WIND DANCER – DIVE INSTRUCTOR LOG
Air Temperature 85F/28C
Average Water Temperature 80F/27C
Average Visibility 60ft / 20m
Wetsuits: 3ml or 5mm with some cold thermoclines
Captain: Mauricio, Chefs: Jairol and Esteban, Engineer Miguel; Steward: Jorge; Tender Skippers: Anibal and Jeyler; Dive Instructor: Carlos Sanchez.
Our guests of the week.
David, Samantha, Brigitte, Theresa, Martin, Kimber, Adam, Jean, Jullien, Thomas, Manuela, Paul
Day 1 - Sunday – Chatham Bay, Manuelita
Day 2 - Monday – Dirty Rock, Punta Maria, Pajara (Manuelita by night)
Day 3 - Tuesday – Alcyone, Viking Rock (Manuelita by night)
Day 4 - Wednesday – Dirty Rock, Dos Amigos (Chatham Bay by night)
Day 5 - Thursday – Dirty Rock, Manuelita
Day 6 - Friday – Alcyone, Manuelita
Day 7 - Saturday – Alcyone, Dirty Rock
The guests arrived to Puntarenas , as scheduled at 3 pm. The crew gave a warm welcome to the guests on board of the Wind Dancer. The special house cocktail was offered upon arrival, as cabins were allocated and questions answered. After providing some basic house rules and safety information, the cruise started.
The 342-mile journey to Cocos kicked off with a great welcome by some pilot whales swimming next to the boat and sightings of dolphins later in the day. Although the sky was cloudy at times, the cruise was smooth. The guests spent time getting to know each other, relaxing, reading books, and watching movies in their rooms. The trip also gave the divers plenty of time to prepare their gear and their hearts for the magnificent marine life awaiting their arrival!
For the dive trip, we were able to allocate a separate panga for different kind of diving. A couple of guests decided to go to the the island instead of diving and we assisted them with suggestions for hiking and sightseeing. We were also very pleased to have on board three returning guests (at their second and sixth visit, respectively).
This dive is ideal to start the dive trip, given its shallow waters. Guests can familiarize themselves with the equipment and buoyancy , before more challenging dives. Nevertheless, it was also an opportunity to see the first marine life of the island: the many white-tip sharks that live in the island, reef fishes, lobsters, and several other smaller animals. A few lucky guests also got to see the tiger shark that lives in the bay.
The second and third dives of the day were in Manuelita, one of our best diving locations. The two pangas took turns to see Manuelita Gardens and Channel/Deep, respectively. The diving site offered tons of opportunities to see more white-tip sharks, but we also managed to spot the first big sharks, both Galapagos and the Scalloped Hammerheads that Cocos is well known for.
Right before lunch, the Isla Del Coco National Park Rangers came to give us an introduction to the park, providing us with the dive rules of the park and also explaining how they care for the island, by showing a video of the park. The guests were left with a survey to fill in and return on the last day of the visit.
The day started bright and early with a panga ride to Punta Maria, where we were welcome by a group of Galapagos sharks swimming around the pinnacles. Divers could also spot several morays among the rocks and a solitary peacock flounder resting on the sand. All around, we were surrounded by a huge school of more than a hundred big-eyed jacks. What a great way to start the day—yet the best was still to come!
Dirty Rock, the world famous site, was our next diving stop and it did not disappoint. While the divers rested on the rocks to avoid the currents—which was relatively mild for Cocos—they were welcome by several hammerheads swimming below and above them in the blue. The sharks were joined by schools of jacks and other reef fishes, as well as an eagle ray swimming by. We had a beautiful safety stop with some hammerheads right below us.
Our afternoon dive took place around Pajara island, famous for the biggest moray in Cocos. We looked for it, while swimming amongst white-tip sharks and colourful reef fishes, including bright yellow trumpet fishes and dotted box fish.
