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Kona Aggressor Captain’s Log
November 12th – 19th, 2016
Air Temp. 82-87 F
Water Temp. 78 F
Wetsuit Recommendation: 3mm
Captain: Matt Herwig
2nd Captain: Chad Dolbeare
Instructor: Jeremy Dick
Video Pro: Brian Foreman
Divemaster: Shelby Penn
Divemaster Manual Lassaletta
Chef: Cameron Smay
Sunday – Shark Fin Rock, Garden Eel Cove, Manta Mayhem
Monday – Kalokos Arches, Driftwood, Pelagic Magic
Tuesday – Paradise Pinnacle, Au Au Crater, Manuka Bay
Wednesday – Stoney Mesa, Land of Oz, The Hive
Thursday – Rob’s Reef, The Dome, Mantaville
Friday – Turtle Pinnacle
Saturday November 12th
Aloha from beautiful, sunny Kona, Hawaii. At 5:00pm guests arrive at Kailua Pier and are greeted by crew as they board the Kona Aggressor II. Captain and crew would like to welcome Rebecca, Isabelle, Alban, Amanda, Robert, Patricia, and Kathy. Guests have a chance to settle in and set up dive gear before Captain Matt gives a boat briefing, followed by a savory barbeque dinner as we prepare for our adventure at sea!
Sunday November 13th
The week of diving starts at Shark Fin Rock, a great location for a checkout dive, as the reef is shallow, allowing guests to become comfortable in the water with buoyancy and photography equipment. After a dive deck briefing from Captain Matt, guests enter the water and are greeted by a variety of marine life. The sightings include a dragon wrasse, black butterfly fish, and even a couple day octopuses! After lunch, we head for our afternoon and evening dive site at Garden Eel Cove. In the afternoon, guests see a devil scorpionfish, undulated eels, and even more octopuses, bringing our daily total to five. The elusive monk seal even makes a brief appearance at the surface as it comes up for a breath. After dinner, guests excitedly gear up for the Manta Mayhem dive. As we arrive at the underwater campfire, a display of feeding manta rays greets us. Guests are able to take plenty of photos as the mantas go after the plankton that is attracted to the lights of their cameras. After an hour, it is difficult to leave the still active mantas, although we do have one animal follow us back to the boat. After the dive, guests review the photos and videos from the dive, a night they will surely remember.
Monday November 14th
A beautiful morning greets our guests as they enjoy a delicious breakfast prepared by Chef Cam. The day of diving begins with two dives at Kalokos Arches. This site offers multiple swim-throughs and a varied topography with walls, sandy bottoms, and slot canyons, offering many opportunities for viewing marine life. Guests see Fisher’s pygmy angelfish, boxfish, Titan scorpionfish, a zebra moray eel, a frogfish, and a dragon wrasse. In the afternoon we make our way to Driftwood where the guests spot a slipper lobster, green sea turtle, ghost shrimp, and flame angelfish. Hoping to make the most of the super moon, Captain Matt takes the guests out three miles from shore for the night Pelagic Magic dive. Sitting above 3,000 feet of water, four ropes are lowered over the boat at the bow and stern for guests to hold onto. As the boat drifts along, divers have the opportunity to glimpse the plankton that emerge from the depths for their daily migration into shallow water. Guests view a variety of organisms ranging form tiny copepods to comb jellies, that glow under flashlights, and even a pufferfish. Guests retire for the night after the unique and unforgettable dive.
Tuesday November 15th
As we begin to head further south, the morning of diving begins at Paradise Pinnacle. The pinnacle itself is steep and offers a variety of life at all depths. Guest were able to see several nudibranches and a small brightly colored juvenile frogfish. After another amazing and satisfying lunch, the first dive of the afternoon begins at Au Au Crater, which did not disappoint. We saw a dragon wrasse swimming through the coral fingers and toward the end of the dive, an eagle ray gracefully swam above the group and everyone was able to get a good viewing before it swam off. For the late afternoon and evening dive, we made our way to Manuka Bay. After dinner, guests enjoyed a wonderful night dive, full of eels, like the Hawaiian conger and slender eel, as well as a mantis shrimp and a stocky hawkfish. After a long and successful day of diving, no one has any trouble falling asleep that night.
Wednesday November 16th
This morning, guests enjoy a warm fantastic breakfast before entering the water for the first dive of the day. At Stoney Mesa, the divers spot a green sea turtle gracefully making its way through the clear morning waters. After a second dive at the site, which included a blue dragon nudibranch, devil scorpionfish, a long fin scorpionfish, we made our way over to a site called the Land of Oz. While following the “yellow brick road”, a sandy path that characterizes the site, guests searched for the elusive jolly green giant, which itself looks like it was plucked right from the Land of Oz. For the last dives of the day, we headed over to the Hive. On the land surrounding the site, there are often goats that can be seen searching for food along the hillsides, but this is nothing compared to the wonders that await underwater. Here, there is a beautiful cave that is full of color and life, allowing the divers to see many active cowries, a spanish dancer, cusk eels, and the endemic Hawaiian lionfish, a fantastic end to another day of diving.
Thursday November 17th
After another stunning sunrise, the diving begins at Rob’s Reef. Divers enjoy searching the walls and boulders of the small cave here for slipper lobsters, flat rock crabs and the brightly colored shrimp. In the afternoon we head over to The Dome for one dive where guests see a small white tip reef shark and several frogfish. In the late afternoon, hoping to see more mantas, we head over to Mantaville, the original location of the first manta ray night dive. We do see one manta, but the excitement centered around a small pod of dolphins that kept swimming around the night divers and their voices that could be heard through most of the encounter. Additionally, the divers watched a moray eat a yellow tang and could even see the distended stomach of the eel as it swam away from the very excited divers.
Friday November 18th
It is a bittersweet day as we finish with the last couple dives at Turtle Pinnacle. At the beginning of the dive, we played with a rather active octopus who seemed as if it could not make up its mind about what it wanted to camouflage in with. As there is a resident tiger shark at this location, all the divers had their eyes peeled hoping to get a glimpse of these majestic animals, and were not disappointed. At the end of the dive, some of the guests were able to glimpse a female tiger shark as she headed towards the shallows. After a lunch of burgers and hotdogs, guest had a few hours to explore Kona on land before the farewell cocktail party where two divers were awarded the iron diver award, having completed all the dives offered throughout the week. A huge mahalo to all of our awesome guests for another great week onboard the Kona Aggressor II!
Until Next Time!
-The Kona Aggressor II Captain and Crew