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Dive Review of Sea Hunter in
Costa Rica/Cocos Is

Sea Hunter: "Great Operation, Great Destination, Lousy Timing", Jul, 2015,

by John Sommerer, MD, US (Contributor Contributor 15 reports with 6 Helpful votes). Report 8344.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 4 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments A somewhat difficult review to write, as this was a long-awaited trip where the wildlife was not what we hoped for. The trip report from the week before us was awesome, that from the trip following ours was also awesome, but ours was more "meh." Luck of the draw. We saw hammers, tigers, galapagos, and whitetips a-plenty, but except for the whitetips, not generally close up. Current was mostly low, temperatures were high, and the sharks were distant. The cleaning stations, populated by evermore desperate barber fish, were clearly evident, with the cleaners high in the water, but no business. I had previously read that if the temps were too high, the hammers in particular would be deep, but my observation was that they weren't particularly deep, they were just out in the blue. In fact, most of our dives involved a quick check on the cleaning stations, maybe with a mediocre pass or two, and without even waiting for deco, bailing to spend the rest of the hour in the blue, where we would occasionally see distant sharks, or even a school. This was thrilling when it happened, but the photographic results were marginal. Must say, the whitetip-oriented night dives were really something.

First-class operation, at first-class prices. Not really boutique diving like Damai, but big-dog diving for experienced divers. Many of the other passengers were world-class photographers, so there was lots to learn from them. The relatively small crew was outstanding and hard-working. I got a little confused about the crew roster, and felt it was odd that none of us had seen the captain, until it was pointed out that he was our skiff driver. Cruise director and divemaster Jaume ("Jim") Pericas was probably the best such person I've ever dealt with. Personable, serious, fun, charming, and polite, he was equally good under the water (an amazing spotter), and above doing briefings or providing the next day's itinerary at dinner. The last thing said on the skiff before back roll entry was "have a good dive everybody," and the last thing before boarding the ship was "thank you," and "may I help you with your camera."

Operation owner Avi Klapfer was aboard for our trip, which was a real bonus. He had a lot of great stories, and hearing how he built the operation, and the deep submersible DeepSea, was fascinating.

We did the deep dive (>300m) on the DeepSea as a bucket list item (actually we both had substantial experience with military submarines, but those don't have windows). The Argo-based operation was really outstanding, including a thorough safety briefing that included what to do if the pilot lost consciousness. The dive itself was fascinating technologically, and we saw (a few) really interesting things. Avi also arranged for the DeepSea to meet the divers at reasonable depths for exterior photography. Not something that usually happens, but another bonus of his presence.

The cabins are a little on the small side, but well appointed. The marine heads are marginal -- you for sure don't want to be constipated, or flushing will be problematic. The food was plentiful, and well prepared, but a little on the bland side. What was amazing and welcome was the huge quantity of fresh fruit and vegetables that they carried. After-dive fruit snacks (especially the mango) were accompanied by baked goods, but the fruit was the star (and in fact, there was starfruit).

The optional hike on Cocos Island is certainly worth the effort, particularly if it's clear.

Transfer from and to San Jose was seamless, and the operator for that is really quite an operator; he pitched some value added return itineraries to prevent arrival before hotel checkin times. We would have liked to have joined in, but we had a rental car waiting back in San Jose, and a drive to the south that I wanted to complete before dark. No problem, a separate van was waiting for us and one other couple at the dock on the morning of departure.

We'll certainly be back for another try.
Websites Sea Hunter   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Alaska, Caribbean, Costa Rica, Indonesia, Galapagos, Maldives, Melanesia, Micronesia, Polynesia, Revillagigedos
Closest Airport SJO Getting There New direct flight from BWI on Southwest Airlines

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, rainy, cloudy, dry Seas calm, choppy, surge, currents, no currents
Water Temp 79-84°F / 26-29°C Wetsuit Thickness 5
Water Visibility 30-100 Ft/ 9-30 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions Official max depth 110. Some subjects were worth pushing your MOD a little. Recommend setting your pO2 limit to 1.5, rather than go with usual 1.4. Return to boat with reasonable amount of air (~400psi). Group must stay reasonably together.
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas 1 or 2
Dolphins Schools Whale Sharks None
Turtles 1 or 2 Whales None
Corals 1 stars Tropical Fish 3 stars
Small Critters 3 stars Large Fish 5 stars
Large Pelagics 4 stars

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

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities 3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments There is limited space on the dive deck for camera setups. Our trip was ALL photographers, most with very large gear (up to a RED Epic that looked more like a DPV). Lots of good behavior by people setting up and then putting their stuff away in a cubby, but, luck of the draw, one very large SLR in Subal housing was almost always sitting on my horizontal work surface. Good rinse tanks, refilled with fresh water every day. Crew very careful, and very helpful.
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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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