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Dive Review of Undersea Hunger in
Costa Rica/Cocos Island

Undersea Hunger, Jul, 2004,

by Steve and Beth Welch, IL, USA . Report 1328.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Mexico, Micronesia, Thailand, Hawaii, Cayman, Florida, Revillagigedos
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy, rainy, cloudy Seas surge, currents
Water Temp 68 to 76 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 7
Water Visibility 40 to 80 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions One hour, no deco, 110 feet max.
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas None
Dolphins 1 or 2 Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 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 N/A
UW Photo Comments Area for dive equipment was adequate. No problems.

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 4 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 3 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 1 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments 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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