San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Fine Diving Reported on Both Coasts

LAST time, Iwrote about a fewmarine mammalsthat might appearon dives in CostaRica: humpbackwhales, pseudorcas,and Atlanticspotted, roughtoothed,bottlenoseand spinner dolphins(TT, May20). A few otherscould also makeappearances ondives here.Pilot whales seldom cruise by Ticodive sites, but it does happen. These hugemembers of the dolphin family are usuallymistaken for pseudorcas or vice versa. Butlook close and you will see that pilots aretwice as thick and usually more indifferentthan their very curious pseudorcacousins. When spotted here in Costa Rica,they are usually just passing by or stoppingfor some fish snacks.The most commonly seen dolphin inCosta Rica is probably the pantropicalspotted dolphin. A little bigger than people,these dolphins might show up on adive in pods numbering more than a thousand,though most of the time they just flyby. Once in a while, they can become curiousand move in for a close inspection.Orcas, the apex predators of thebiggest ecosystem on the planet, rarelypower over to divers in the water. Sometimesdivers don’t realize they are beinginspected by the largest member of thedolphin family; if they do, they will likelynever forget looking at these monster-sizepredators. Orcas may be quite curious,though wary. At least once, a display ofopen jaws full of very large white teethhas impressed upon divers the power andbeauty, as well as intelligence, of thefamed killer whale.Though quite a few other species ofwhales and dolphins inhabit Costa Rica’swaters, I know of no cases of them visitingthe country’s well-known dive sites. Ifyou know of any other species being spottedon scuba or snorkel dive trips, pleasedrop me a line and let me know.REPORTS indicate fine diving forthe past few weeks on both coasts. A hurricanein the north Caribbean Sea bestowedfantastic sunny skies on Costa Rica’ssouthern Caribbean coast. As rain falls inthe rest of the country, phenomenal coralreef diving is being revealed in Limón,where lake-like seas with barely a ripplehave surfers completely bummed out. Asof press time, the southern Caribbean isreporting classic walk-in conditions: youjust grab your gear and walk into the sea.The great diving starts right off the beach.On the Pacific side, Cocos and Cañoislands rise up far enough offshore tohave avoided the murky water effects ofthe heavy rains during the past weeks.Clear visibility and massive quantities oflarge fish have stoked divers droppingdown in these marine protected areas.Conditions are reported excellent at bothlocations.No reports from northern-Pacific sitesin Guanacaste, which may mean that rainshave clouded the waters around the nearshorerocks and islets that are the region’sdive sites. Conditions might well changeby the time you read this, so call ahead.For information or to contribute to thediving report, call 835-6041 or

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