MV ARGO

MV Argo

Jacques Cousteau has described Cocos Island, a UNESCO World Heritage site, as “the most beautiful in the world”.  Large pelagic fish, such as eagle rays, tuna, whales, dolphins and multiple species of sharks call these waters home. One dip below the surface, and it’s easy to see why this destination remains top of every SCUBA divers list.

Designed for both leisure and research, MV Argo is a multi-tasking ship with global reach. SCUBA diving the waters around Cocos Island begin with a 30+ hour crossing from mainland Costa Rica. This 130-foot vessel is more than up for the task. Featuring a DeepSee submersible and remote operating vehicle (ROV), guests are given a rare and unique opportunity to journey to the depths divers could never reach. 

MV Argo’s experienced crew of 14 look after your every need. Up to 18 passengers, in 9 spacious, en-suite cabins, with climate control, are pampered from the moment they arrive. No guest will go hungry on this all-inclusive cruise! Fresh 4-star meals are prepared at “the drop of a hat”. Multiple common areas are found along the main and upper deck. The sun deck is the perfect space for relaxation and sunset views. 

Sample Itinerary

 
Arrival Day

Arrive at least one day prior to the MV Argo departure date.

 
Day 1

8 AM and 1 PM  pick up from certain hotels and transfer by bus to Puntarenas to board the MV Argo.

Due to occasional low tides, the boat may need to depart from the pier earlier in the day. Should this occur, you will be transferred by skiff to the vessel. When all passengers have arrived on board, the vessel will take a 32-36 hour cruise out to Cocos Island.

 
Day 2

Travel Day. This is the time to arrange your gear, get to know your crew and fellow divers and enjoy the open Pacific and sunshine while relaxing on the MV Argo sundeck. 

 
Days 3 - 8

This is what you are here for, diving the Cocos Island! Eat, sleep, dive, repeat. Divers usually average three dives per day at depths of 60-100 feet (18-30 meters) or more. 

 
Day 9

Last day of diving before the crossing back to Costa Rica.

 
Day 10
Back to reality! Take the time to pack up your things, discuss the adventure with your new friends and enjoy the journey back to the mainland.
 
Day 11
Arrival to Puntarenas. Immediately after breakfast, you will be transported back to San Jose. We strongly recommend staying one more night on land, before flying out, in case of any unforeseen delays.
 
 

Length: 129 ft / 39 m 
Beam: 26 ft / 8 m 
Draft: 12.5 ft / 3.8 m 
Displacement: 205 tons
Construction: Steel
Cruising Speed: 10 knots 
Maximum Speed: 11 knots 
Range: 4000 Nautical Miles 
Endurance: 20 days 
Dive tenders: 3 x Privateer 24 ft. (with twin 115 HP outboards) 
Generators: 2 CAT 3304 PCNA (75kw and 65kw) 208 VAC, 3 Phase generators 1 portable generator 5kw 
Fuel Tank: 15.000 gallons 
US Water Tank: 11.000 gallons 
US Safety: Two 25-person life rafts. Complete boat, crew, and passenger safety gear. Firefighting system throughout the vessel. Extensive first aid kit. 20 personal diver locator systems. 
Scuba Compressors: LP 280 Nitrox Membrane System 2 Bauer HP Compressors H13-E3 
Scuba Tanks: 30 tanks 80 cu.ft. Aluminum 100 cu.ft. Steel tanks (Advanced Reservations Required) 
Technical Diving: Full oxygen, nitrox, and rebreather service, passengers must bring their own rebreathers. 
Navigation: 3 GPS (Global Positioning Systems) 2 Radars (48 mile) 2 recording fathometers Radio Direction Finder SIMRAD Autopilot.
Communication: 2 VHF radios 3 handheld VHF radios SSB radio (SEA 222) Multimedia Desktop Computer Starlit phone
Miscellaneous:
DeepSee Submersible: 3 Person, one atmosphere, 1500 ft rated submersible, ABS approved and certified with Schilling Orion manipulator/robotic arm.
Deck Machinery:  
Crane: 15 ton, Telescopic marine crane w/50 ft. reach 
Stern A-Frame: 10 long tons, 5 X 1000 lb. Hydraulic winches Anchor winch:5000 lb. pull winch with 800 ft. 7/8 cable.
Guest Accommodations: For 18 guests in 9 double/twin cabins. All guest cabins have heads, showers, and individual AC controls. 
Crew Accommodations:14 crew in 7 crew cabins.

