Kona Aggressor Captain’s Log
August 6th-13th 2016
Air Temp. 78-88 F
Water Temp. 80-82 F
Captain/Instructor: Ernie Stanley
Captain/Instructor: Colby Hawkins
Captain/Instructor: Matt Herwig
Instructor/Engineer: Jeremy Dick
Divemaster: Ashley Hettenhausen
Chef: Kevin Bennett
Craig, Stephanie, Dave, Darcy, Karen, Shirley, Emma, John, Bill, Brad, John, Alan, Leo, Ben
Sunday – Meadows, Driftwood, The Dome
Monday – Lions Den, Robs Reef, Thompsons Reef, Manuka Bay
Tuesday – Stoney Mesa, Catacombs, The Hive
Wednesday –Au Au Crater, Paradise Pinnacle, Pelagic Magic
Thursday –Turtle Pinnacle, Kolokos Arches, Garden Eel Cove
Friday – Sharkfin Rock Aquarium
Saturday August 6th
As five o’clock rolls around we greet our new guests on this sunny afternoon. We’ve got some experienced divers traveling from Omaha Nebraska, Woodbine Iowa, Carthage Missouri and Monroe North Carolina! Guests get there scuba gear set up and adjusted right off the bat before we have the briefing. Chef Kevin had a BBQ buffet slowed cooked and ready for a great first meal. The ribs were excellent and so was the Maui beer they said. We head out to our mooring for a pleasant night’s sleep.
Sunday August 7th
Up and at em we fire up the bacon and eggs and drive south to our first dive site the meadows. Here divers get a dive deck briefing, do a weight check and get their buoyancy in check as we start off with a nice and easy site with some varieties of butterfly fish and wrasse. For the second dive we cruised into Captain Cook’s Bay and monument. Here we did a drift dive around the cove searching for treasure and dolphins. As we ordered we had a topside visit next to the boat of about 12 spinner dolphins! At lunch we enjoyed some BLT’s, chicken salad, pasta salad and chips while we watched a documentary film on Hawaiian fish. For the second dive Colby leads the dive at a site called driftwood. This site features some ledge drop offs and a variety of fish including a porcupine puffer and then a cruise by from a wahoo! Then skipped a half mile over to the dome which is a larger site in terms of structural places to check out. We had a very nice sunset and calm, warm waters. We enjoyed some freshly rolled sushi while Captain Ernie gave the night diving briefing. For the night dive we saw 4 titan scorpionfish and a tube worm that was about 5 feet long. Porpine puffers came to check us out as well as a few whitemouthed moray eels. A great first night dive!
Monday August 8th
Making our way further south to the lions den. We briefed divers on the Hawaiian version of a lionfish which can be known as a turkeyfish here. While it looks very similar to a lion fish it runs much smaller and in brighter red and orange colors. Jeremy saw one on the way back during the first dive. Then we were off to Rob’s Reef. Here we investigated a cool cave and swam around this healthy coral area with a good color variety. We enjoyed lunch on the sundeck while we putted down to another reef called Thompsons reef. There happened to be a bit of current but fortunately there are several rock structures to hide behind. So Ernie lead the group into the current and then they divers drift back into the mooring line. Kind of fun on the way back. There were all sorts of schooling fish down there from pyramid butterfly fish, black durgeon triggerfish, damsels and some Moorish idols! We didn’t want to fight the current again so we moved to Manuka Bay for some protection and better visibility.
With a calm evening and another pretty sunset we said why not have dinner on the sundeck as well. The guest enjoyed a greek salad followed by Mahi Mahi grilled with a tropical salsa, twice baked potatoes and some mixed sautéed vegetables. We also had a birthday so we all sang John happy birthday with his custom cake made by chef Kevin. Everyone else got hot brownies with vanilla ice cream to top off their sweet tooth for the night. Delish! J Then Jeremy took the group on the night dive. Manuka bay is a crew favorite for night dives as there’s always different things coming out to feed at night. Particularly moray eels and lobsters. We had several of both and some more scorpionfish!.
