Laura Tyrell came to Rich Coast Diving as a divemaster in training and grew into an amazing IDC staff instructor. As time moved on she is now expecting and soon to be a happy mommy of a future diver 🙂 Laura has done many dives on Murcielago and it left a great impression on her, even after these many years she still talk about this amazing dive site.
Diving in Costa Rica is exciting, and one of the high lights of your dive trip is to take the journey to the Santa Rosa Marine Park. The dive trips is known as Isla Murcielagos or ‘The Bat Islands’. This trip is so exciting because you can encounter the magnificent bull sharks. A free descent to a depth between 15–30m/50 – 100ft is where they are searching for a mate during daylight hours and by night they hunt for turtles, rays and other big schools of fish attracted by the sometimes heavy currents.
The first dive site is called Big Scare and after the dive you will not be surprised why this site received its name. as Laura quotes: “This dive has left a humongous impression on me and I can’t say that about many places I have been to. After being a dive guide for about 5 years with Rich Coast Diving it still amazed me from the very first moment I jumped in right up until the 60th time I arrived as a guide” . Needless to say it’s for advanced divers – meaning advanced certified with an extended dive experience. Like Our first dive site Big scare, requires divers to make a free descent to the maximum depth of 30m /100ft. Currents and heavy swells can surprise the diver and not to mention the affect on a diver if a couple of big Bull Sharks just come and check out this weird creature blowing bubbles. Most divers get the adrenaline going once they encounter their first big Bull Shark! After we are at the end of the dive we ascent to make the safety stop.This is another reason why experience is needed as there is no line to hold on to which results in making a stop in mid blue. Safety rules are very strict during these dives because you are 1 hour away from the nearest medical center. Rich Coast Diving has a strict policy and requires divers to do one of our local dives first so our staff can asses your diving skills. Having proper buoyancy skills and conservative air consumption will be checked to make sure we will have a fun and safe dive to the Bat islands, for your own safety and other divers on the trip.
The bull shark gets its name from its stout appearance and pugnacious reputation. The French know the shark as requin bouledogue, and the Spanish as tiburon sarda or Tiburon toro. It is known by many different common names throughout its range including Zambezi shark, Van Rooyen’s shark (Africa); Ganges shark (India); Nicaragua shark (Central America); freshwater whaler, estuary whaler, and Swan River whaler (Australia); shovelnose shark, square-nose shark, river shark, slipway grey shark, ground shark, and cub shark.
Many people ranks the bull shark as the most dangerous species in the world, some estimates bull sharks are responsible for more attacks than the more feared great white sharks or the tiger sharks. Most agree that bull sharks are within the three most dangerous species for humans. Does this mean that bull sharks are intentionally attacking people, or they are hunting for people? The answer is a very simple: NO! The fact that their habitat, the shallow coastal waters are exactly the places where people like to swim simply gives so much more chance for unintentional accidents than in case of the other two shark species, which favor deep open water.
At the Bats the sharks are too busy finding the right mate and sometimes they can bump into you but we have never had any other physical contact or dangerous situations. That said they are unpredictable and caution and total respect should be obvious treatment. There is absolutely no chumming activity done by any of the dive centers. Besides the Bull Shark we also have a big chance of the Giant Pacific Manta Ray. Keep looking up and a shadow will cover you as this magnificent Ray just magically spreads its wings and swirl around the currents. Just admire the inhabitants of this habitat and remember we are in their world and it’s a privilege to be so close to something so amazing.
On the main Island there is a ranger station and a nice short hike to the top where you can enjoy a nice view. This is where we catch our breath during the surface interval, exchange our experience and get ready for the next site “Black Rock”. This pinnacle can have strong currents where big schools of fish just hang out. There are so many schools of spade, snapper, jacks to observe that you might not even see your buddy as you are surrounded in the beautiful phenomenal activity of fish enclosing in on you. Also common to see are spotted eagle rays, groupers,turtles, and whale sharks if you’re really lucky.
The trips run from May till November, depending on the winds as we try to make it in a smooth boat ride. During the journey you are more than likely to see pods of dolphins enjoying the track of the waves left by the boat and if you are lucky we encounter humpback whales, either showing of their new offspring or just giving us a show and a big splash with their enormous tail.
If you want to learn more about the Bull Sharks you can always sign up with Rich Coast Diving for the bull shark Specialty. Written by our own Course Director Brenda and approved by PADI. After certification you can go home with a Murcielago T-shirt as a souvenir 🙂