Dive Experience for Cocos Island

Cocos Island presents the same diving challenges as any other Pacific, Indian or Red Sea diving location. Cocos, however, is not recommended for inexperienced divers because it is an open ocean destination that requires advanced open water diving skills.

Please note, the minimum required level of certification to dive at Cocos is Open Water with the Specialty of Deep Diver. We also recommend having a minimum of 25 hours of diving experience.

Most dives are at depths deeper than 60 feet / 18 meters. At Cocos currents and visibility can be entirely different in just a few hours. Please note, the dive guide will always be the final authority as to whether a passenger can do any specific dive.

 
Dive Conditions
Most of the action is at 60-90 feet /18-27 meters, and most dives are between 60-130 feet / 18-40 meters. The safety limit is set at 130 feet / 40 meters and a dive computer is necessary. Visibility averages 60-100ft/18-30m.
 
 
Water Temperature
Average temperature is 79 F to 84 F (26 C to 29 C), although it can be a few degrees lower under the occasional thermocline.
Certification
All divers must bring proof of certification by a national certifying agency. The certification must allow the diver to dive to the recreational dive limit of 130 feet (40 meters). The Dive Master will request to see your certification before you are allowed to dive. If you are certified for Nitrox and rebreathers as well, then remember to also bring those certifications.
 
 
Nitrox
To increase safety and bottom time while maintaining safe non-decompression dives the use of Nitrox is recommended. The vessel offers full onboard TDI training in Nitrox, with rental of Nitrox computers. Nitrox fills are free for Nitrox certified divers.
 
 
Rebreathers

Please check directly with our office if you are bringing a rebreather with you. We can supply you with tanks, scrubber material and any further assistance you need, and can provide you with the costs of these items.

Please note, at this time we are no longer teaching the rebreather course and we do not have any units available to rent. Check for further rebreather information on this website at PRICES & SCHEDULES - Rental Gear

 
The Crossings
When all passengers are boarded, the vessel will take 32-36 hours to reach Cocos Island. Crossings are normally calm, but to prevent motion sickness we advise you to take the necessary precautions. At the conclusion of your trip, we will return to Puntarenas where a bus will be waiting to return you to your San Jose hotel.
 
 
Gear to Bring With You
You will need the following gear: 5-7 mm wetsuit, mask, fins, snorkel, regulator with visible pressure gauge, a mandatory dive computer, buoyancy compensator, depth gauge, dive gloves, weight belt (without weights), dive light, and dive watch. It is recommended that you mark each piece of gear with waterproof paint or tape. We suggest you put all or most of the above items in a carry-on bag. There is ample storage space for your diving equipment, including your own personal locker.
 
 
Equipment Provided Onboard

We provide you with weights for your weight belt: 2, 3, 4, and 6 lbs. (1, 1.5, 2 and 3 kilos). We also provide you with air or Nitrox tanks -- 80 cubic ft. aluminum (12 liters).

Please note, our tanks are standard yoke (INT), not DIN. Please notify our offices in advance if you need an adaptor.

 
Rental Equipment Onboard

You can rent a complete line of ScubaPro dive gear: BCD, regulator, wetsuit, mask, fins, snorkel, and Aladin Nitrox dive computers.

We have a limited supply of 15 Liter steel tanks. If you would like to rent one, make sure to reserve it well ahead of time.

 
Meals & Beverages

The menu aboard offers a delicious combination of International and local cuisine. Meals are varied and well balanced, and we also offer delicious snacks between dives. Food is abundant with plenty of fresh tropical fruit and salads and is served buffet style. Please let us know of any special dietary needs or requests, but try to be lenient, as storage and preparation space is limited.

Soft drinks: Free, Bottle of wine: $15 - $35.

Hard liquor is not available onboard but our guests are welcome to bring their own, which should be purchased prior to boarding.

 
Clothing
We recommend casual and cool cotton attire while on board. Nights can be chilly and/or drizzly so bringing a sweater, light jacket or windbreaker is recommended. In San Jose dress is slightly more conservative, like long jeans and collared shirts. For women, we recommend holding off wearing shorts and beach type clothing till you are aboard the vessel. We suggest packing in a soft duffel bag for easy luggage storage. Booties or hiking shoes are recommended if you want to visit the island.
 
 
Visiting the Island
We will usually make one or two visits to the island itself during a trip.
 
