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Dive Review of Aggressor Fleet/Cocos Wind Dancer in
Costa Rica/Cocos Island

Aggressor Fleet/Cocos Wind Dancer: "Great Diving and Very Tired Crew", Jun, 2015,

by timothy g warner, IL, US (Sr. Reviewer Sr. Reviewer 8 reports with 7 Helpful votes). Report 8264 has 4 Helpful votes.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 3 stars Food N/A
Service and Attitude 3 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 2 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 2 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments The trip over and back was very calm seas. It did take 42 and 44 hours in perfect conditions due to the limitation of the engines. We were told in the wheelhouse that 1200 rpm is the limit since the grounding and subsequent damage. We understood that this was the first voyage with customers since the accident. Many felt that we missed out on dives due to the need of the captain to return to Puntarenas by midnight Tuesday morning. He claimed that he needed to make high tide but we arrived at 3am. We were also limited to three dives per day with three additional night dives. Quite disappointing given that the other Aggressor boats allow 4 or 5 dives a day. VERY DISAPPOINTED with the high park fee of $245, doubling to $490 plus $30 for a total of $520, after paying for trip. Should have grandfathered in the prepaid guests.

The question came up among the guests that were aware of the grounding (we in the know purposely kept that info to ourselves so as to not create anxiety among the other guests) should the boat be in operation if they are unable/reluctant to go above 1200 rpms or 6.5 to 8 knots in perfect conditions?

Nitrox is $160.00 and 120L tanks are another $90.00. Being a repeat customer did afford me a 10% discount. They have yet to replace the Nitrox membrane and currently mix by hand resulting in a range of 30% to 35% fills. The panga driver calls out the readings and you record. Not PADI recommended.

The diving was spectacular. Of course the white tips were on EVERY dive, there were sightings of Tiger Sharks, especially by Alex. We saw Galapagos sharks frequently, if only for a fleeting amount of time. Saw many hammerheads predominantly at Manuela Deep and Alcyone; some schools, a lot of close encounters and cleaning station shows-they were quite curious and at times we saw them above and below the thermocline at 110 feet. Like fireworks it never got old. We also witnessed gangs of whitetips at night resulting in a very photogenic "feeding frenzy". Let's not forget patches of rock with several moray eels. Also many Moorish Idols, orange eel(ms), and zebra eel. How could I forget the several schools of Big Eye Jacks and various other schools. Then on the last dive we were treated to a show of Mobula Rays for about ten minutes near the surface. Dolphins graced us near Alcyone.

Vis was good to very good. Couple dives vis was poor. Same with the current/surge.

The accommodations had nice mattresses and decent size rooms. Small shower, but that's what the back of the boat is for. Some mustiness and diesel smell, especially when underway. Room and bathroom were clean.

Jorge the bartender/waiter/busboy was very nice and did a terrific job. Everyone, including the vegetarians (they are people too) enjoyed the food and felt the chef accomplished some "high end" restaurant quality and presentation.

Carlos the DiveMaster/Cruise Director also performed well. He kept things light and informative. At the initial meeting he informed all about the death on the Okeanos Aggressor the week before. But, not the grounding in April. Interesting. However, we had a conversation with one of the staff and were told of the grounding incident and about how they were very tired and have not had a break from working since before the grounding in April. His Divemaster skills were excellent.

The Captain/DiveMaster Mauricio was not as well received by some. I witnessed him chastising a woman for not following his directive in front of all. He should also assume that more people spoke spanish on the boat than he was aware. Nonetheless, a fellow guest from Portugal, Pedro, told some of us that he and the other crew frequently had conversations of the guests that were critical and used for laughs amongst themselves. They also thought it was funny that my camera flooded. How does a captain keep his job after allowing his boat to ground. He clearly set a tone of one with a cavalier attitude. There was also a guest who was dropped in the water so far from the rest of the group that he never saw anyone for the whole dive. As for his Divemaster skills I can't endorse him because he always was the last one in the water and the first one out of the water. In my observation he always seemed to be preoccupied with taking pictures and video. My experience on two other Aggressors was that they had separate videographers and Divemasters. This was never the case on this trip. Given the recent history of the two Aggressor boats I expected an overkill of caution and care. Please keep in mind that we were on Panga 2. I can't speak for Panga 1.

Unfortunately, I have to say that their camera handling skills are extremely poor and haphazard. Two times I asked the crew to only grab my camera gear by the handles. At one point I saw them yanking on my gear when the fiber optic cables were tangled with other cameras. And then I noticed on on a dive that my SOLA light on the cold shoe mount was not there. Once on the panga I thankfully saw my light. It had been broken off when the panga driver grabbed my setup by the SOLA light. Others witnessed this and told me. The driver acted as if he did not know. To top the trip off, I told the panga driver again to only grab my camera gear by the handles. Instead, he handed it to me by the front of the camera with his thumb on the housing latch. On my dive, my camera and lens flooded and when I surfaced I saw that the latch was open. It is an Olympus housing that is nearly impossible to unlatch from the rear so I can only surmise that the way the camera was grabbed resulted in unlatching the housing and flooding the camera. Why would someone ever grab camera gear by anything other than the housing?? This is the total opposite of my experience on other Aggressors where the crews have been exceedingly careful with camera gear. Who knows - Could be gremlins, but their pattern of behavior prior to this dive enforces my suspicion. I am now out of pocket about $2,000.00 and a housing overhaul. Not to mention not having a camera for the final four days of a "bucket list" dive trip. Surprisingly, there were not any cameras to rent.
Websites Aggressor Fleet/Cocos Wind Dancer   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Truk Lagoon, Maldives, Egypt, Jamaica, Cozumel, Turks, Costa Rica, Grand Cayman
Closest Airport San Jose Getting There Multiple options with an overnight stay in San Jose following day with bus to boat.

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, rainy, cloudy Seas surge
Water Temp 82-86°F / 28-30°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 40-100 Ft/ 12-30 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions No Deco, no blue water, come up with 500 psi
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas Squadrons
Dolphins Schools Whale Sharks None
Turtles None Whales None
Corals 2 stars Tropical Fish 5 stars
Small Critters 3 stars Large Fish 5 stars
Large Pelagics 5 stars

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter 4 stars Boat Facilities 4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments There was a good size dive table, air hoses, and rinse tanks. They had a computer to review photos and plenty of charging areas. Could also charge in bedroom.
Standard of care from crew of Panga two was the worse I have seen.
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Subscriber's Comments

By report author: timothy g warner in IL, US at Jun 19, 2015 00:45 EST  
Other than the handles
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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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