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Dive Review of UnderSeahunter in
Costa Rica/Cocos/Malpelos

UnderSeahunter, Jun, 2003,

by Gregg Gaylord, WI, USA . Report 870.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Carribean, Asia, Australia, Florida
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather rainy Seas calm
Water Temp 72 to 80 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 5
Water Visibility 30 to 75 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions 75 minute dive time. Dive your own profile. Decompression dives allowed for qualified divers. No alcohol until after dive day is done.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas None
Dolphins Schools Whale Sharks > 2
Turtles > 2 Whales >2
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 N/A Boat Facilities N/A
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments [None]

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

Accommodations 5 stars Food 5 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 2 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments The FATHOMS MAGAZINE rebreather expedition took on the double island trip with the SeaHunter visiting first Malpelos for four days, and then Cocos for four days. At Malpelos the conditions were rather "barren" with little leeward protection for the boat, so certification on rebreathers wa not performed. Thus, half the divers (who had their own panga) were on Nitrox open circuit, and the other half were certified rebreather divers. Upon reaching Cocos, the open circuit divers switched to rebreathers as they completed the on-board and in-water certification. The trip was led by Bret Gilliam and Fred Garth.

The diving was superb. At Malpelos, the "check-out" dive included one very large Whale Shark. All told, we had 11 Whale Shark sightings at five different Malpelos dive sites. The final dive site including a pair of Whale Sharks (male/female). Included at Malpelos were innumerable hammerheads, silky sharks, eels, mating pompanos, turtles, and eagle rays. I have no adjectives to describe this trip.

Cocos responded with a previously "unwitnessed" event. We saw Jacks "cleaning" the ramoras off a whale shark at Alcyon. Though the hammerhead action at Cocos was not good, we were still thrilled with the Silvertip Sharks at the murky, shallow Silverado cleaning station. Red Lip Bat Fish were plentiful.

I don't know if it is possible to "top" this trip. The SeaHunter is a spectacular boat. Comfortable, roomy, well equipped for the 20 rebreather divers (Dolphin Drager semi-closed systems were available though you could "bring your own" system as long as it was only for Nitrox diving...no heliox). The captain and crew are the best in the business. Divemasters Mario, Nico and Miguel ARE the standard for the industry. No offense to any of the many great divemasters out there, but this IS "As Good As it Gets".

Eight total dive days, with a total of 3 night dives with swarming, hunting White Tips at Cocos meant a total of 26 dives available.

Beware of flying into San Jose Costa Rica. While there is nothing wrong with the airport or Costa Rican people, the weather is a determining factor as to what COUNTRY you will land in. I recommend arrival 2 night in advance of the departure date of the SeaHunter. If you don't arrive in advance, you may not have clothes, dive equipment, or a dive boat waiting for you. The SeaHunter DID delay their departure by several hours to gather ALL the guests, and we only missed one single dive at Malpelos. No problem. But certain airlines coming from the East Coast (Newark/Continental) seem to have the most trouble having passengers arrive WITH their baggage. So plan ahead. San Jose CAN be a fun town, and there are many jungle trips or white water rafting trips available (ask the SeaHunter organization...www.underseahunter.com) to arrange hotel/side trips in advance.
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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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