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Cocos island underwater photography
The Underwater Treasure Island
Cocos island, Costa-Rica
Cocosisland is located at 500km to the west coast of Costa-Rica. It’s the largest uninhabited island in the Pacific ocean(8x3km). This island is mostly known for the legends of pirate’s treasures thatare somewhere hidden on the island. Over 300 treasure hunter’s expeditionsvisited this island, but they found none.

But the real treasures of the Cocos island lies underwater: huge shoalsof fish, rays, dolphins, and… sharks, especially hammerhead sharks. Exactly that’s why Cocos island is one ofthe world top places for divers.

Cocos island is now a marine sanctuary. Rangers are guarding coast zoneof the island, protecting it against illegal fishing. In 1997 Cocos island wasdesignated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
On the next photo there is a resident population of jack-fishes, living on Dirty Rockdive-site. I had a pleasure of watching dolphin's hunting on this jacks twice.
Boobiesare looking for fish leftovers - 10 meters below the hunt is on it's peak: 7dolphins are attacking huge shoal of jack-fishes.
Dolphin hunts fish very efficiently and successfully. Sometimes dolphin is doing it deliberately slow, playing with food. Fish is trying to escape, but it has no chance.
Thereal problem in Cocos is not to find sharks, but to find a nice negative space.I found this rock with the fish during the dive... and I just had to wait :)
I'vefound a colony of sea urchins, aligned in geometrical pattern. They look likesomeone had aligned them :) Beneath their needles small striped fishes areliving. Actually it's very hard for them to push through, but as a resultthey're living in a safe place.
Galapagossharks are known for their curiosity towards divers: they like to approach diversclosely. This shark came to me from behind, when I was shooting hammerheads infront of me. Photo is taken from 1 meter distance from the shark.

This eagleray has surprising long tail. Usually they are much shorter: often they are bitten by sharks.
Humans, anddivers in particular, are not in the shark's diet. Actually, we are rather bad foodfor them: we are big (so potentially dangerous), we stink neoprene, we producenoisy bubbles (sharks doesn’t like this sound), and we are so ugly - we have TWO tails! Nobody wants to eat this :))
Despite allthe environmental measures and 24h ranger’s work in the 30-mile guarded zone,even at the Cocos can be found unfortunate animals with remains of fishinggear. We managed to save one of the turtle with the "decoration" -fishing line wrapped around the forelegs and neck. Holding the turtle was veryhard - it certainly did not understand our good intentions. But all ended well.
On the next photo there is a portrait of whitetip reef shark, a female one. Scarson gills are from males coupling.
Cocosisland is one of the best places in the world for hammerhead watching. Everyyear hammerheads are moving in golden triangle: Cocos island - Malpello -Galapagos islands. The best dive-sites are on the cleaning stations, wherebarber-fishes are removing parasites from the sharks.
Octopus looks like marine gardener with coral’sflowers.
Itried to reproduce in this photo an exciting atmosphere of night diving inCocos island. To make this photo I was laying on the sand in the middle of theaction.
Hammerhead sharks are very shy and very seldomapproach divers closely. To make a good picture one must hold breath: if you breatheout, the shark instantly turns around and goes. That’s why part of professionalunderwater photographers and cameramans are using rebreathers – close circuit breathingapparatus that don’t produce bubbles.

Curiousboobies are looking down on divers to see what's happening below. For this shot Ideveloped a special kind of shooting method: boobies are very curious, theyreact well on diver approaching surface, confusing it with dolphin.
Cocos island is a truly wonderful place, real diver's heaven! I hope to return there someday.