Eye to eye with the Tiger Shark!

by   Profile Gerald   When 2nd August 2019
Diving in Cocos Island
Deep Sea Submarine, Sea Hunter

Cocos Island is an island far off the Pacific coast of America. The island belongs to a trio of islands in the Eastern Pacific which every diver would like to dive once in a lifetime. Galàpagos, Malpelo, Cocos…the islands of yearnings, and we were there!

There are only a few diving liveaboards that are allowed to come here. The island is a nature conservation marine park. The Argo, a ship owned by the Undersea Hunter Group, has this license. It regularly cruises for 36 hours from the Costa Rican coast to the open sea, giving divers the opportunity to dive this extraordinary island.

No one knows for sure whether the coconut islands were already inhabited when the Europeans discovered them. Polynesians were probably here before because the countless coconut palms indicate that they were deliberately planted. Today we know that Polynesian sailors always carried seeds and crop cuttings on their travels in order to have food quickly on newly populated islands.

Europeans arrived in the middle of the 16th century. In the 20th century the island became especially popular through numerous publications on treasure that pirates like William Dampier, Benito Bonito or Henry Morgan had hidden there. There have been several expeditions in the past, but despite intense searching, no one has yet found significant treasure. Today, treasure hunting is forbidden as the island has been under protection since 1978.

If you want to dive on Cocos, you need to have a little experience. Only experienced divers should come here, because there is often a heavy current, the visibility can change very quickly and you risk drifting with the waves. It is a good 500 kilometres to the American coast, a little too far for any medical support, but there is a good reason to come here: the schools of scalloped hammerhead sharks! They come from far away to the cleaning stations around the island. There can be thousands depending on the season, however, it depends on the current and the visibility. Sometimes they are only dimly visible when plankton-rich water flows from the depths.

This plankton, in turn, attracts the big filter-feeding animals: Manta Rays, whale sharks and Mobulas come here to eat their fill, but also huge swarms of mackerels, fusiliers and other schooling fish. These are perfect conditions for all shark species. White tip reef sharks are everywhere to be seen - almost too many!

There are also black spotted stingrays, black morays, big groupers and it is worthwhile taking a closer look - not only countless frogfish can be found on the rocky bottom, but also nudibranchs and co. There are also several endemic animals on the island. Above all, there are many animals underwater. Not only the fish like to dive, but sometimes Boobies (bird) also venture a look under the sea’s surface.

A special highlight comes to Cocos Island on the Argo via piggy-back - the DEEPSEA submarine! It's possible for recreational divers to venture to unreachable depths with it. The crew of the DEEPSEA offers dives with the submarine down to 300 meters. The costly adventure is more than worthwhile!

Over the past few years, more and more tiger sharks can be seen. They come pretty close to divers and sometimes very close to the mask. A little respect and attention should be given to them, because there has already been an accident. The sharks are perfectly camouflaged hunters who wait just below the water’s surface for young Boobies. If they land unhappily on the water during their first flight attempts, they usually finish in the stomach of the Tiger shark!

Thanks to the team of the Argo, the UNDERSEA HUNTER, and especially to the crew of the DEEPSEA. The trip was organized by www.waterworld.at. Perfectly planned and well implemented.

Safely dive around the world with www.mares.com. Perfect pictures with a Nikon D850 camera in a professional UW case from www.seacam.com. Enough light with www.orcatorch.com. Clean Air with www.bauer-kompressoren.de. Reassured on the go with the right insurance: www.fotofairsicherung.de

Gerald Nowak

Written by
Profile Gerald
When 2nd August 2019
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