Trip Reports

Vessel
Sea Hunter
Argo
Undersea Hunter
Year
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© copyright by Undersea Hunter Group
© copyright by Undersea Hunter Group
© copyright by Undersea Hunter Group
Bait balls are basically the holy grail of scuba diving. Jacks and other schooling fish swarm together in a doomed attempt to fool larger predators into thinking they are collectively bigger and more dangerous than everything else in the ocean. Who wouldn’t want to witness that kind of turbocharged underwater activity?

The impressive bait ball we stumbled upon on day 5 was definitely the highlight of this trip. We stared, dumbstruck, as dolphins, Galapagos sharks, white tips, black tips, tigers and massive tuna darted in and out of a huge sphere of schooling fish that had suddenly materialized before our very eyes. Turtles, marbled rays, eagle rays and mobulas turned up to add to the show.

Visibility was incredible pretty much the entire voyage, and we saw 6 different species of shark. Although we came across tiger sharks on multiple dives, each encounter was just as exciting as the next. The 3-meter long adult silvertip we glimpsed on one of the night dives was particularly special, as we have not seen an adult of this species at Cocos Island for quite some time.

Currents were unusually strong for most of the trip, but it only added to the excitement and adventure (not to mention that strong currents equal happy sharks and other pelagic predators). One of the more rough days we took a break from the current to hike the island all the way from Wafer to Chatham Bay. The views were gorgeous, and we saw curious pigs, deer and rats en route (all of which were originally brought to the island centuries ago by pirates). All in all, it was an unforgettable voyage.

Dive Conditions
Currents  
mild
strong
Visibility   58 ft / 18 m
Water Temp.   80°F / 27°C
Weather
Climate  
sunny
rainy
Sea  
calm
choppy
Crossings
to Cocos Island  
calm
choppy
to Puntarenas  
calm
choppy
© copyright by Undersea Hunter Group
© copyright by Undersea Hunter Group
© copyright by Undersea Hunter Group
This very first trip of 2015 on the Sea Hunter set an excellent precedent for the rest of the year. The Manuelita Coral Gardens and Dirty Rock were by far the hottest dive sites this time around; we spotted tiger sharks at the coral gardens and in the channel, plus huge schools of hammerheads and big-eye jacks out in the blue at Roca Sucia. The night dives were turbocharged, with hundreds of whitetips swarming the rocks and competing with each other over the same unfortunate prey.

On the hike from Wafer Bay to Chatham, we marveled at several unforgettable views of the island from the lookout points at the highest sections of the trail. Our group got up close and personal with some curious island pigs that stopped by to inspect us. These friendly pigs were brought here centuries ago by pirates that used Cocos as a place to regroup after pillaging -- and also as an ideal spot to hide their stolen booty. They wanted a relatively quick meat source that would be easy to hunt down and cook when they tired of eating fish (who wouldn’t get sick of eating fish when you live on the ocean 24-7?). The only other viable sustenance on the island were brown booby birds, which are comparatively difficult to catch and don’t make for very good eating.

The crossings both there and back were smooth and uneventful, and everyone enjoyed the downtime to relax and watch movies about Cocos Island. On the way home, we all compared stories, photos and underwater footage.

Dive Conditions
Currents  
mild
strong
Visibility   47 ft / 14 m
Water Temp.   84°F / 29°C
Weather
Climate  
sunny
rainy
Sea  
calm
choppy
Crossings
to Cocos Island  
calm
choppy
to Puntarenas  
calm
choppy
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