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Dive Review of Okeanos Aggressor in
Costa Rica/Cocos Island

August, 2008, an Instant Reader Report by Brent Barnes, OK, USA
Sr. Reviewer   (10 reports, with 3 Helpful votes)
Report Number 4400
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
251-500 dives
Where else diving
Cayman, Saba, St. Eustatius, Florida Keys, Cozumel, California, Bahamas
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

choppy, currents  
Water Temp
74   to 83    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
30   to 80    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
1 or 2 
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  2 stars
Tropical Fish
4 stars  
Small Critters
  2 stars
Large Fish
4 stars  
Large Pelagics
  5 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
5 stars  
Boat Facilities
4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
5 stars  
Shore Facilities  
Large, separate rinse buckets for cameras with large 3-tiered camera table.
Recharging of batteries must be done in salon of the Aggressor, cannot be
done in individual cabins. Ample space for cameras though there will always
be multiple large camera setups on board.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
4 stars
4 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
5 stars
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
4 stars    
3 stars   
5 stars    
Flew into to San Jose two days before our departure. Spent a day doing
white water rafting down the Pacuare River which was fantastic. Multiple
companies will pick you up at your hotel and take you to the river for
rafting. The pick-up for white water rafting will be early, usually between
6:00 AM and 7:00 AM and return will be late in the afternoon. The Aggressor
picks up passengers at the Marriott Courtyard and Alta Hotel in San Jose
before a 3 hour departure to Puntarenas to board the Okeanos Aggressor. The
ride is scenic in an air-conditioned small bus though the bus is cramped if
the boat is full. The Okeanos departs shortly after everyone boards. The
cabins are small but adequate with a double bed and twin bed in bunk bed
style. Each cabin has a television with a DVD and a small storage area.
Bring multiple movies as it will pass the time on the 34 hour crossing. The
crossing was calm but can sometimes be very rough. We had several encouters
with large pods of dolphins on the crossing over. The bathrooms are very
small, about the size of a closet with nothing but a toilet and shower
head. The food was varied and excellent. The crew is outstanding and works
very hard to serve all passengers. 
The diving is outstanding. Each diver has a dive locker with ample room to
hold dive gear. You set up you gear for the first dive which will be a
giant stride off the Okeanos for a check-out dive in Chatham Bay. After
that, gear is kept on pangas and you do not need to touch it until the end
of the trip. After the initial check out dive, all dives are off pangas
with 10 divers per panga. The two dive masters switch pangas each day so
you get to work with both. Both divemasters (Javi and Berto) were
excellent. Requests for dive sites were solicited and generally followed.
Dives are generally deep approaching 100 feet though divers may certainly
stay more shallow for longer dives. Dive times of 50 minutes are suggested
but not strictly enforced. Dives are guided but you may choose to dive your
own profile and many divers did. There are not many dive sites so you will
dive multiple sites many times but almost all sites are outstanding. We
dove Manuelita Island eleven times though there are three distinct dives on
that island that are all different - Manuelita shallows, Manuelita deep
with wall right and Manuelita deep with wall left. Dove Alcyone four times,
Dirty Rock three times and other sites once or twice. Saw hammerheads on
every dive except Manuelita shallows with large schools at Dirty Rock and
Punta Maria. Had close encounters with hammerheads at cleaning stations at
Dos Amigos Pequena, Alcyone and Manuelita Island. Alcyone was somewhat
disappointing but reportedly has not had as much action this year compared
to Manuelita and Dirty Rock. Hammerheads are challenging to take photos of
as they are skiddish when around divers and diver bubbles, but all divers
had multiple close encounters with them. A large whale shark was seen by
one panga at Dirty Rock. Silverado is a dive that allows close encounters
with large silvertip sharks as there is a cleaning station there. However,
if the silvertips are not there the dive is very boring. We spent 57
minutes at Silverado with no sharks and literally passed the time playing
tic-tac-toe in the sand for awhile. Only after a few divers surfaced did 2
silvertips show up and spend 15 minutes swimming closely between us. They
are among the most beautiful sharks I have seen. Three frogfish are
reliably seen on Manuelita island. The check-out dive at Chatham Bay was
outstanding with a nice encounter with a very large manta ray. Mantas were
seen on several other dives. A school of thousands of large jacks will
almost always be on the pinnacle of Dirty Rock making for great photo
opportunites. The diving is challenging but not excessively so. Currents
can be strong and actually the stronger the current the more likely you
will see pelagics. Throughout our trip, when there was a nice current at
Manuelita we would see small groups of eagle rays, mantas or groups of
hammerheads. If there was no current we would see much less. Though the
currents can be challenging, the panga will pick up divers so you do not
have to worry about navigating back to a boat against current. All dives
are drift and at the end of your dive you simply do your safety stop and
surface and the panga will pick you up. Night dives are allowed only at two
sites, Manuelita shallows and Chatham Bay. Manuelita shallows will have
large numbers of hunting white-tips each night. They ignore divers and you
can acutally drop right down within them while they are hunting and they
will not bother you at all. Chatham Bay will have huge numbers of a variety
of puffers which allow divers to get up close for photos. All divers are
taken on shore for an afternoon during the trip to experience Chatham Bay
and the beauty of Cocos Island. Generally, longer hiking excursions are
offered later in the trip if weather permits. The island itself is one of
the most beautiful areas I have ever seen with many waterfalls and lush
rainforest. It is truly a unique place on earth both above and below water.
Cocos Island is called the island of the sharks and does not disappoint. My
only disappointment was finding out that the trip after us had an greater
than one hour encounter with 5 large tiger sharks in Manuelita Shallows
less than a week after our trip! Tigers are occasionally seen but they had
never seen a group of them - we missed it by only a few days! It appears
you never know what to expect at Cocos Island. 
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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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