Sea Hunter liveaboard is purpose built for diving Cocos Island, offering 10, 11 and 12-night trips to Cocos Island from its base in Puntarenas, Costa Rica. She is a superbly stable and robust craft, formerly a commercial dive-support vessel, built to serve the oil industry in the Gulf of Mexico.
The crossing to Cocos Island takes about 36 hours. You get 7-9 dive days, which makes the trip worthwhile. All divers must arrive in San Jose at least one day ahead of cruise start. It is also recommended to have one night after cruise end. Pick-ups are done only from 4 host hotels in San Jose.
Acquired by the Undersea Hunter Group in 1994, the vessel has been redesigned and configured as a consummate hybrid, combining the large platform, functionality and powerful machinery of a workboat with the comfortable and relaxed interior of a modern yacht. She is 36 metres (115 feet) of flexible capacity and convenience, a dedicated dive cruiser specifically designed and built for long-range expeditions to destinations like Cocos and Malpalo islands.
Sea Hunter has 10 guest cabins with en-suite, accommodating up to 20 passengers comfortably.
Meals are served buffet style and are plentiful and delicious. A good quality coffee machine is available for guests around the clock. Coffee, tea, soft drinks and beer are available for free.
This spacious boat is everything that a serious diver or photographer could wish for; individual gear storage, private camera/strobe storage shelves with 110 & 220-volt AC power, zero-speed stabilisers and even a private washer & dryer for passengers’ towels and swimmers.
The cosy lounge is a great spot to relax. Meals are served buffet style and are plentiful and delicious. A good quality coffee machine is available for guests around the clock. Coffee, tea, soft drinks and beer are available for free. Outside, there is a large deck that is partly shaded.
The ship caters completely for divers on the large diving deck. There are plenty of camera racks, charging stations and fresh water to rinse the equipment. All electronic equipment is state of the art and meets current safety standards. There are two 8-metre (26ft) fiberglass skiffs.
There are 8 double/twin cabins below deck and two suites on the upper deck. All cabins are air-conditioned and have private bathrooms. All cabins come with a flat screen TV with DVD player, custom cabinetry, and a luxury, private bathroom with granite countertops, and 110V outlets. Each Suite has a distinctly themed room, with hand-painted artwork by Carlos Hiller. The boat can take up to 20 guests.
Cabin 1 – Twin cabin with 2 single beds (bunk bed style)
Cabin 2 – Twin cabin with 2 single beds side by side
Cabin 3 – Twin cabin with 2 single beds (bunk bed style)
Cabin 4 – Double cabin with queen size bed and optional upper single bed
Cabin 5 – Twin cabin with 2 single beds side by side
Cabin 6 – Twin cabin with 2 single beds (bunk bed style)
Cabin 7 – Double cabin with queen size bed and optional upper single bed
Cabin 8 – Double cabin with queen size bed and optional upper single bed
The main deck houses a study, the galley, the dining room, the lounge, camera and dive gear storage and the dive platform.
Suite 9 – Double cabin with one queen size bed
Suite 10 (Owner’s cabin) – Double cabin with one queen size bed
Sea Hunter liveaboard departs from Puntarenas on the west coast of Costa Rica, reached by car from the capital San Jose in just about three hours.
The crossing to Cocos Island takes about 36 hours. Because of the long journey, extended 10 and 12-night excursions are offered. You get 7-9 dive days, which makes the trip worthwhile. All divers must arrive in San Jose at least one day ahead of cruise start. It is also recommended to have one night after cruise end. Pick-ups are done only from four host hotels in San Jose.
What to expect
Sea Hunter liveaboard’s set up is all about diving. On dive days three dives a day are offered, each dive is accompanied by a dive guide, who leads the dive if desired, otherwise independent diving is announced. All dives are conducted only after a detailed briefing.
The vessel is equipped with a Nitrox filling station and full support is offered to divers who bring their own rebreathers. The electronic equipment and safety standards are state of the art. Nitrox is free of charge. The dives are often quite long and no-decompression limits are reached quickly, so diving with Nitrox is highly recommended. The vessel offers full onboard TDI training in Nitrox, with rental of Nitrox computers.
