europe. Departure 13:00 – Arrival Quito 17:00 – Connecting flight 18:30 via Madrid. Anyone who wishes to can book a subsequent program, for example, to Peru, to the ruins of Cuzco.

Day 17, Monday

Arrival Frankfurt (18:30)

Who can apply?

Every lover of nature who is physically fit and at least 18 years of age (at the start of the expedition) can take part. Although you do not need to have a scuba diving license, you should be interested in snorkelling. Proficiency in German and/or English would be helpful so that communication within the group is not limited to body language.

How to apply?

Complete the Download - PDF - Registration Form, attach a current photo and send it to the following address by 30 August 2011 (postmark): JBL GmbH & Co. KG, Expedition Registration 2012, Dieselstr. 3, 67141 Neuhofen, Germany. We will collect all of the registrations sent by 30 August 2011 and then determine who obtains the available spaces by lot. Prospective participants who have not taken part in a JBL expedition or a JBL workshop yet will be favoured over those who have.

How to apply

Füllen Sie den Anmeldebogen vollständig aus, versehen Sie ihn mit einem aktuellen Foto von Ihnen und senden Sie ihn bis zum 30.08.11 (Poststempel) an: JBL GmbH & Co. KG, Expeditionsanmeldung 2012, Dieselstr. 3, 67141 Neuhofen, Deutschland. Wir sammeln bis zum 30.08.11 alle Anmeldungen und verlosen dann die zur Verfügung stehenden Plätze. Interessenten, die noch nie an einer JBL Expedition oder einem JBL Workshop teilgenommen haben, werden gegenüber Interessenten, die schon einmal dabei waren, bevorzugt.

What are the next steps?

All of the persons who sent in registrations will receive a letter from JBL with a positive or negative response by 15 September 2011. Those who received a positive response must confirm their registration by phone (+49 (0) 6236-4180390) or email (heiko.blessin@jbl.de). In the event that JBL does not receive confirmations for all of the spaces by 30 September 2011, somebody who received a negative response can take the space. That person will be contacted directly by Heiko Blessin by phone or email.

As soon as you have confirmed your participation to JBL, we will pass your name on to the "Flugpoint" travel agency in Mannheim (flugpoint@t-online.de; +49 (0) 621-334499). Mr Peter Barth will send you a written confirmation of your participation by 10 October 2011. All of the participants will then receive another letter from JBL by the end of 2011 with tips on clothing and equipment along with 16 T-shirts (one for each day of the expedition), stickers and a few pieces of equipment.

15 % of the price of the trip must be paid to the Flugpoint travel agency by 24 October 2011. JBL does not make any profit whatsoever on the expedition and pays all of its expenses itself. The rest of the price of the trip must be paid one month before the start of the expedition. You will receive the travel documents and the tickets approx. 3 weeks before departure.

© 03.02.2011 JBL GmbH & Co. KG