Hello all! My name is Troy and I am a dive instructor currently working with Oceans Unlimited in Quepos, Costa Rica. I was lucky enough to snag a 1 month volunteering gig on the amazing Coco’s island, an opportunity the shop offers to its instructors particularly interested in marine conservation and research. I have been on the island for 8 days, and its more amazing then I ever could have imagined.
It all starts with the 30ish hour boat ride over, which I will admit, was pretty miserable. The seas were quite rough on the voyage, and no matter how much Dramamine I took, I couldn’t manage to sleep during any point of the journey. Thus, I arrived to the island quite tired, and ready for a bed that wasn’t constantly moving. As tired as I was when we arrived, getting to watch to island slowly creep into view as the sun rose will be a moment that I never forget. It is truly, an exquisitely beautiful place.
The first day on the island I participated in the morning “ reunion” ( the morning meeting where the volunteers and rangers are assigned duties for the day) and then headed straight to bed for the rest of the day. The next few days were spent doing tasks assigned to me ( mainly fixing up the compressor room) and getting used to the routine and flow of the days. The rangers and volunteers that work on the island are really nice and laid back, and everyone is out to help one another throughout the work day. The comradery of the people here was a really nice surprise ( it does help a lot that I speak Spanish).
I went on my first dive a few days ago ( Friday), and it was fabulous! We did the inside of manuelita island, which is a really mellow, shallow, current free dive site. It’s the “get your feet wet” site that all the visiting divers do to get settled in and ready to dive the more intense sites. It was a rainy day with “ poor “ visibility of about 20m, and it was still one of the better dives I have done, full with hammerhead, white tips, marble rays, giant morays, and more beautiful fish then you can count.
The second dive I did (yesterday) was the other side of the island, where the popular cleaning stations are located. This dive I went with Isaac ( one of the rangers ) and together we collected data of the site ( fish/shark species and quantity) as well as the visiting divers interactions with the marine environment. It was incredibly fun counting all of the hammers and white tips and different species of fish, but I found watching the divers interact with the environment to be just as informative. I have yet to see anything too crazy ( not that 40 hammerheads swimming around isnt crazy awesome), but tomorrow were doing another dive at a site where there have been many tiger sharks spotted.
So far, life on the island is pretty glorious. The work is fun and productive, the food is amazing, and the places you get to visit around the island are unbelievably beautiful. So far my favorite area on the island is the vista over looking chatam bay, which is an amazingly clear bay with a very healthy reef residing in it. It’s epic, as is everything else about this island.
Ive only been on 2 dives so far but we’re about to start diving a lot more, so hopefully I will have more pictures and encounters to share in the upcoming week.
Pura vida! -Troy