Costa Rica Feb 2015 Trip

Tell us your tale of coming nose-to-nose with a 6 gill [--this big--], or about your vacation to turquoise warm waters. Share your adventures here!
Post Reply
ggthatcher
Frequent Bubbler
Posts: 28
Joined: Sun Jan 19, 2014 9:39 am

Costa Rica Feb 2015 Trip

Post by ggthatcher » Sat Feb 28, 2015 2:38 pm

Hi everyone,

I "had" to go to Costa Rica for business. While there, I arranged for some diving and following several recommendations, picked RocketFrog Divers in Playa del Ocotal which is in the NW Coast (Pacific Side). Quick trip report.

Day 1. Travel down. Went out through Atlanta and got to fly directly over Cuba and was able to see Havana at night.
Day 2. Rocket Frog Divers arranged a tour for me to take while in San Jose. That was top notch service. I went to a coffee plantation/factory, the local volcano to San Jose, and the Las Pas Peace Gardens and waterfalls. Pretty decent day and very inexpensive.

Staying at the Double Tree by Hilton in Heridia since that is near work.
Days 3, 4, 5. Work

Day 6. Myself, and a colleague from work, along with his partner (both from Germany) started the drive out to the coast. Our car was about as small as we could get it. We were just barely able to get our luggage and gear into the car. I did not bring most of my gear and it ended up as a good thing I didn't.

Hotel was Villa del Sueno in Playa Del Hermosa. Wonderful little boutique inn. Fantastic 2 minute walk to the beach, monkeys in the trees above us, and amazing views of the western skyline.

Day 7. RFD picked us up at the hotel. Melissa had been my primary contact in getting everything arranged. She was the one who drove to pick us up. After normal sign in period, I picked up my rental gear and we walked down the beach. It was just the 3 of us divers, a DM, and a safety diver. RFD works with people doing DM internships, so every dive had 2-3 extra DM's to assist. Took a very small pontoon boat out to Tortuga and Argentina. Plan is for 3 tanks.
Dive 1. Murkey. 30 foot vis, about what we would see in NW. The guys I was diving were shocked at the vis, but for me, it felt like home. They have MUCH more experience than I do.
Lots of puffer fish, so MANY puffer fish. Rays and we did see a white-tip in the distance.
Followed the anchor line down. I was expecting zero coral, but it was there. Not like the Caribbean, but Pacific coral. Tons, and TONS of fish. Plenty to look at.
Dive 2-3, essentially repeats of Dive 1.
On one of the dives, the DM caught a Puffer and let it blow up. I was pretty shocked to see him do that, but it was pretty cool to see.

All in all, day 1 diving, 3 dives was pretty great.
I'm still learning to control my depth. Tanks were Aluminum 80's, and I was down to 1000psi at about 30 mins. Signaled to the safety diver and up we went.
Had an odd experience on the way up. My computer starts my 3 minutes at 15 feet. His started at 20 feet. So, I went up to 15 where it started, but eventually came back down to 20. As soon as I hit 21, my counter stopped and I had to go back up to 15 to get it started again. Well. After 2-3 times of this, I'd clearly been 3 mins, but then the computer didn't like it so started squawking about skipping my stop.

Goodies: RFD brings all the bottles of water you could hope for, and a large quantity of fresh pineapple. They slice them up on the boat, and it goes perfectly between dives.

Day 2.
Same drill, but much larger boat with about 20 total divers. Everyone else was from Russia.
1st dive, they tell us this side of the boat come with me, that side of the boat, goes with him, Everyone goes in at the same time, descends at the same time, and then at the bottom, we have no idea who is a diver, and who is a guide. It was a shambles. The two guys I was with, we lost one, and so his buddy got nervous and started going up. Did that twice. It was a bit of a mess and I blame the mess on the guides. Everyone into the water at the same time, and going down at the same time was just stupid.

Now.. All these people on the boat was not good. However, the 2nd and 3rd tanks that my friends were setup to use, were both empty. Somehow, empty tanks ended up getting loaded back on the boat. How in the hell does a dive shop let that happen. It all worked out, because several of the other people only did one dive, but I was pretty amazed that this would happen. Rocket Frog Divers blew it on that one, bad.

Coldest water I had was 70.2F and the warmest was 75.9F. Deepest was 79 feet.

I would not to Costa Rica again during this time of year. All the really neat critters were not to be found, and the water was really murky. If I get back again, it will be during July or August.

User avatar
Tom Nic
I've Got Gills
Posts: 9327
Joined: Mon Apr 10, 2006 6:26 pm

Re: Costa Rica Feb 2015 Trip

Post by Tom Nic » Sat Feb 28, 2015 4:35 pm

Thanks for the report!

Really helpful.
More Pics Than You Have Time To Look AT
"Anyone who thinks this place is over moderated is bat-crazy anarchist." -Ben, Airsix
"Warning: No dive masters are going to be there, Just a bunch of old fat guys taking pictures of fish." -Bassman

User avatar
WylerBear
I've Got Gills
Posts: 1293
Joined: Thu Aug 24, 2006 10:29 am

Re: Costa Rica Feb 2015 Trip

Post by WylerBear » Sat Feb 28, 2015 7:13 pm

I've only heard good things about Rocket Frog (we dove with Deep Blue Diving when we were there so I have no firsthand experience with them) but when I read that a DM distressed a Puffer Fish like that, they are forever on the "don't use them" list as far as I'm concerned. Just my opinion, of course, but really feel there is no excuse for that.
Georgia

NOT diving is NOT an option

User avatar
BUZO71
Aquaphile
Posts: 162
Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2007 8:41 pm

Re: Costa Rica Feb 2015 Trip

Post by BUZO71 » Mon Apr 20, 2015 8:32 pm

Who would you suggest using in that area? I'm heading there in June. Thanks
Fortes fortuna iuvat

Post Reply