Trip Report

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© copyright by Juan Manuel Camargo - Undersea Hunter Group

© copyright by Juan Manuel Camargo - Undersea Hunter Group
© copyright by Juan Manuel Camacho 
© copyright by Juan Manuel Camargo
© copyright by Juan Manuel Camargo
At 6:20am on our last day at Cocos Island, we watched from the boat as a green sea turtle swam circles near Manuelita Island, fighting for her life. She was being chased by a 3.5-meter tiger shark that was in hot pursuit, that desperately wanted to eat her. (Fresh sea turtle is a tiger’s favorite snack). The chase was so riveting we couldn't take our eyes off them, but the creatures slipped out of view before we were able to see who won – the hunted, or the hunter. The experience was unforgettable, and even veteran dive guide Edwar Herreño, who has 9000+ dives and 12 years at Cocos under his belt, was mesmerized.

Later that same day, a baitball materialized before us at Dirty Rock and we watched as dolphins, sharks and enormous tuna hunted right in front of us. The energy in the water was electric, and you could hear the blood-curdling CRUNCH every time a shark bit a fish in half. The action was insane.

This trip was one for the record books.

But let’s start at the beginning. We departed from the pier at Puntarenas on April 22nd. On the way we saw many dolphins and two graceful humpback whales. The Sea Hunter was hosting a big group of marine biologists, led by Randall Arauz of Pretoma and Todd Steiner of the Turtle Island Restoration Network. Over the course of the week they tagged 11 sharks, among them hammerheads, Galapagos and silkies. They took tissue samples of hammerheads and whitetips, and synced all of the receiver info from the already-tagged sharks (and replaced the batteries on them).

The best site of the trip was probably Dirty Rock, simply for the sheer quantity of schooling hammerheads that we saw there. Manuelita Coral Garden was a close second, and there we had many tiger shark sightings and saw tons of hammerheads at the cleaning station. The most fantastic night dive of the week was at Manuelita Coral Garden, when a Galapagos shark hunted for whitetips and almost caught one! The Galapagos put on a spellbinding (albeit unnerving) show for us for about 20 minutes.

Manuelita Outside and Alcyone were great for seeing silkies; and we saw blacktips at Punta Maria and Dos Amigos Pequeño. On one dive at Manuelita Outside a pregant 4.5-m tiger shark came so close that it almost bumped into one of our diver’s cameras.

This particular trip to Cocos Island was one of those magical experiences that no one on board will ever forget. At sunset on the last day, as we left the island a pod of dolphins swam beside the Sea Hunter as if to see us off – like a truly perfect storybook ending.

Dive Conditions
Currents  
mild
strong
Visibility   86 ft / 26 m
Water Temp.   85°F / 29°C
Weather
Climate  
sunny
rainy
Sea  
calm
choppy
Crossings
to Cocos Island  
calm
choppy
to Puntarenas  
calm
choppy

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