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Dive Review of UnderSeahunter in
Costa Rica/Cocos/Malpelos

June, 2003, an Instant Reader Report by Gregg Gaylord, WI, USA
Report Number 870
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
501-1000 dives
Where else diving
Carribean, Asia, Australia, Florida
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

Water Temp
72   to 80    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
30   to 75    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
75 minute dive time.  Dive your own profile.  Decompression dives allowed
for qualified divers. No alcohol until after dive day is done.  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
> 2 
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  2 stars
Tropical Fish
4 stars  
Small Critters
  3 stars
Large Fish
5 stars  
Large Pelagics
  5 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
Boat Facilities
Overall rating for UWP's  
Shore Facilities  
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
5 stars
5 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  
1 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
2 stars   
5 stars    
The FATHOMS MAGAZINE rebreather expedition took on the double island trip
with the SeaHunter visiting first Malpelos for four days, and then Cocos
for four days.  At Malpelos the conditions were rather "barren"
with little leeward protection for the boat, so certification on
rebreathers wa not performed.  Thus, half the divers (who had their own
panga) were on Nitrox open circuit, and the other half were certified
rebreather divers.  Upon reaching Cocos, the open circuit divers switched
to rebreathers as they completed the on-board and in-water certification. 
The trip was led by Bret Gilliam and Fred Garth.  

The diving was superb.  At Malpelos, the "check-out" dive
included one very large Whale Shark.  All told, we had 11 Whale Shark
sightings at five different Malpelos dive sites.  The final dive site
including a pair of Whale Sharks (male/female).  Included at Malpelos were
innumerable hammerheads, silky sharks, eels, mating pompanos, turtles, and
eagle rays.  I have no adjectives to describe this trip.  

Cocos responded with a previously "unwitnessed" event.  We saw
Jacks "cleaning" the ramoras off a whale shark at Alcyon.  Though
the hammerhead action at Cocos was not good, we were still thrilled with
the Silvertip Sharks at the murky, shallow Silverado cleaning station.  Red
Lip Bat Fish were plentiful.  

I don't know if it is possible to "top" this trip.  The SeaHunter
is a spectacular boat.  Comfortable, roomy, well equipped for the 20
rebreather divers (Dolphin Drager semi-closed systems were available though
you could "bring your own" system as long as it was only for
Nitrox heliox).  The captain and crew are the best in the
business.  Divemasters Mario, Nico and Miguel ARE the standard for the
industry.  No offense to any of the many great divemasters out there, but
this IS "As Good As it Gets".

Eight total dive days, with a total of 3 night dives with swarming, hunting
White Tips at Cocos meant a total of 26 dives available.

Beware of flying into San Jose Costa Rica.  While there is nothing wrong
with the airport or Costa Rican people, the weather is a determining factor
as to what COUNTRY you will land in.  I recommend arrival 2 night in
advance of the departure date of the SeaHunter.  If you don't arrive in
advance, you may not have clothes, dive equipment, or a dive boat waiting
for you.  The SeaHunter DID delay their departure by several hours to
gather ALL the guests, and we only missed one single dive at Malpelos.  No
problem.  But certain airlines coming from the East Coast
(Newark/Continental) seem to have the most trouble having passengers arrive
WITH their baggage.  So plan ahead.  San Jose CAN be a fun town, and there
are many jungle trips or white water rafting trips available (ask the
SeaHunter to arrange hotel/side
trips in advance.  
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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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