An Invitation to the Most Beautiful Diving Site – Cocos Island Part 1

Jim’s Costa Rican Adventure – Part I.

A trip from Billings, Montana to Cocos Island, off the coast of Costa Rica, Part 1. When Red Oxx Manufacturing co-owner Jim Markel wrote about his trip to Zambia in 2003, you told us you wanted to hear more. So here’s the next series from Jim’s adventure travel log.

With email, you never know what you’re going to get. Most days you get spam with a side helping of jokes and of course the main meal, work. Well, right there in the middle of all that I spot a question.

Like Sharks?

An email from my cousin Shawn. "Everybody’s got a cousin in Miami," or so the Buffet song goes. That song describes Shawn and, like the song, he can get you what you need. In our family, the need for adventure runs strong. (Remember Shawn from my Zambian adventure?)

"How does a trip to one of the finest diving sites in the world sound?"

370 miles off the shores of Costa Rica, Cocos Island is remote, pristine, and rich in history. Jacques Cousteau once deemed it, "The most beautiful island in the world."




As children we all grew up watching those Jacques Cousteau documentaries on Sunday night. I was influenced by those pioneering films and have always had a deep love of the sea and exploration of the natural world. Cocos Island, here I come; another adventure for me, another test for my Red Oxx gear.

Can you guess that I’ve got a well stocked gear room? That night I surveyed my fleet of bags. Which to take? The first three were easy: Tri-fold Shave Kit, a PR5 Safari Beano, and the Gator.

Writer’s note: I love this combination for airline travel, and it’s ready for anything when I reach my destination. Call it my favorite threesome: The Shave Kit goes in the Beano, the Beano carry-on goes in the overhead compartment, and the Gator stays at my feet. Airline regulations allow one "carry on bag" and one "personal item." The Gator is the perfect personal item. I stuff in my binoculars, camera, a snack, and a good book. The water bottle pockets on each end keep refreshments close at hand.

Next I grabbed the new Sherpa Jr. Expedition, loading in my wetsuit, buoyancy compensator, mask, fins, and snorkel. With room to spare, I stuffed in an empty Large Aviators Kit Bag in case I found something in Cocos Island I couldn’t live without.

I hoisted the Expedition bag on my back to test the feel. After the Zambia trip, we made some changes to the design and I was anxious to try ‘em out. Retractable back pack straps are new. So are the compression straps. Then we built out a couple new sizes to accommodate large carry-on items. As I settled the load on my shoulders, the bag felt easy and balanced. This was going to be a great trip.

Home for me and Red Oxx is Billings, Montana not exactly a diving hotspot. Shawn suggested we meet in Florida for a series of check-out dives. I’d test the gear and get oriented to the water again…

Ready? Check out the next installment: Paddle Harder, Paddle Faster on the Pacuares in Costa Rica
Jim’s Costa Rican Adventure – Part 2

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