Report on a Classic Destination:
The Big-Animal Diving At Cocos Island
by Carl Roessler
For many years, the long cruises to reach Cocos Island kept it from being developed. Still, a few photographers managed to dive these remote rocky pinnacles scattered around a single large central island. Their stories of schooling hammerheads and other large pelagic species begged for development.
Finally a very competent boat owner, Avi Klapfer, sold his Palau dive boat and obtained the Undersea Hunter to dive Cocos. The response was immediate. We booked the boat full on every departure for years. The combination of an excellent, well-equipped vessel with a superb captain and crew became a magic carpet to explore Cocos. I took the very first group to Cocos, and knew immediately that a new classic had been born.
Contrary to early reports of very deep diving would be required; we found that there were large schools of hammerhead sharks at moderate depths (60-110 feet). I spent six dives hunkered down in rocky foxholes with hammerheads passing within two or three feet of me!
Those of you who have never dived Cocos have missed one of the unique classic arenas of our sport. Those who are put off by the cruise out there should know that nearly 90% of those cruises are on a flat calm sea.
Some divers are mildly anxious about diving with hammerheads despite the fact that thousands have done so. For them, the happy news is that these apparently nearsighted creatures socialize with each other in a practically somnolent state; I practically kissed some of them before they recoiled in horror at the sight of me.
All these years after our pioneering voyages, Cocos fills dive boats year ’round season after season. If you haven’t enjoyed this amazing gem, I highly recommend it...
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