Kona Aggressor Captain’s Log
June 18th – 25th 2016
Air Temp. 80-85 F
Water Temp. 81 F
Captain Colby Hawkins
2nd Captain Matt Herwig
Engineer: Jeremy Dick
Instructor: Ashley Sheree
Instructor: Brian Foreman
Chef: Brent Goudreau
Merily, Brian, George, Sherry, Linda, Thomas, Joel, Genie, Lorne, Kelly, Christine, Valerie, Sandy
Sunday – Meadows, Amphitheater, Pelagic Magic
Monday – Driftwood, Lion’s Den, Rob’s Reef
Tuesday – Au Au Crater, Land of Oz, Manuka Bay
Wednesday – Pahue Bay, Black Coral Forest, Stoney Mesa
Thursday – Land of Oz, Captain Cook’s Bay, Mantaville
Friday – Sharkfin Reef
Saturday June 18th
As we sat at the pier with the calmest waters on the Kona ocean front, We boarded 13 excited divers and indulged in a delicious barbeque buffet made by Chef Brent. We shared a few laughs while we went through the safety briefing and orientation. It was nice to see that we had several returning customers as well as many who had been on other Aggressor boats. Out at the mooring we had a great night sleep with a pleasant cool breeze after a hot day.
Sunday June 19th
With the sun peeking up over the mountain tops we made our way to the Meadows. Time to test out the new gear, get weighted properly and play with the camera rigs. The checkout dive went very smoothly and divers were able to enjoy a relaxing dive where we saw a 7-11 crab, a tiger snake moray eel, and one of the divers spotted a shiny tiger cowry. For the afternoon we thought we’d get adventurous with this experienced group of divers and go swim through some lava tubes at the site called Amphitheater. The group did an excellent job staying together as we explored the winding tubes before venturing off to explore the sloping coral reefs. In the corals we found a photogenic day octopus which paid no mind to divers as it foraged along looking for tasty clams and snails. The evening finished with an exciting, once in a lifetime night dive for thrill seekers… Pelagic Magic! For this dive we move to open seas and drop lines below the boat. Divers hang on the lines and hover in up to a thousand feet of water as the boat drifts, and simply wait to see what floats by. We are enchanted by the strange, glowing, alien looking invertebrates which pulse past in the black water. It was a truly unique and unforgettable experience!
Monday June 20th
Another beautiful, sunny morning in Hawaii as we sail to our first dive site called Driftwood. This is a nice, relaxing spot where divers enjoy short swims through the lava tube as well as various, colorful hard corals. There was a very exciting find today as one of the divers spotted a tiny baby frog fish! Next we head to Lion’s Den, named for the resident lion fishes. The lion fish in this area are smaller than those found in other parts of the world as they are indigenous, rather than invasive, and therefore have natural predators such as grouper eel. For this reason, there are very few of them which makes them a special find. We were lucky enough to spot one in an overhang, as well as a very shy octopus showing only its eyes from underneath a rock. Divers were also happy to see two red guard crabs which were perfectly camouflaged inside a cluster of antler coral. It took a minute to even be able to distinguish them as crabs rather than part of the coral due to their clever and cunning design. We concluded the day with two dives at Rob’s Reef, the second of which was a night dive where we got to see a weird creature called a slipper lobster. We returned to the boat, had a soothing cup of hot coco and Bailys, then off the bed to be ready for another exciting day of diving tomorrow.
Tuesday June 21st
Aloha! Au Au Crater turned out to be an extremely memorable way to the start the morning. Having one of the most dramatic landscapes in the itinerary, Au Au Crater is a site where divers can slowly make their way along a lively wall full of wrasses and nudibranchs to a massive volcanic crater. The crater is home to a resident titan scorpion fish, hard to spot due to its camouflaging qualities and very interesting to observe. On the way back to the boat from the crater we got a very special surprise, a spotted eagle ray! Instead of swimming away from us, the eagle ray stuck around hovering in loops around the divers for nearly five amazing minutes! Guests returned to the dive deck with huge smiles as we shared photos and retold the events of the dive. Land of Oz and Manuka Bay were also very lovely dives and we were happy to have spotted a juvenile dragon wrasse, a yellow headed moray, dancer fish, unicorn fish, and a variety of butterfly fish. For dinner, Chef Brent prepared a delicious,, savory meal of perfectly grilled flank steak, string beans, and French fries. The sunset was especially beautiful this evening as we were graced with the presence of a pod of five dolphins. Guests relaxed on the sun deck and in the hot tub, enjoying their cocktails, happy to have had another fabulous day of diving.
Wednesday June 22nd
After a hearty French toast breakfast, we started the day with a beautiful divesite called Pahue Bay. Here divers were excited to see a golden trumpetfish, massive schooling tuna, and schooling barracuda. We are off to a great start! Next we go to Black Forest Coral for two fantastic dives. In between dives, guests have a chance to go for a ride in the dinghy to a flawless, uninhabited tropical beach for an opportunity for some quality topside photos. We then head to the next spot at Stoney Mesa. Upon mooring up, we spot a pod of dolphins giving us our second dolphin siting this week, two days in a row. Here we saw many colorful pairing butterfly fish, a foraging green sea turtle and a huge spiny lobster. Divers return to the boat after the night dive for a hot coco, then early to bed after the eventful, adventurous day at sea.
Thursday June 23rd
It’s nearing the end of the week and we are even more intent on making every dive count! We start at Land of Oz for two dives. Here divers follow a winding ledge which bottoms out at about 70ft. The steep wall is home to hundreds of urchins and many types of moray eels. We also spotted a few banded cleaner shrimp poking their heads out from in between the rocks. We enjoyed an all American lunch of hamburgers, hotdogs, and ribs while heading north to Captain Cook’s Bay, where we had an absolutely stunning view of the island. Here we did something a little different, a drift dive. Divers glided slowly along the wall looking for octopus, pufferfish, and various boxfish before surfacing and being picked up directly by KAII. Next was the dive we had all been waiting for.. MANTAVILLE!! This is an awesome night dive where divers take down a spotlight and sit on the sandy bottom with the light pointing upwards toward the surface. The light attracts zooplankton which in turn attracts hungry manta rays. Guests were not disappointed as we were visited by four mantas who stayed with us for the whole dive of about 45 minutes. The mantas gracefully looped around and showed off with spinning tricks giving photographers plenty of opportunity for up close and personal shots, and giving us memories that will last a lifetime. What a show!
Friday June 25th
Last day of the trip. We concluded our diving adventure with two dives at Sharkfin Rock, a site named for the fin-like rock which protrudes the surface at the site. Here e were happy to have seen an octopus, a few nudibranchs, and many colorful butterfly fish and angel fish. After cleaning our gear and having lunch, guests had a chance to explore Kona on land. At 5pm we enjoyed a cocktail party and award ceremony, exchanged contact info, and said our farewells. A big MAHALO from the captain and crew to our guests for another awesome week on board the Kona Aggressor II!! Safe travels and we look forward to seeing you again!
Until Next Time!
-The Kona Aggressor II Captain and Crew