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Dive Review of Sea Hunter in
Costa Rica/Cocos Island

July, 2003, an Instant Reader Report by Patrick Wikstrom, NC, USA
Report Number 771
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
501-1000 dives
Where else diving
Socorro Islands, Roatan, South Africa, Costa Rica, Channel Islands,
Massachusetts, North Carolina, Bonaire, Cozumel, Florida, Yucatan Caves,
Bahamas, Little Cayman  & Brac, Belize, Turks & Caicos, Indonesia,
Thailand, Cocos
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

windy, rainy  
choppy, currents  
Water Temp
75   to 82    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
30   to 90    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
experienced divers were given great freedom. No Po2 greater than 1.6, 90
min max dive time  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
1 or 2 
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  3 stars
Tropical Fish
3 stars  
Small Critters
  3 stars
Large Fish
5 stars  
Large Pelagics
  5 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
5 stars  
Boat Facilities
5 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
5 stars  
Shore Facilities  
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
5 stars
4 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
2 stars  
Shore Diving  
1 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
1 stars   
5 stars    
   Crouching in a semi circle in the sand, or clutching the boulder ridges
along the side walls of Alcyone, we watched in awe as literally hundreds of
Hammerheads poured down upon us. Wave after wave of Hammers swam out of the
distance over our group and then passed on, only to be repeated five or ten
minutes later by another squadron. The  site popped and flashed with the
gleam of strobe lights as divers bagged close ups and silhouettes
obtainable at just a few dive sites on the globe. 
   Led by Bret Gilliam, of Fathoms Magazine, our group of Drager Dolphin
divers was either previously certified or completed the training on the 36
hour crossing from Puntarenas to Cocos. Both the training and rebreather
equipment on board the Sea Hunter was first rate. Although the trip price
was slightly more than the base price if booked directly from Sea Hunter it
included the training costs, rebreather rental, nitrox, and rebreather
supplies for the seven days of diving. This all-inclusive format beat the
ala-carte pricing and turned out to be a bargain from my standpoint. The
120ft long Sea Hunter, which was recently completely re-fitted, is a
stable, well designed dive boat with a large salon, separate dining area,
computer and video workroom, large sundeck (both covered and open), and a
huge dive deck. Facilities for photographers were the best Ive found on
ten live-aboard trips. Cabins were clean, had private en-suite baths, ample
storage space, but no individual air-conditioning controls. I shared a
triple cabin and had sufficient personal space. Food was generally
excellent, with copious quantities served with decorative flare. Decent
Chilean wines were available at $12 per bottle and beer was $1.50 a can. No
other booze was available. 
   With the exception of the Captain who was a little bit aloof and didnt
socialize much, the ships crew was absolutely spectacular. The
divemasters, Miguel and Mario, were friendly, helpful and adept at finding
neat stuff and doubled as videographers,  producing a first class trip
documentary. Cooks and kitchen staff were attentive and friendly, panga
drivers were professional and proficient at tracking us down when we popped
up all over the ocean, and the engineers and other crew were all sociable
and helpful as they went about their business. The boat itself is equipped
with redundant generators, compressors, a huge nitrous bank, and all manner
of modern electronics and diver safety equipment. 
   Except for the first checkout dive all diving was done from two hard
bottomed pangas which broke the passengers up into two groups and went to
the sites in an alternating pattern. We never had more than ten divers on
any site. Entry was by backward roll and re-entry was via sturdy metal
ladders. Audible and visual surface signaling devices were mandatory, and
supplied if necessary, along with personal radio locators whos antenna had
a maddening propensity for falling off. Most dives were free-swimming
gentle drifts but big current sites like Alcyone were hooked first with
divers descending and ascending the anchor line. Two morning, one
afternoon, and night dives every other day were offered. Solo diving and
moderate decompression diving was tacitly allowed although most divers
stayed with their groups. Dive times lasted as long as 83 minutes with
rebreathers, depths were governed by site configuration, oxygen issues, and
decompression obligations. This is advanced diving and divers were treated
like the experienced adults we mostly were. Water temps averaged 80-82
degrees with colder thermoclines and currents in the mid 70s  visibility
varied from 30 to 90ft. The weather topside varied throughout each day from
torrential downpours to beaming sunshine. The island itself is a beautiful
pre-historic looking mountain rising from the sea with numerous waterfalls
pouring out of the islands flanks and lush jungle growing down to the
waters edge. 
   The underwater bio-diversity at Cocos was truly unbelievable. Huge
schools of Jacks and sardines whirled and swirled in and out of baitball
configurations. Giant Marble Rays cruised the rocky outcrops, Eagle Rays
skimmed the sandy bottoms, Green Turtles chomped on sponges, Yellowfin Tuna
zoomed by, Manta Rays and Dolphins joined our safety stops, and I logged
seven species of sharks during my adventure. (Whitetip reef, Blacktip Reef,
Silkys, Galapagos, Silvertips, Hammers, and a Whale Shark). Sharks were
truly everywhere with multiple species noted on every dive. Dont expect
much colorful coral or spectacular macro but the big animal action of the
rocky pinnacles like Dirty Rock, Alcyone, or the three different approaches
of Manuelita Island offer up truly spectacular adventure diving. Best trip
of my life!!      
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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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