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Kona Aggressor II Captain’s Log
November 26 – December 3, 2016
Air Temp. 78-88 F
Water Temp. 79 F
Captain: Matt Herwig
2nd Captain: Chad Dolveare
Engineer: Chad Dolveare
Video Pro: Brian Foreman
Instructor: Brent Goudreau
Divemaster: Cameron Smay
Chef: Kevin Bennett
GUESTS: Hayden, Matt, MC, Richard, Kathy, Andy, Corey, Victoria, Lilia, Ezequiel, and Ahteri
Sunday – Shark Fin Rock, Garden Eel Cove
Monday – Aquarium, Driftwood, The Dome
Tuesday – Paradise Pinnacle, Au Au Crater, The Hive
Wednesday – Land of Oz, Catacombs, Manuka Bay
Thursday – Au Au Crater, Robs Reef, Amphitheater, Pelagic Magic
Friday – Turtle Pinnacle
Saturday, November 26th , 2016
Welcome Aboard the Kona Aggressor II! With a glorious pink and yellow sunset in front of the boat, we welcomed our guests aboard with a big aloha! Gear was loaded and stowed away, the boat made ready and we headed towards our overnight mooring in the Kona Harbor. Over head a clear, dark night was full of beautiful stars, as we enjoyed our awesome BBQ meal prepared by Chef Kevin, and talked about our previous dive trips and about what we hoped to find on this current trip. A lovely night was had by all, and we turned in early to get ready for a fantastic day of diving tomorrow.
Sunday, November 27th, Good Morning Divers. What a beautiful start to our diving day! Plenty of sunshine and calm, clear water. Our first destination will be Shark Fin Rock, just a bit north of our overnight mooring site in Kona harbor. After the dive deck briefing by Captain Matt, our guests quickly put on their dive gear and got ready for the day’s diving adventure. When we arrived at Shark Fin Rock, we found very clear water (60 foot visibility). We spotted a Dragon Wrasse among the corral heads and many Bird Wrasse, along with Yellow Tangs. A Moorish Idol was spotted, and even a Long Nose Butterfly Fish. After a fabulous lunch provided by Chef Kevin, we next headed towards Garden Eel Cove, North, towards the Kona Airport. Again, we arrived to calm, clear waters. Our early and late afternoon dives brought results of Manta sightings along the sandy bottom at 80 feet of depth, along with Red Day Octopus, Rock Mover Wrasse, and Hawaiian Grouper. Our night dive was great, as we were able to see many types of Eels, Crabs, and even a few lobsters. Although we were able to only see a few Mantas off in the distance, we were quite satisfied with what we did see, and there was much excited talk about what the divers had seen during the day, and what was to come tomorrow. With a starry night overhead, and good company, we retired to our bunks, with beautiful thoughts of our Island Paradise.
Monday, November 28th, Good Morning and Aloha! The beautiful sunrise over Mauna Kea Volcano found us preparing to leave our overnight mooring at Garden Eel Cove and head south towards our first dive spot of the day, the Aquarium. The Aquarium dive site has many different dive opportunities to offer including a wall dive, coral gardens, and many caves and swim throughs to keep even the most travelled diver excited and eager for the next dive. On entering our first dive, we immediately spotted an enormous Green Sea Turtle, just munching away on his breakfast. We next spotted several Blue Spotted Box Fish, along with a few Green Moray Eels. Our second dive of the morning was terrific also as we were able to find several Red Day Octopus, some Flat Rock Crabs and several Parrot Fish. After a fantastic lunch provided by Chef Kevin of Homemade Egg Drop Soup, Baked Monkfish, and Stuffed Pasta Shells, we ventured further south to our next dive spot Driftwood. Driftwood is a beautiful dive spot always offering something new and exciting to see. We were not disappointed as when we first dove in we spotted a White Tip Reef Shark. We were able to find many decorated Urchins, Yellow Leg Hermit Crabs, and even a few Red Day Octopus dens. We then proceeded further south to the Dome. Being a sunny day out we were in high hopes of seeing the Dome lit up from the top and finding all kinds of Cowries’, Lobsters and other cave dwelling sea creatures. Again, we were not disappointed. We found all these and more, as we found another White Tip Reef Shark, and many Black Surgeon Fish. Our night dive was a super success as we had a surprise visit from a Manta Ray that was very curious about us divers, and even hungrier to feed on the plankton in our lights. The Manta Ray stayed with us for about 35 minutes and swooped, spun, and grazed over the top of us. We couldn’t have asked for a better show. How fantastic! We ended our night with a Berry Pastry Desert and watched our videos that we had captured during the day. There was much laughter and enthusiasm to be had!
