Remember me
Lost Password Register

Hammerheads of Cocos Isle Costa Rica
01-31-2011, 02:50 PM,
Hammerheads of Cocos Isle Costa Rica
I just returned from Cocos Isle where I spent ten days on the luxury liveaboard Argo, operated by the Undersea Hunter group (Sea Hunter, Undersea Hunter, Argo).  This was a last minute opportunity to fill a vacancy, and the trip leader offered me the space for free, in exchange for some rebreather training for himself and guests aboard the Argo.  Hmmmm…sounds fair?

It had been 7 years since I brought my own store group of CCR divers to Cocos, and it was a thrilling experience filming the schools of hammerhead sharks, rays, Galapagos sharks and whale sharks.  I quickly packed two ccr’s, my passport and a 5 mm suit with hood.

On arrival in San Jose, Costa Rica I stayed one night at an eco resort north of the airport, and the next day met the group.  We traveled the 2 ½ hours to Puntarenas, and along the way did Zip Line tours of the jungle canopy.  Wow, its amazing to be gliding on a thin wire rope 150 feet off the forest floor, seeing McCaw parrots in the trees, etc.  I would highly recommend a few days before and after a dive excursion to see some of the amazing sites in Costa Rica like the volcanoes, every imaginable flowering plant and orchids that grow like weeds, alligators in the rivers, birds, dry and wet forests.
The MV Argo is a 130 foot luxury liveaboard suited for only 16 guests, with very-very nice cabins, lots of space in lounges to relax post dive, great food, well equipped for photographers, plus the mini submersible capable of taking people on 1000 foot wall dives.  After training the two Israeli submersible pilots on ccr, they offered me the chance to do a submersible dive….I was so busy training divers on ccr’s that I actually passed on the opportunity –dooooh!

The Cocos Isle area is experiencing a La Nina which is a lowering of the water temperatures by a few degrees, but significant to change the animals territory.  After the first day of diving the hot spots and not seeing any hammerheads, we also discovered that the cleaning stations were absent of cleaning fish?  While I was training divers on the KISS ccr in the shallows of Manulita Coral Gardens, we were constantly buzzed by single curious hammerheads and group fly-overs.  As soon as I showed my videos in the salon, I was overwhelmed with requests to provide ccr dives at Manulita.  Every diver that made training dives in the Manulita Coral Gardens was overwhelmed by the experience of how close all of the marine life would get, as well as see the groups of hammerheads that Cocos is famous for.

While on the surface, I was able to meet a group of scientist that were aboard the Oceans, including Dr. Hammerhead and his team of Discovery Channel photographers.  The scientist made a couple dives in the Sea Hunter submersible, and the remainder of the time we saw them at dive sites tagging and recording the movements of Tiger sharks which are new to the Cocos Islands.  The scientists were also trying to determine just where the schooling hammerheads were, and reasoned that the cold water was keeping the sharks from cruising their normal hangouts.

Once I started training ccr divers, I was in the water for 5 dives a day and only missed seeing groups of hammerheads on one day.  This is unique because the rest of the divers on open circuit would only spot a distant hammerhead on rare occasions.  Aside from the hammerhead sharks, I enjoyed a dive with dolphins, eagle rays, marble rays, Galapagos sharks, and countless white tips.  I was keeping an eye out for the Tiger sharks...but only saw them from the surface hunting in shallow waters.  It was a great opportunity to train 9 divers on the KISS ccr, and I was able to squeeze a little time on my camera/video.  This is definitely a must see destination, and I highly recommend the Undersea Hunter group.

Good Diving


Attached Files Thumbnail(s)

.jpg   Mike Hammer.jpg (Size: 78.62 KB / Downloads: 74)
.jpg   Ridlon KISS 2.jpg (Size: 68.07 KB / Downloads: 82)
.jpg   Arik Reuban Marilyn.jpg (Size: 145.02 KB / Downloads: 63)
.jpg   Bait Ball.jpg (Size: 248.44 KB / Downloads: 67)
03-07-2011, 08:34 PM,
Re: Hammerheads of Cocos Isle Costa Rica
Very cool thanks for sharing.  Definitely on the bucket list

Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)