The trip started with the same enthusiastic zeal as the previous year. The divers enjoyed calm seas and ample sunshine for the thirty-two hour motor from Puntarenas to Cocos Island. On the very first day, a school of jacks circled the group at Manuelita Afuera, but were chased away by a prowling twelve-foot Galapagos shark. The hammerhead sightings were frequent and numerous and on the third day, OFD’s very own Graham Casden surpassed 300 dives, amassing over 290 hours underwater!
The fish life was bountiful, with turtles, trevally, white-tips, eagle rays and schooling hammerhead showing up on virtually every dive. The resident Galapagos shark was seen on almost every dive at Manuelita Afuera and by the end of the trip he seemed very comfortable with the divers, much to the delight of the photographers.
The highlight of the trip came on the last day of diving. It started at Alycone, where the group came across silky sharks, dolphins, a school of mating white-tips, almacore jacks and innumerable marble rays. As they surfaced, the divers came face to face with a large manta playing jovially near the penga. The second dive was at Manuelita Afuera and consisted of an hour sitting amongst the barnacles and barberfish, waiting patiently for hammerheads to arrive at the cleaning stations. The third and final dive was at Manuelita Coral Gardens. Sixty to seventy hammerhead circled the group in the sand flats at a mere thirty feet! Only minutes later, the divers came across a school of jacks that rose from the sea floor all the way to the surface and was thick enough to block out the sun.
On the journey home, the Undersea Hunter came across a pod of over one thousand spinner dolphins feeding on a large school of pelagic fish. After incessant nagging, the crew finally slowed the ship and allowed the group to briefly snorkel amidst the voracious feeding frenzy.
All in all, this was the best Cocos Island experience to date!