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Maltese Falcon on Fishery Patrol

Tom Perkins swims with the fishes.

© 2008 Tom Perkins

"We have finished four of the most incredible days of diving ever," reports Tom Perkins of the Belvedere-based 289-ft Dyna-Rig Maltese Falcon from Cocos Island, Costa Rica. "The eight or so species of sharks in the Cocos were in full abundance, the water clear, and the temperature perfect. The accompanying photo is typical of the 2.5-meter hammerheads we saw, and we swam with hundreds. Cocos Island is a diver’s paradise, and the island itself is beautiful. Cocos is the world’s largest uninhabited island — only a handful of park rangers, camping ashore, together with a young marine biologist (who joined us for some dives), are present.

"We were told that their ‘patrol boat’, a 12-ft outboard-powered skiff, was out of commission with motor troubles. Accordingly, fishing boats from several nations were poaching by fishing well inside the 12-mile prohibited zone. When we departed Cocos after dark, we immediately encountered seven illegal fishing boats only three miles offshore. In the darkness they interpreted our radar footprint — which must be awesome with our high carbon masts and reflective carbon yards — as probably that of a warship so, upon our approach they pulled their nets and headed for legal waters. We chased them for a couple of hours in radio silence, scanned the horizon with our powerful searchlight, and saw them over the border. They’ll be back, of course, but it was fun helping enforce the law, if only for a few hours."

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