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Dive Review of Undersea Hunter in
Costa Rica/Coco Island

Undersea Hunter, Jul, 2004,

by Ralph Baker, nv, USA (Reviewer Reviewer 6 reports). Report 1255.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving PNG, Australia, Fiji, Galapagos Isl., British Columbia, caribbean
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather windy, rainy Seas surge
Water Temp 65 to 81 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 6
Water Visibility 50 to 80 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Surface immediatley if you can't see the wall, surface after 60 minutes regardless of extra air.
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas 1 or 2
Dolphins Schools Whale Sharks None
Turtles 1 or 2 Whales >2
Corals 1 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 Lots of camera space, roomy bins to store your stuff, rental equipment to replace what breaks or you forgot.

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

Accommodations 5 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 1 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 1 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments If your mantra is "Hammerheads" this is your place. Sharks are everywhere. Hundreds of scalloped hammerheads, hundreds of white tip reef sharks, usually at least one galapagos shark was spotted on every dive, many many silky sharks, three silver tip (only at the Silverado dive site), and one grey reef shark. Add to this hundreds of marble rays, many turtles, moray eels, a zebra eel, spotted snake eels, red lipped bat fish, very very large yellow fin tuna, and enormous schools of jacks swirling in the blue. I never realized how noisy that many fish are!

Tuesday morning was unbelieveable. On the way to the dive site we snorkled with bottle nose dolphins. At the dive site there were 137+ hammerheads (one of the divers tried to count them but stopped at 137) huge tuna, several different kinds of jacks, and octopus. When we surfaced a mobula ray swam over and wanted to play. We snorkled with it for several minutes. As we reached the Undersea Hunter a humpback whale and calf came by. The captain took us back out and dropped us off right in front of the whale. One snorkler got super video footage of the dolphins riding the bow wave of the whale and the whale charging out of the green and swimming about 20 feet away. Amazing. Then we had lunch. That was a hard 4 hours to top.

You dive from pangas. Your gear is loaded and unloaded for you. The dive sites can be as much as 30 minutes away. The boat anchors on the north side of the island and some dives were on the south side. There is a dive guide on every dive if you want to follow them. The guide does blue water diving and saftey stops so you can see more silky sharks and pelagic action. Nobody did a blue water dive on their own.

There were 14 divers on the boat and they were split between the two pangas. The Aggressor and the Sea Hunter also dive Coco, but both left the day after we arrived, so we had the island pretty much to ourselves.

The thermoclines are drastic. Often the temperature would drop 15 degrees F in just a few feet. Those wearing 3mm suites froze. I rented a 6mm and didn't wear a hood. I was very comfortable both above and below the thermoclines. Wear the extra rubber so you don't limit your dives to above the thermocline.

I also rented a semi-closed circuit rebreather. I believe everybody had at least one "up close and personal" view of a hammerhead. I had many many more. The sharks (hammerheads, silver tips, white tip reef and grey reef sharks)and marble rays would often come right up to my lens. It was very important to not move and not make bubbles.

Currents were ripping. That is meant literally. Masks were ripped off faces and fins torn off feet. Two divers had their tanks drained in less than 5 minutes after backrolling off the panga, because the current pushed in the purge buttons of their octopus. On several occasions you had to pull yourself down the anchor line or pull yourself horizontally along the face of the wall. This can be even more difficult if you have only one hand because the other is holding your camera. That was another advantage of the rebreather. No matter how hard you breath you still have about 2 hours worth of air.

They did 3 divers per day. They offered a 4th dive at night, but after the 3rd night we stopped doing them. There was not that much to see in the more protected spots for night dives. The exception is the white tip reef sharks feeding near Monuelita Island. If it happens it is really exciting. They only did 3 daytime dives because they said they needed to leave enough daylight in case you were swept off by the current. They needed time to find you before dark. This left alot of time for snorkling. Don't miss this opportunity. You will see more sharks, rays and turtles.

They provided a saftey sausage, whistle and radio transmitter. The sausage and whistle are in a small mesh bag. Be sure and practice opening it before you get in the matter. It is very difficult with gloves on!

This is a terrific trip on a fantastic dive boat, but only for those that can deal with large temperature variations and CURRENT.
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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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