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Dive Review of Undersea Hunger in
Costa Rica/Cocos Island

July, 2004, an Instant Reader Report by Steve and Beth Welch, IL, USA
Report Number 1328
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
251-500 dives
Where else diving
Mexico, Micronesia, Thailand, Hawaii, Cayman, Florida, Revillagigedos
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, windy, rainy, cloudy  
surge, currents  
Water Temp
68   to 76    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
40   to 80    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
One hour, no deco, 110 feet max.  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  3 stars
Tropical Fish
3 stars  
Small Critters
  3 stars
Large Fish
4 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  
Area for dive equipment was adequate. No problems. 
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
4 stars
4 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  
3 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
1 stars   
5 stars    
We flew Chicago to Houston, then Houston to San Jose. Spent the night in
San Jose to ensure all our baggage arrived. Stayed the the Hotel Grano de
Oro which is recommended by Undersea Hunter, and it was quite nice. 

The next day they picked us up at the hotel and took us to Puntarenas where
we boarded the Undersea Hunter. The boat itself is nice and laid out
excellently for diving.  They don't have an open sun deck (they have a
covered deck) so space is a bit limited. Our cabin, was upstairs next to
the galley. This was beneficial because we did not encounter any deisel
smells or generator noise, which some of the folks who had cabins below
complained about. However, the downside is that as soon as the crew gets up
and begins preparing the kitchen for breakfast, you hear it. We didn't
mind, we like getting up early anyway. They have videos and books on board
in the lounge area which was nice. 

The trip out was VERY rough. Get scopalamine patches and use them. 

Once we got to the island, all the rough passage was forgotten. The island
is beautiful: lush, waterfalls everywhere, and caves around all the islands
and islets. Its history as a pirate haven is well documented and I highly
recommend reading the book about Cocos that they have on the boat. 

We did our checkout dive and the first day of full diving with traditional
scuba gear. We wanted to feel comfortable and had heard a lot about the
strong currents, difficult conditions, etc. Glad we did it that way.
Although there were definitely stong currents and surge at several of the
dive sites, it wasn't as bad as I expected. 

The next day we switched to rebreathers, which we got trained and certified
on earlier in the year.  

The rebreathers worked great and we really enjoyed diving on them. The
sites around the island are exactly as advertised. Tons of white tips,
hammerheads galore, plus silkies, Galapagos, black tips, silver tips,
marble rays, huge schools of fish, etc. We even had a great dolphin
encounter after one dive. We were heading back to the boat (by the way, the
skiffs they use on Undersea Hunter are REAL skiffs, not inflatable
zodiacs). A pod of dolphins surfaced near us so we stopped the boat, threw
on our snorkels and jumped in. One of the dolphins broke off from the pod
and swam with us for 3 or 4 minutes before the pod came back and squeaked
at him and he swam back over to them. I highly encourage snorkeling around
the boat in between dives. I saw striped marlin twice while snorkeling. 

They split you into two groups and you dive with that group the entire
time. Our group was 7 divers, but a couple of them didn't do every dive so
we had nice small groups on every dive. The other group saw a baby whale
shark, although we did not see any during the week. 

We did one dive at Little Dos Amigos where we basically saw a feeding
frenzy right in front of us. We were hunkered down on the rocks in some
nasty current and surge when suddenly a large school of small silver fish
started swimming erratically and bunching together (not a baitball but they
were schooling) and then a bunch of tuna came roaring in and snatching up
the fish, immediately followed by a bunch of Galapagos and silkies. They
were zipping around snatching fish and it was right in front of us. Our
divemaster got a little nervous and had us abort the dive because he felt
the sharks were getting a little too close and were clearly hopped up in
feeding mode. 

The Undersea Hunter and its crew was first rate. The divemasters were
excellent for us: they didn't spend too much time trying to point
everything out, instead they took us around and let us dive our profiles.
Doing the rebreathers with nitrox was great because we never even got close
to deco and most of our dives were full 60 minute dives. We did 3 dives
every day and there was always a night dive, so if you wanted you could get
4 dives in per day. 

Oh, and the trip back from Cocos to Puntarenas was smooth as could be. 
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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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