Sound Bite of Cocos

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Introduction

On our recent trip to the Cocos Islands Michael asked if I was interested in becoming an Ocean Geographic Travel Editor. As a diver and photographer I’m both excited and honoured to have the opportunity to speak with you on a regular basis about all things Aquatic. I’ll be updating the blog with posts on recent and upcoming Ocean Geographic trips, environmental issues/solutions and whatever else comes up on the way.  I can’t think of a better place to start than to share with you our recent trip to the magical Cocos Islands.

As the heading suggests this is more of a sound bite for the entire trip rather than an in depth look at some of the wonderful creatures Cocos has on offer or a report on some of the environmental challenges they face. That I will save for another post.

Today I would like to share my excitement about what we experienced and give you a little taste as to what it was like on the trip.

I’ll also add my bio in the near future so we can all get acquainted.

Flying from East Timor, it was a little challenging to get there with a total travel time of 34 hours to reach San Jose, Costa Rica. Put another 36 hours of travel time on the ship to reach the Cocos Islands and you might start to wonder if it really worth it. After experiencing what Cocos has to offer I can tell you, it was worth every minute of travel time! Why? You might ask; well it’s all about the sharks! Not one shark or ten sharks but hundreds of beautiful, majestic sharks living peacefully in the protected waters of the Cocos Islands. Before this trip I could only dream of seeing schooling hammerheads swimming on the ocean floor while a Tiger Shark glides gracefully above us. This trip was a dream come true and an opportunity to live for a week in paradise……really!

I reached San Jose a day early to explore a little of what Central America has to offer before heading to Cocos. The next morning I met the rest of our group for an excursion to Dako Coffee Mill, Paos Volcano and the breathtaking La Paz Waterfalls. On the way we were lucky enough to spot a wild sloth in the trees by the side of the road, it was a rare and very welcomed start to our journey.

Seeing a wild Sloth at close range had already made my day but to then see a live volcano bubbling away at the heart of a healthy old growth rain forest that provides a home to native animals such as endangered sloths, squirrels, hundreds of bird species including; the beautiful Macaw, Toucan’s and Humming Birds, made my first day in Costa Rica one to remember.

The waterfall walk at La Paz allows you to see some of these animas endemic to Central America up close as you pass through butterfly, frog and large cat enclosures on your way to the giant waterfalls. It was a perfect way to start a trip of a lifetime.

The next day we were picked up from our hotel and taken to our ship.The Argo, a beautiful luxury ship with all the comforts of home and all the equipment needed to make our dive experience unforgettable.

The crew and our quirky, yet extremely professional Dive Masters, Manwell, who we all came to know and love over the course of the trip, immediately welcomed us with friendly smiles and cocktails on the boat.

We arrived in the Cocos Islands a day and a half later and woke up to a view that can only be described as a Jurassic Park seen, with untouched dark green jungles cascading down cliff faces and waterfalls to a turquoise blue, green ocean with native birds circling endlessly overhead.

The following days were taken up with non-stop diving that did not disappoint.The abundance of aquatic life was promised and delivered with schooling Scalloped Hammerhead Sharks, Tiger Sharks, Galapagos Sharks, Whale Sharks, White Tips, Mobula Rays and an incredible abundance of fish life.

The night dives only added to our adventure allowing us to witness hundreds
of White Tip Sharks feeding naturally in and around the coral, just meters beneath us. An experience I will never forget.

All of this along with the opportunity to go down to 305m in the onboard submersible to explore the fish, coral and fauna found at these depths makes Cocos a special destination for anyone that loves the Ocean.

I loved the submersible trip so much that I think it deserves a post all of it’s own so I’ll be sharing that adventure with you all shortly.

The wildlife encounters, along with the awe inspiring landscape of the Cocos Islands themselves and the beautiful people I got to share the whole experience with, made this trip unforgettable.

Thank you to everyone who made this trip possible and so very memorable.I’ll be going back for sure!

Talk Soon

Pamela Martin

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