Manuelita by night:
We concluded a busy and spectacular day with a great night dive at Manuelita, with hundreds of white-tip sharks hunting fishes in the rocks below us. Our chef welcomed us back to the boat with a wonderful dinner, which was tasty and beautifully presented.
Alcyone awaited us after breakfast for two beautiful dives. Schools of hammerheads and jacks swam all around us. We were joined by spotted eagle rays and a green turtle, and lots of Moorish idols. White-tip sharks lay below us sleeping in the sand, while a few green morays rested in the cracks of the rocks. As we rode the panga back to the Wind Dancer, a pool of dolphins escorted us. The divers grabbed their masks and fins and joined them for a quick swim from the panga. Brown-footed boobies flew overhead following us back to the boat.
The third dive was at Viking Rock where we finished off with an easy peaceful dive, where we found flatfish, garden eels, and lobsters in a coral covered area.
In the evening, we went back for a night dive to Manuelita. For dinner, the chef had prepared a wonderful dinner with warm soup, vegetables, and roasted salmon. A surprise cake closed the night to celebrate the second-year anniversary of two of our guests— and since we had spare rooms, we were able to upgrade them to our best suite! What a romantic way to close our diving day!
After an early morning start in Dirty Rocks with hammerheads and tunas, we headed to the two diving sites of Dos Amigos. The two islands are home to many large and colourful schools of fishes. Starfishes were plentiful and scattered all around the sea floor, as we swam through the impressive natural arch of the big island along with juvenile white-tip sharks and blue and gold snappers. The sunlight seemed to dance along the rocks as we glided along, while a spotted eagle ray sifted through the sand in search of its next meal.
On the way back to the Wind Dancer, we drove with the panga up close to the breath-taking cliffs of Cocos, painted by cascading waterfalls and bright luscious greens. The day finished off with an amazing night dive, on top of the hundreds of hunting white tips that populate Chatham Bay.
Wafer Bay Ranger Station:
The new adventure of the day was on land, with a visit to the Wafer Bay Ranger station, where the rangers work tirelessly to preserve the island´s natural beauty. After a visit of the main station, we went for a nice hike along the trail. The bridge made of sea debris like buoys and confiscated fishing lines lead us to the fresh water river, surrounded by full green trees and vines, where we had a refreshing swim. Some of the guests had fun swinging and diving into the river from a hanging rope placed by the rangers on one of the trees. The natural beauty of the island is breath-taking. Years ago, explorers brought deer and pigs over to supplement their diets and today these can be seen foraging the ground for food. Birds flew around and hopped along the trail in front of our feet.
After a full day, with plenty of diving in Dirty Rocks and Manuelita and newly discovered land sites, back on board the divers relaxed watching the chef cook a barbecue on the deck while having an ice cold beer and sharing the memories of the trip thus far.
This was without any doubt the best dive of the week. We went back to Alcyone and saw plenty of schools of hammerheads, including some juvenile sharks. The weather was rainy and the hammerheads were coming up to the surface to cleanse their gills from parasites. As a result, entire schools of sharks were circling above the divers in the blue as well as among them in the rocks. We followed with a dive to Manuelita where we spotted different types of sharks: Galapagos, White tips, Black tips, and a Silky shark.
In the evening, after a delicious dinner, the guests went upstairs on the deck and danced the night away with good music and drinks, looking ahead to the last diving day.
We concluded our diving trip with two great morning dives in Alcyone and Dirty Rocks. The highlight of the day was an incredible encounter with dolphins during our safety stop. The six dolphins were chasing a school of jacks for their early morning breakfast, swimming under water, while a black tip waited for some easy catch. The divers could swim with them. It was truly a great way to conclude our diving experience in Cocos.
In the last evening in the island before our cruise back to Puntarenas, the chef presented a tasty baked turkey, with home-made gravy and delicious vegetables and local side dishes.
Thanks to all the guests for making another week in Cocos an unforgettable experience.
Safe diving always...