San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Diving Hot in Southern Pacific

THE good newsfor divers in thecountry this monthis that the southernPacific is going offfor high season.This means watersare clear and themarine life profusefor those whochoose to view theunderwater worldthrough a mask.Big fish, giant dolphins,baby whalesand sunny skiesare just a few of the sights reported fromCaño Island, off the Osa Peninsula.Charlie Gonzales of CorcovadoExpeditions, Drake Bay, called in someobservations about one of my favoritemarine animals: the pseudorca, or falsekiller whale. These beasts grow to morethan 20 feet, making them one of thelargest members of the dolphin family.They usually show up off the Osa a fewtimes a year, sometimes for as long as severalmonths, to feast on jack, tuna androosterfish, and, believe it or not, evenshare some fish with people once in awhile. I have even seen pseudorcas attackinghumpback whales near Caño Island.These massive mammals are among themost magnificent on earth. Fearless of peopleand boats, they often approach to withinone meter of Drake Bay boats or CañoIsland swimmers. Not everybody wants atwo-ton monster with big teeth to get tooclose, so you’d better think twice beforeyou get in with these curious beings.That said, hundreds of people fromDrake Bay hotels have swum with them.Most are thrilled, although some are frightenedby how bold and unafraid these enormousand powerful creatures are. One thingis certain about these mysterious divers; ifyou are lucky enough to meet them, youwill never forget them. The Osa Peninsulathis time of year is one of the best places onthe planet to get a chance to meet them.Pseudorcas are not the only amazingmarine mammals awaiting divers off CostaRica’s southern Pacific coast. Humpbackwhales are swimming, nursing and matingright now in the protected lee bays andinlets off the entire Pacific coast. OffDrake Bay, the same whales that raisedtheir young here years ago are teachingtheir newest offspring to dive and survivein the modern underwater world. WhateverPacific beach you are on, keep your eyeson the horizon, and you just might seethese great, endangered whales hanging intheir home waters.Schools of fish as thick and big asclouds are also waiting for divers off CañoIsland. Twenty-two kilometers off ofDrake Bay, this protected island harbors anastounding quantity of swimming creaturesthat are sometimes so densely packedthey can obscure your dive buddy swimmingright next to you.The bad news for divers in the countryis that there are no reports from Guanacaste,which might mean the Papagayowinds are blowing too hard for divers tomake it out to the good sites. No one is eventhinking about diving on the Caribbean, asheavy rain and swelling seas have renderedthe entire coast the sole domain of surfers.As always, conditions will havechanged by the time you read this, so callahead and find out where the diving is hotat the moment.For info or to send in reports or contributions,e-mail

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