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Steve Douglas

Dive the Cocos Islands of Costa Rica-July 30th-Aug.9 2011

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So many tried to sign on for our Cocos trip in 2008 and couldn't get aboard as they simply waited too long. The Cocos Islands are my absolute favorite place to dive for the large marine pelagics. After 11 trips there I never get bored and always surprised at what awaits us. On the last trip we had 5 tiger sharks up close and personal in 25ft water for 2 days and 5 dives. As always, paying attention to the time of year is most important for the Cocos and the summer months are the time to go where you will see large schools of hundreds of hammerheads, thousands of white tip sharks, usually plenty of silver tips, galopagos and silky sharks and, of course, the always appreciated whale sharks. We will be aboard the Okeanos Aggressor which has been greatly upgraded, for the 10 day trip. Each cabin is 4235.00 and there will be a one night stay at a hotel(price should be about 150.00) and the park fee. That's it and there is plenty of info on the website at: www.worldfilmsandtravel.com

 

Of course, feel free to email me at: steve-sharksdelight@cox.net

Hope to have you all aboard

Steve Douglas

 

Okeanos Aggressor

 

After an overnight journey of 375 miles in the Pacific Ocean, 22 lucky divers arrive at one of the most coveted dive destinations in the world, Cocos Island, Costa Rica. A week later, they return to civilization with memories of swimming with hundreds of hammerhead sharks, photographing graceful mantas and splashing in waterfalls on one of the world's largest uninhabited islands.

 

This 10 day trip upon the 120-foot Okeanos Aggressor begins with an overnight stay in San Jose, Costa Rica, Aggressor guests board a charter bus for a scenic, two-hour bus ride through Costa Rica's beautiful countryside before arriving at the Okeanos Aggressor port. Once on board, guests may unpack, relax and enjoy delicious dinner served by the on-board chef. The 36-hour journey to Cocos gives everyone a chance to prepare their gear and get to know one another; it also adds to excitement of what lies ahead.

 

Throughout the week of diving, you'll encounter a spectacular array of marine life, large and small. Many divers describe the diving at Cocos as "high-voltage" or "on-the-edge," and after drift dives at Alcyone or Big Dos Amigos with a few hundred hammerheads, thousands of horse-eye jacks and a manta or two, you may agree. Other frequently seen marine life include dolphins, tuna, marble rays, eels, white tip and silky sharks. Okeanos Aggressor divers have also been treated to spectacular whale shark encounters.

 

Weather permitting, guests will be shuttled to the island for a hiking tour. The lush uninhabited island in covered with verdant jungles and countless waterfalls all waiting your exploration.

 

You may want to capture some of the Cocos's underwater splendor on film with one of the on-board rental underwater cameras. There is a full line of rental camera equipment and dive gear available throughout the week, as well as certification and specialty courses including nitrox certification.

 

At the end of your exciting adventure, the Okeanos Aggressor returns to Puntarenas. Check-out is between 7:00 and 7:30 a.m. On the day of departure, the crew will transport you and your luggage with the group to your hotel, or the airport in San Jose.

 

Diving conditions in Cocos may not be suitable for beginner divers.

 

Dive Sites:

 

Bird Island, Chatham Bay

 

This site provides a variety of marine life including Frog Fish, lobsters, morays, rays, White Tip Sharks and Hammerheads. There is even a cleaning station.

 

Manuelita

 

The northeast corner has a sheer wall with lots of White Tips, Marble Rays and schools of Creoles.

 

Ubing Rock, Wafer Bay

 

This 300' rock begins at 20' and drops to a 110' sandy bottom. The southeast slope attracts schooling Hammerheads.

 

Dirty Rock

 

A large island with schools of Marble Rays and Hammerheads.

 

Big Dos Amigos

 

This islet features a 45-foot-high arch and 60-foot pinnacle off the southeast side. Look for Rainbow Runners, Yellowtail Snapper, Big eye Jacks and lobster. Hammerheads swim between the pinnacle and arch.

 

Lone Stone

 

Schooling Marble Rays and Mobula Rays.

 

Alcyone

 

A 600' long submerged mountain, the top of the mountain is 75' from the surface. Schooling Hammerheads, Mantas and schooling fish. There is a possibility of sighting Sailfish or Marlin.

 

Dive sites are selected by the Captain and may vary due to weather conditions and logistics

 

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Where is Cocos Island?

Cocos Island is located 600 km (approximately 375 miles) off the western coast of Costa Rica, in the eastern Pacific Ocean.

 

What is included in the scuba charter?

Accommodations aboard the vessel, diving, compressed air tanks, weights and weight belts, transportation from the San Jose office to Puntarenas on day of arrival and departure, meals and snacks, non-alcoholic and local alcoholic beverages are include in the charter rate.

 

 

When should I arrive in Costa Rica?

You should arrive in Costa Rica the day before your charter begins and plan on spending the night in San Jose.

 

Are there any taxes or fees not included in the charter price?

A $250.00USD per person (CASH ONLY, no traveler's checks) Park Fee will be collected during your charter. The Costa Rican government implemented this charge to maintain Cocos Island and preserve its natural habitat. These fees are levied by the Costa Rican government and are subject to change, so please check before your trip.

 

Do I need a passport?

U.S. citizens are required to have a passport. Non-U.S. citizens should check with the appropriate consulate.

 

How do I meet the Okeanos Aggressor on the day of departure?

The Okeanos representatives will pick us up at the hotel to bring us to the ship.

 

Where does the Okeanos Aggressor dock?

The Okeanos Aggressor docks at the Muelle Coopeinpesa in Puntarenas.

 

What is unique to Cocos Island diving?

Lots of large pelagic animals, particularly the schools of scalloped hammerhead sharks. White tip reef sharks are also abundant, as are schools of tuna, jack and snapper. Whales, sharks and dolphins are frequently sighted.

 

What is the water temperature? Will I need a wet suit?

During the summer months, the water temperature is generally 80-82 degrees. I usually wear a 2/3mm suit

 

Is there dinghy diving?

Yes, almost all dives are made from an inflatable

 

Is there night diving?

Night dives are scheduled at the discretion of the dive master. Never not had several night dives on any of the trips I have led.

 

Are there any land tours?

Weather permitting, guests will be taken to the island for a hiking tour.

 

What type of topography can I expect to see in Cocos Island?

The island is volcanic in origin, and is therefore mountainous. Dense jungle covers the land. Numerous waterfalls, rivers and ponds are created by the regular rains.

 

What is the best time of year for diving?

June through Sept is generally considered prime diving, but conditions are generally very good all year round.

 

When is the rainy season?

The rainy season is from May through November. It is the rains that bring in the large pelagic hammerhead schools, whale sharks and so much more. Cocos Island supports a true tropical rain forest and receives an abundance of rain, particularly around the mountain peaks.

 

When is check out time on the vessel?

Check out is between 7:00 and 7:30 a.m. on the morning of departure. The crew will transport you and your luggage back to San Jose, dropping you at either the airport or your hotel.

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As I predicted, this trip is already half full and it's more than a year away. If high action and exciting diving are your thing, if more sharks than you can count are your thing, I haven't been to single destination that beats the Cocos.

Steve

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After talking with Steve, some friends and I have signed up for this trip. I have been reading the reports from the Captain of the Okeanos Aggressor and the summer months are definitely the time to go. What they are seeing is amazing. I think it would be great if we could get more Wetpixel members on the trip.

 

Take a look and see what you think. This trip allows plenty of time to plan ahead.

 

BDSC

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