Kona Aggressor Captain’s Log
June 25th – July 2tnd 2016
Air Temp. 80-85 F
Water Temp. 81 F
Captain Colby Hawkins
2nd Captain Matt Herwig
Engineer: Ernie Stanley
Dive Master: Ashley Sheree
Instructor/Video Pro: Brian Foreman
Chef: Brent Goudreau
Dana, Tom, Lori Ann, Stephen, Sandi, Janis, Lana, Sandra, John, David, Victor, Hugh
Sunday – Meadows, Amphitheater, Driftwood, Pelagic Magic
Monday – The Dome, Lion’s Den, Rob’s Reef
Tuesday – Au Au Crater, Land of Oz, Manuka Bay
Wednesday – Walls Wall, Pohue Bay, The Hive
Thursday – The Hive, Paradise Pinnacle, Predator, Garden Eel Cove
Friday – Sharkfin Rock
Saturday June 25th
Aloha! What a perfect, sunny afternoon to begin our diving adventure! Guests board the Kona Aggressor II via Kailua Pier in tropical Kona, Hawaii and our greeted by our smiling crew. Everyone has time to settle in and set up gear as they begin getting acquainted with the boat and fellow divers. Captain Colby gives a boat briefing in the main salon, then Chef Brent serves a savory dinner of Cornish hens, coconut rice, and asparagus followed by a homemade flan. The Aggressor then sets sail for a nearby mooring where we will be spending the night.
Sunday June 26th
The dive deck is humming with excitement in anticipation of the week’s first dive. Instructor Brian gives a general deck and safety briefing, followed by the dive site briefing for the Meadows, then we are in the water. Meadows is an excellent spot for the check out dive, as it is an easy, fairly shallow dive with plenty to see. Divers have a chance to adjust buoyancy and camera settings, before beginning to search for critters. Everyone checks out fine and we’re off to the Amphitheater to swim through some lava tubes! On the swim to the tubes we were greeted by a friendly pod of Hawaiian bottlenose dolphins that swam alongside the divers at 35ft. They don’t always stay as longs as they did so the divers were very excited! It was nice to see a mother and calve cruising side by side.
For the night dive we did the anticipated pelagic black water dive! We like to call it pelagic magic as we dive on top of 3,000ft and see what sort of alien-like creatures come up from the depth. Squid and jellyfish of very odd shapes and sizes made some close up investigating very interesting. This time our planned 30 minute dive lasted over an hour because of all the cool stuff we got to see!
Monday June 27th
After another night’s sleep on the Kona mooring we dropped the lines and headed south to The Dome. Instructor Ernie guided the divers to a shallow cave, where we spotted a porcupine puffer bobbing along the backside wall, passively eyeing the divers. Outside the cave we wind around various pinnacles home to pairs of butterfly fish and free swimming moral eels. Next we head to Lion’s Den, named for the resident endemic lion fish who live there. The lion fish are native to Hawaiian reefs and therefore are smaller than those found in other parts of the world. This is due to the fact that they have natural predators here such as grouper and eel. Winding around the “fingers” of rock which form a wavy border for the site, we are happy to have found a lion fish hovering under a ledge. We also spotted a juvenile Hawaiian hogfish, a zebra moray eel, and a gold lace nudibranch. Our last stop is Rob’s Reef, where we also had our night dive. The night dive was very exciting and full of slipper lobsters, massive spiny lobsters, many shrimps, and of course bioluminescence. Guests returned to the boat for a cup of hot coco and Bailys, then off to bed for another exciting day tomorrow.
Tuesday June 28th
The KAII continues south to one of our most dramatically landscaped sites called Au Au Crater. Here we slowly head along a steep sloping reef, looking closely for flabellinas and fried egg nudibranches until we reach the crater. The crater itself is layered in depths of up to 90ft at the deepest and 25ft at the top. We make our way along the inside of the crater spotting a white mouthed moray and orange spined surgeonfish. Cutting over the top of the crater to a sandy channel we see a juvenile dragon wrasse in his usual location. Just as we began our safety stop and when we thought the fun was over, we were lucky enough to be visited by a spotted eagle ray, which swam out of the blue, did a loop around us, then disappeared back into the open ocean. The next two locations, Land of Oz and Manuka Bay, were also very nice. Guests were able to see a slatefish, a spotted boxfish, and an ocotopus. We finished the evening with delicious flank steak dinner on the top deck during a beautiful sunset, accompanied by live entertainment from some of our musically talented crew on guitar, Instructor Brian and Captain Colby. Exclusively on Kona Aggressor II!
Wednesday June 29th
The adventure continues as we head to a mostly untouched site called Wall’s Wall. Divers love this beautiful site as they swim along a sheer wall which drops to a depth of over a 100ft. Creatures reside in the wall at all depths, including a golden trumpetfish, a pair of lizardfish, boxfish, and also a spotted eagle ray. Next we head just a few minutes away to Pohue Bay where we were lucky enough to be visited by the eagle rate yet again! We then sail north to the Hive, a dive which some guests said to be their favorite of the week. Here photographers have an awesome opportunity for photographs from inside the swim throughs, as divers on the outside are silhouetted against a clear blue background. We also spotted an octopus, a white tipped reef shark, and two big frogfish.
Thursday, June 30th
We started the day with another dive at the Hive, as divers really enjoyed the site. Our next spot was at Paradise Pinnacle, a pinnacle teeming with life which drops down to a sandy bottom of about 60ft. Here we saw guard crabs, a longnose hawkfish, and several eels. KAII continued sailing north to the wreck dive known as Predator. It was very funny when we looked inside the wreck to find two plastic skeletons inside, one with a snorkel in its mouth. It was also exciting to have seen a submarine descend from the surface, its passengers waving to divers and divers waving back before it departed into the blue. The last dive was the most exciting, Garden Eel Cove. This is where divers go to a sandy bottom with big lights pointing up towards the surface. Snorkelers from other boats are at the surface with lights pointing down. This light attracts zooplankton which in turn attracts hungry manta rays. The mantas put on quite a show for the divers when they came to feed. At last two dozen mantas showed up for the feast! We were amazed at their beauty as the swam in loops around the divers and our lights. So awesome!
Friday, July 1st
It is our last day of diving, and we finish off the week at Shark Fin Rock. The site is name for the fin shaped rock which protrudes the surface near the beach. Here divers slowly fin along a sloping coral reef and enjoy a tiger cowery, a cornetfish, and many beautiful butterfly fish. We dock at Kailua Pier and guests have a chance to spend the afternoon expl oring Kona by land. We have a lovely cocktail party at 5:30 and congratulate our iron divers of the week. We exchange information and say our farewells. Thank you everyone for an amazing adventure with awesome people. A big Mahalo from the Kona Aggressor II Captain and Crew and we look forward to seeing you again!