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Dive Review of Sea Hunter in
Costa Rica/Cocos Island

Sea Hunter: "Outstanding", Jul, 2018,

by Catriona Steele, Honiara, Solomon Islands ( 1 report with 3 Helpful votes). Report 10367 has 3 Helpful votes.

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 4 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments DIVING

This trip was a long time coming and it far exceeded expectations. The diving in Cocos is difficult to put into words, and it is hard to believe that such a place still exists. You go expecting lots of hammerheads etc, but nothing can prepare you for the sheer numbers of both sharks and other pelagic species. Schools of jacks in numbers I have never encountered before. Schools of hundreds of hammerheads in the blue on almost every dive, as well as close encounters with individual hammerheads, tigers, galapagos, silvertips, silkies and oceanic black tips. There was not a single dive without hammerheads, including our check out dive and a macro dive. It is an overwhelmingly beautiful place.

Overall, the dive operation is top notch, with excellent skiffs that can cope easily with the sometimes rough conditions around Cocos (in contrast, the Aggressor only has zodiacs, which are a lot less comfortable). Gear stays on the skiffs throughout the week. Each diver is equipped with a Nautilus Lifeline at no cost. The dive protocols are heavily focused around safety, and the whole operation is superbly organised. The dive deck is spacious and there are multiple large rinse tanks with consistently clean and fresh water.

There were a couple of niggles (which I raised with the operator). Firstly, as a result of the recent tiger attack, safety practices have been improved so that individuals no longer surface in buddy pairs. A very good idea, with some problems in the execution. There are two groups of up to 10 divers each (diving alternate sites) and the entire group has to surface when the first diver is low on air. With groups of up to 10, this can be problematic, because it is almost impossible to ensure a similar level of experience and air consumption across that many divers - as a result, in our group we had a few people who were pretty inexperienced or hadn't dived for years, and others who were very experienced and frustrated by the dive times. There was a 60 minute dive limit, but we only achieved that a couple of times throughout the week - on days 1 and 2, we had divers out of air after only 30 or 35 mins, and 45 mins was the average dive time. Considering only 3 dives a day are possible, this was disappointing. A solution to this problem would be to increase the number of DMs and dive 2 smaller groups per skiff if there is a wide range of abilities, so people can be more appropriately grouped.

Another niggle was that the groups swap DMs mid-way through the week, and while our first DM (Juan Manuel) was outstanding, our second DM was the opposite. Won't go into it in detail here, as the issues have been raised with Sea Hunter by a few divers on the trip - I'm sure he will be great with a bit of mentoring from the more senior DMs. My overwhelming impression of the DM situation on the Sea Hunter will be how awesome Juan Manuel was - the best!

One final thing to note is that there are no night dives in Cocos until further notice (following the tiger incident). Fair enough. It would have been nice to know this in advance, as I wouldn't have lugged my torches there. The company includes reference to the night dive in the pre-departure literature you are sent, which was not updated following the suspension of night diving (we didn't even get told in the briefing on day one, and had to ask a couple of days in). A quick email before departure would have been courteous.

I need to emphasise that these niggles in no way overshadowed what was a truly outstanding trip. There are always ways to improve but this was a 5 star trip.

VESSEL

The Sea Hunter is a fabulous vessel with excellent cabin accommodation. Our standard cabin had a double bed, plenty of room to move and more than enough storage for 2 people (have you ever had more drawers and cupboards than you can use on a liveaboard before?!). The en-suite bathroom was more spacious than most with a truly excellent shower. The saloon and dining areas were comfortable and spacious, and there is a large sundeck with chairs and loungers. Plenty of space all round for a full load of passengers and crew.

FOOD & BEV

The food was plentiful with lots of variety and plenty of fresh vegetables and salad, and ample snacks between dives. Complimentary soft drinks and beer are included, and wines are reasonably priced. There are no spirits for sale, but you are welcome to bring your own (note the range of mixers is limited no tonic).

CREW

Wow! What an awesome bunch of people. Continually helpful, consistently friendly and smiling, and so damn funny! Cannot praise every one of them highly enough, from skiff drivers, to engineer, to waiter to kitchen staff. Outstanding. We were so well taken care of and had an absolute ball thanks to these guys.

OVERALL IMPRESSION

Have fallen for Cocos and the Sea Hunter, hook, line and sinker. Already booking for next year.
Websites Sea Hunter   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Indonesia, Red Sea, Solomon Islands, PNG, Fiji, Vanuatu, Nauru, Australia, Thailand, Tanzania, Malaysia, Malta
Closest Airport San Jose Getting There Sea Hunter picks up divers from San Jose for a 2-2.5 hour transfer to Puntarenas.

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy, rainy, cloudy Seas calm, choppy, surge, currents
Water Temp 21-28°C / 70-82°F Wetsuit Thickness 5
Water Visibility 10-25 M / 33-82 Ft

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions Required to dive as a group and surface as a group when the first diver reached 50 bar.
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas None
Dolphins 1 or 2 Whale Sharks 1 or 2
Turtles None Whales None
Corals 2 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 5 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 5 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments Every diver has a dry storage cubby on the dive deck with charging outlets. There are two air guns on a large camera table, also on the dive deck. Two large, clean rinse tanks are available for cameras and computers.
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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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