 
Crew
The Argo, and Sea Hunter crews consist of a unique combination of talents, offering the ultimate in service. The Undersea Hunter has a crew of seven, while the Sea Hunter and the Argo have a crew of eight. The divemasters, deckhands, and skiff drivers make sure you have the best possible diving adventure, while the chef and steward prepare delicious meals and take care of all your needs on board.
 
 
Communication Onboard

The vessels maintain constant radio contact in the event of any emergency. Your family and friends can contact our office at telephone: +506-2228-6535. We are happy to let family and friends know how you are when they call our office.

Our main office is open 9.00 - 17.00 Costa Rican time Monday - Friday (except for national holidays). Outside of those hours, our emergency contact number is +506-8735-2392 (please leave a message if necessary).

Please understand, however, that you will be in a remote area and it is preferable that personal communications to the boat be limited to emergency use only. We also now keep a satellite phone on board, which costs $3.50 per minute.

Cocos Island is now equipped with a cellular phone tower, as well as a public phone. When in closer proximity to the Island at certain locations (assuming your cell phone works in Costa Rica), it is possible to use your cellular phone services, but keep in mind, it is still an international call. Do keep in mind that in general, it is difficult to get a good signal on the island.

 
Electricity

The vessels have both 110 and 220 volts ac. The cabins have 110 volts ac only.

The vessels have standard US and European sockets (but not British style sockets).

 
Entertainment
There is a variety of nightly entertainment available onboard: slide shows, DVDs, music, games and much more. Please feel free to bring along your favorites.
 
 
Tips
Since it is customary to tip crew members, many people ask us what tip amount is appropriate. This is a very personal decision, as tips are your way of expressing satisfaction. Generally, the tip is given to the captain who distributes it equally amongst the crew. Please note that we do not dictate or include tips.
 
 
Medical Support On-board

We have a well-equipped first aid kit including oxygen on-board. You should bring anti-seasickness medicine and ear drops if you feel you will need them.

Please inform us and especially the dive guides if you are taking medication or suffer from allergies.

 
Safety Onboard the Sea Hunter
Life rings are located on either side of the boat, and life jackets for all passengers are located in the lockers on both sides of the sun deck. Fire extinguishers are located in the hallways leading to your cabins. Emergency exit from the aft passenger cabins is possible through an overhead hatch above the doors of cabins 7 and 8. The emergency exit for the forward passenger area is through a door in cabin 4 and up the stairs in the engine room.
 
 
Safety Onboard the Argo
Life rings are located on the starboard side and sun deck. Life jackets for all passengers can be found on the upper sundeck at either side of the step ladder, as well as on the lower sundeck. Fire extinguishers are located in the hallways leading to your cabins. The emergency exit is located between cabins 5 and 6.
 
 
Re-compression Chamber
The nearest Re-compression Chamber is in the capital of Costa Rica, San Jose, about 36 hours sailing from Cocos, the implications of which are obvious.
 
 
Smoking
Smoking is strictly prohibited throughout the boat, each boat has a designated location on the sundeck if one wishes to smoke.

MV Argo

MV Argo

DeepSee Submersible

Journey to the regions of the ocean normally reserved for scientist or military. Experience depths were no sunlight penetrates, yet life thrives. Perhaps you’ll catch a glimpse of the mythical prickly-shark . 

DeepSee is a custom built submarine designed to comfortably accommodate 3 passengers, including one pilot. Once submerged, the 4 inch think acrylic dome disappears from sight and offers 360 degree views while you descent to the abyss at a maximum depth of 1500 feet. 

This once-in-a lifetime experience is offered at 2 sites during your week aboard MV Argo and space is limited. We recommend pre-arranging this excursion prior to your arrival.

Ask your Ultimate Dive Travel consultant for more information about the MV Argo.

Explore more of Costa Rica

Come find out what the “Pura Vida” life is all about! No SCUBA dive trip would be complete without some topside exploration and when it comes to adventure, Costa Rica delivers in a big way! 

With over 2 dozen national parks and coastline along both, the Caribbean and Pacific, this natural wonderland offers something for everyone. 

Adventure and eco-tours range from zip-lining through rain forest canopies, hiking along an active volcano, bathing in hot springs, surfing one of the many beautiful beaches or spotting wildlife on a jungle-river cruise.

Ask your Ultimate Dive Travel consultant to help arrange a side trip before or after your cruise!

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