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Dive Review of Undersea Hunter in
Costa Rica/Cocos Island

August, 2005, an Instant Reader Report by Jeanne & Bill Downey, PA, US
Report Number 2722
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
Over 1000 dives
Where else diving
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

rainy, cloudy  
choppy, currents  
Water Temp
72   to 82    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
60   to 100    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
No decompression diving. 130' maximum. One hour maximum time.  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
1 or 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  1 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
5 stars  
Boat Facilities
4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
4 stars  
Shore Facilities  
Camera table and bins were against a wall. Camera set-up was small and
filled up fast. Also used for snacks, towels, tools, etc. Camera bins each
had individual charging plugs.
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  
1 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
1 stars   
5 stars    
Two days before we were scheduled to fly to Costa Rica, 24 people were
arrested for plotting to blow up at least 10 airborne planes out of the
U.K. These terrorists were watched for months and the plug was pulled when
the plan looked to be imminent. Suddenly, no carry-on bags at all were
allowed on flights out of the U.K.: U.S. flights still allowed carry-ons,
but no liquids or gels of any kindshampoo, deodorant, perfume, make-up,
lip balm, etc. The TV showed long lines of people trying to get on flights
and barrels of personal items thrown out. We moved some things from
carry-on to check-in luggage and nervously headed for the Pittsburgh
airport even earlier than normal. As it turned out, we breezed through
security without having any of our bags opened and had on-time flights all
the way to San Jose, where we caught a shuttle to the Best Western Irizu. 

Pickup for the 2½ hour ride to Puntarenas was the next morning at
11:45am. During the ride we learned a few facts about the country from the
talkative driver. We made the usual lunch stop at a local eatery/souvenir
stand and started getting to know our fellow travelers. When we arrived at
the dock the Undersea Hunter was docked and ready for boarding. The 36 hour
boat ride was fairly smooth. We arrived at Cocos Island about 4am and were
fed and in the water for our first dive at 8am.

During this trip, our fourth, there was a cold green and murky thermocline
that obscured the walls of hammerhead sharks. As we pretended to be rocks,
we could actually see the 72 degree rippling thermocline creeping toward
us; we would have to gradually move up out of reach. In spite of lower
visibility we never ran out of things to photographhundreds of schooling
white-tip sharks, fly-by hammerheads, various schooling fish, marbled rays,
eels, turtles, eagle rays, schooling Moorish Idols, silky sharks, oceanic
black tip sharks, Galapagos sharks, and a bait ball forming with black
jacks and oceanic black tips darting through the school of fish. The night
dive with the white tip sharks feeding was still an event, although not as
frenzied as weve seen it beforemaybe theyre eating too much! Our last
dive, at Dirty Rock, was outstanding, with the hammers finally coming up
close and personalwe sat in the same place for 35 minutes before moving
on. No dive was below an 8 on a scale of 1-10. 

This was our first trip on the Undersea Hunter; its a smaller boat with
less space to roam during the crossing, but still comfortable. Normal
capacity is 14 divers; we had 15, with the 15th person up in the owners
cabin. The lounge area is also the dining area so laptops, magazines, etc.
had to be cleared off the tables before meals. There were two pongas; one
held 7 divers and the other had 8 divers. The crew was great and dive
guides David and Edward very personable and friendly. Captain Nelson took
his turn driving a ponga and acting as dive guide. They are very safety
conscious. Everyone had an EPERB attached to their BC, along with a
signaling tube, small light, and whistle in a small bag for those who did
not have their own. David and Edward switched boats every couple of days
and led the dives. We were expected to stay in sight and all dives were a
maximum of one hour. We did three dives each day, including departure day,
plus night dives. The night white-tip dives were every other night; other
night dives were at sites with regular fish. Food was varied and very good.
Breakfast ranged from eggs to pancakes, plus juice, fresh fruit, and
cereal. Lunches and dinners were large, consisting of salad, entrée,
and side dishes; dessert was served after dinner. Of course, a variety of
snacks and fruit were offered after dives, and cookies were always
available, as were coffee, soft drinks, and tea. Beer was also included,
but only after your diving was done for the day. Wine was available at
additional cost, but you could bring your own on board. Chef Chico
cheerfully accommodated food preferences and allergies.

Our return trip started out smooth but by the time we were half way back to
Puntarenas the ocean was like glass, so they stopped the boat and we jumped
in and swam around for 20 minutes in 8000 foot deep water. We arrived back
at the Puntarenas dock about 2am and were shuttled back to hotels or the
airport after an 8am breakfast. A few of us did a canopy tree-top tour
using zip lines in the afternoon.

Cocos Island is still one of the best places weve every dived, and were
going back again in a couple years. More people are realizing what a
treasure it is and more is slowly being done to protect it. 
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Other dive reports on Undersea Hunter

All Costa Rica Dive Reviews and Reports
Diving Guide to Costa Rica
Diving Reviews for All Dive Destinations

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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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