From the Operator
If you’re looking to dive with sharks and lots of them, look no further than Cocos Island. The Undersea Hunter has held its own as one of the world’s elite dive operators for over 25 years, consistently providing guests with the perfect blend of adventure and luxury. Perhaps the National Geographic Society’s Dr. Sylvia Earle said it best: “The Undersea Hunter team provid[es] an experience that is unparalleled in the world, a rare combination of competence, professionalism, and sheer underwater poetry...”
With the Undersea Hunter you’re not only diving one of the top 10 adventure dive destinations in the world, but you’re also traveling on some of the finest cruise ships. Our fleet consists of three vessels: the Argo, Sea Hunter and Undersea Hunter. The Argo is a 130-ft beauty designed to accommodate our DeepSee submersible – a state-of-the-art submarine capable of reaching depths up to 1,500 feet. Its sister ship Sea Hunter is a 115-ft dive cruiser with global reach, specifically designed and built for long-range expeditions to destinations like Cocos and Malpelo islands. Our third vessel, the Undersea Hunter, is a 90-ft belle reserved mostly for special research projects, film expeditions and private charters.
Shark Diving Experiences
You’ll be diving waters inhabited by at least 10 species of sharks – silkies, tigers, black tips, white tips and Galapagos to name a few, and more scalloped hammerheads than you could ever hope to count. Huge pelagic animals like mantas, marbled rays, and sea turtles are commonplace here. Cocos Island is also home to at least 27 endemic fish species, including the exotic rosy-lipped batfish. Most of the island’s shark action is at 60-90 feet /18-27 meters, and almost all dives are between 60-115 feet / 18-35 meters with an average visibility of 60-100 ft/18-30m.
The DeepSee is a custom built one-atmosphere submarine capable of carrying a pilot and two passengers to depths of 1,500 feet (450 meters). It is a masterfully designed acrylic sphere with a 360-degree field of view. The 4-inch thick acrylic actually disappears when immersed, giving the sensation of floating completely unattached in space. Its mission? To collect data and capture live images of diverse and mysterious life forms dwelling the deep.
Occasionally one of the ships in our fleet will make a trip to Malpelo island, which along with Cocos Island and the Galapagos Islands makes a sort of “golden triangle” for hammerhead sharks and other pelagic species. Marine creatures make the rounds from one protected island to the next, where they can find a safe haven from fishermen and other human influence.
Shark Research & Conservation
We could fill a book with all of the research projects, scientific expeditions, film/photo odysseys and educational partnerships we’ve facilitated – but we don’t want to brag, so we’ll keep this quick.
The Undersea Hunter Group regularly collaborates with leading scientific and filmmaking groups like National Geographic, Pretoma (for turtle tagging), the Smithsonian and IMAX. However, our first and foremost priority is working hand-in-hand with the Cocos Island National Park staff. We not only provide ocean passages to park rangers, volunteers and academic investigators to and from the mainland (a 36-hour trip), but we also receive, transport, separate and properly dispose of chemicals, medicines, batteries and other refuse from the island. By partnering with the Costa Rican Ministry of Education, we help students fall in love with the ocean – one of the most effective ways to promote ocean conservation is by instilling sustainable values in our youth.
As far as research is concerned, our DeepSee submersible has discovered several species previously unknown to inhabit Cocos Island – like the prehistoric-looking jello-nosefish, the goosefish and the strange-looking prickly shark.