Divers will each be equipped with satellite tracking devices, to assure no one gets lost in the open sea. A surface marker buoy (SMB or safety sausage) is mandatory for each diver and should be brought on board. If you don’t bring your own, the crew can provide one for you.
12L (80 cuft) aluminium tanks are provided. A limited supply of 15L steel tanks is available and should be requested in advance. The 12L tanks are standard INT (not DIN). The 15L tanks are DIN. Adaptors are available. Water temperature is about 26C to 29C (78F-83F), although it can be a few degrees lower under the occasional thermocline.
The DeepSee submersible is available on almost all of the Argo and Sea Hunter trips. The submersible is usually placed on Argo but is also available for Sea Hunter guests when both vessels meet at the islands for 2-4 days. Guests have the opportunity (at extra cost) of deep-sea exploration on board DeepSee, and it is recommended to reserve and prepay your submersible dives to guarantee a seat.
The DeepSee is a custom-built one-atmosphere submarine, capable of carrying a pilot and two passengers to a depth of 1,500 feet (450 meters). The view from DeepSee’s acrylic sphere is unparalleled, with a 360-degree field of vision. The 10cm-thick acrylic sphere actually disappears when immersed, giving the astonishing sensation of total freedom.
Cocos Island, together with Malpelo Island in Columbia and the Galapagos Islands, are probably the most spectacular dive destinations in the world for big fish. Most dives take place on small offshore rocks and islands. Around here are cleaning stations, where large schools of hammerhead sharks are seen regularly.
Apart from hammerhead sharks which are seen on almost every dive, you’ll see large schools of Jacks and barracudas, several species of sharks, including silky sharks, silver tips and tiger sharks. Watch out also for manta rays, mobula rays, whale sharks and dolphins which can be spotted on almost all excursions as well as turtles, moray eels and lobsters. With a bit of luck, you may see sailfish or whales chasing their lunch or dinner. If conditions allow, night dives are offered.
Most of the action is at 18-27 metres (60-90 feet), and most dives are between 18-40 metres (60-130 feet). The safety limit is set at 40 metres (130 feet) and a dive computer is necessary. Visibility averages 18-30m (60-100ft).
You should know…
While diving Cocos Island is extraordinary and beautiful, the island is very remote and not recommended for inexperienced divers, being an open ocean destination that requires advanced open water diving skills. The minimum required level of certification to dive Cocos is Advanced Open Water and a minimum of 25 hours of diving experience, and divers must be certified to the recreational dive limit of 40 metres (130 feet). Currents and visibility can change in just a few hours. The dive guide on board will always be the final authority as to whether a passenger can do any specific dive.
The vessel is in radio contact with the Undersea Hunter Fleet office in San Jose during office hours. There is also a satellite phone on board, which costs USD 3.50 per minute.
If you’re an experienced diver who loves diving with large pelagic fish, Cocos Island is one of the best dive locations in the world, and Sea Hunter is comfortable, functional and a great choice for technical divers.
Trip dates & Availability
Sea Hunter Extras - Valid thru 2020
|National Park Fee (10 days)||490||USD|||||490|
|National Park Fee (11 days)||560||USD|||||560|
|Regulator + BC + Wetsuit (10 days)||240||USD|||||168|
|Regulator + BC + Wetsuit (11 days)||264||USD|||||192|
|Nitrox Dive Computer (10 days)||137||USD|||||95|
|Nitrox Dive Computer (11 days)||151||USD|||||109|
|15 Liter Steel Tanks (10 days)||120||USD|||||84|
|15 Liter Steel Tanks (11 days)||132||USD|||||96|
|DeepSee Sub Dives (Single dive maximum depth of 260ft/80m)||1450||USD|||||1450|
|DeepSee Sub Dives (Single dive maximum depth of 1000ft/305m)||1850||USD|||||1850|
|Free unlimited nitrox fills if nitrox certified|
|This liveaboard's prices are in USD. The AUD prices shown are based on the current exchange rate. The price paid in AUD will be based on the actual exchange rate at the time any payments are made.|