Tuesday August 9th
We kicked off this morning at a crew favorite called stoney mesa. This site features maze-like rock structures that call for some investigating! Some unicorn fish, cowry, hermit crabs a stocky hawkfish and a green sea turtle! A solid start to the day… Then we were off to catacombs. Divemaster Colby lead the group around this beehive of a dive site around a couple walls and through a neat swim through. There was an incredible amount of fish at this site. Every type of schooling fish from yellow tang to purple damsels, peacock groupers and bird wrasses. After two great dives it was time for taco Tuesday! Kevin had pulled chicken, pulled pork and all the Mexican style fixins you could imagine along with chicken posole soup! This food coma called for a team nap until we rang the bell at 2:00.. Our afternoon dives were enjoyable for the warm and calm waters we’re enjoying in August. Divers were exciting about some of the small stuff we were seeing such as the fried egg nudibranc, the pillow starfish, the golden lace nudi, a zebra eel and a female trunkfish! Our afternoon and night dive were at the hive dive site. There’s a lot to explore here and we had 9 out of 13 divers on the night dive! J Oh and not to mention our dinner was fantastic again by chef Kevin. We had flank steaks over broccoli and seasoned potatoes.
Wednesday August 10th
This morning we stopped at one of our top 5 sites called Au Au Crater! With a sunny calm morning divers plunged into the crater close to 100ft. We saw a medusa spaghetti worm, a male boxfish, a dragon wrasse and a redstripe pipefish. The visibility was decent this morning and we had some great dives. For Lunch we enjoyed some Asian cuisine with some egg drop soup, pork stir fry, beef and broccoli, fried rice and egg rolls. Delish!.. For the afternoon we went to paradise pinnacle. This site features a 45ft rock pinnacle that goes down to 90ft. The divers swam around the pinnacle and got to check out a black coral bush which had two longnose hawkfish. They are usually only found hiding in these black coral bushes so it was something unique to see. :)
We had our dinner while cruising out away from the island and enjoyed ceasar salad, grilled salmon, roasted mixed vegetables and penne alfredo! A quick slice of pineapple pound cake for dessert to top it off and then we were back out on the dive deck in preparation for Pelagic Magic!.. Three miles from shore in approximately 3,000 feet of water we jumped in and hung from 7 different lines to see what ‘alien-like’ creatures came up from the depths! Every time is different and tonight we saw some interesting jellyfish, tube worms, zoo plankton, pelagic schools of fish and some other weird looking spidery things?.. pretty neat!
Thursday August 11th
Thursday is always like the grand finale of the week as everyone is getting in for as many dives and pictures as possible. We started off at turtle pinnacle which to out pleasant surprise we got a nice long visit from a fairly large green sea turtle. He swam down and sat under a rock ledge to pose for a few videos and photos. Along with a healthy coral area and tons of fish, this dive was pretty spectacular. We had a little barbeque action for lunch with burgers, dogs, potato salad and chili up on the top deck for a change of scenery. The afternoon dive was at the black hole! This dive had a cool tunnel that drop vertically and shoots you down into 60ft of water. The divers all went through it a couple times while scoping out the coral along the wall… Then we were off to claim our spot at garden eel cove for the manta dive. We went on a dive to check out the layout before it got dark as well as treasure hunt from all the masks, snorkels and GoPros that get left behind. We had a pretty sweet dive as we saw a Hawaiian monk seal and 3 mantas cruising by! The vis was bad but that’s always a good sign for Manats for some reason.. at 6:15 Chef Kevin blew the conk shell and it was ready for our final supper! Tomatoe, moazarella, freshly sliced bread and grilled shrimp to start.. Then roasted beef tenderloin with garlic mash potatoes and mixed vegetables toped with a mushroom red wine reduction sauce! We all agreed we might need the extra weight to hold us down for the manta show… So then we prepped for the manta dive and gathered the group together for the swim to the fire pit. 63 mins later divers came back with smiles and satisfaction of a great manta show. We had 8 mantas tonight. Captain Ernie rounded the troops and brought everyone back to the boat. The divers raved with their excitement and enjoyed some cold beers as we cruised under a clear stary night’s sky back to our mooring in Kailua.
Friday August 12th
After the rush of last night’s Manta dive we sip our coffee and reminisce over the past few days. Then we gather in the salon for a highlight video made by the crew and captain Colby. 2 more dives left so we stop by two fun but shallower dites. Sharkfin rock and then the aquarium! There’s still time to play with the fishies!.. Then we have some hot lasagna made by Matt who steps into the galley for the day. A relaxing afternoon at the pier and then a toast to the week for our cocktail party at five o’ clock. Thanks to our guest this week for another fantastic week. We hope to see you again!
Until Next Time..
The Kona Aggressor II Captain and crew