Tuesday, November 29th, Welcome to another glorious day in paradise. As the sun rose over the volcano, we prepared to make our way further south to Paradise Pinnacle. The waters were again warm and clear and we dove down to the base of the Pinnacle. Along the way we spotted a big Green Sea Turtle leisurely cruising around looking for breakfast. We were able to spot many Garden Eels along the way also. A White Tip Reef Shark was also spotted. We had such a great time on this dive site we decided to do another dive here and then came up to another fantastic lunch provided by Chef Kevin. Our next destination for the day was Au Au Crater, a crew favorite. Au Au Crater has so much to offer as a diving site, with sandy patches, canyon walls, drop offs, and of course the crater itself. Our first mission was to find the resident Dragon Wrasse that usually hangs out just under the boat, which she was doing today! We next ventured towards the crater wall with over 100 foot drops! What a great view. The water was very clear so we were able to see down to the bottom at 125 feet and over to the other side of the crater wall, at approximately 500 feet. We next rounded the backside of the crater wall up to a depth of 45 feet and were able to see the “pool” area where the water comes up against the underwater mountain side, and all the nutrients get trapped in a sort of underwater whirlpool, which many fish come to partake in feeding there. We saw many Yellow Tangs, Sergeant Fish, and the many colored tropical fish that are endemic to the Hawaiian Islands. It was time to start heading back to the boat, but just under the boat we saw a hunting Red Day Octopus and we were able to watch it stalk its prey, capture and consume it, all the while changing shape and colors to match its background so it was not prey itself. What a terrific display of nature. Our next dive site for the late afternoon and night dive was to be the Hive, with its many swim through arches, walls, and steep drop offs. During the two dives our divers were able to find Slipper Lobsters, Decorator Crabs, Conger Eels, Cusk Eels, Pencil Urchins, Crown of Thorns, and several hunting Octopus. Upon ending for the night, the divers all enjoyed a dip in the hot tub, a cup of hot chocolate, and share stories of what they saw during the day. As the crescent moon came up over the mountain and with a sky full of stars, we packed our gear away and headed for bed with dreams of what would come tomorrow.
Wednesday, November 30th, Good Morning Divers! Another beautiful day here in paradise and our first destination this morning is Land of Oz. Land of Oz is a great dive spot as it too has to offer many different underwater features to swim through such as caverns, fingers, and sloping walls. We dove in promptly at 8:00 am and saw a Dragon Wrasse right off the bat. We next saw a couple of Green Moray Eels, and a school of Sergeant Fish. Our second dive was graced by the presence of Spinner Dolphins both above the water and below. We were so happy to have them with us on our dive and quite enjoyed seeing them play and race around. We were able to see a Green Sea Turtle as he was headed home for the day. Our next dive spot was to be the Catacombs further south, which we looked eagerly towards. The Catacombs are true to its name with many tunnels and crevices to dive through. We really enjoyed swimming through all of the tunnels and saw many sea creatures including lobsters, slipper lobsters, Hawaiian Grouper, White Mouth Eels, and even a few Red Day Octopus. What a great dive! Lunch was provided by Chef Kevin, much to our delight, and we headed south towards Manuka Bay, for our late afternoon and night dives. Manuka Bay is such a great dive spot for the late afternoon and night dive because it is a protected bay and many of the sea creatures flourish here. On our night dive we found many of the sea creatures that come out at night such as the Cowries, with their full mantle out, Octopus, Slipper Lobsters, Moray Eels, Conger Eels, and Hawaiian Turkey Fish. As we were finishing our dive we even came upon a White Tip Reef Shark. What an awesome sight. The White Tip Reef Shark circled us for about 10 minutes and we were able to get some really great shots. There was much excited talk on the deck after the dive about the day’s adventures, and about the prospects for tomorrow. Now it’s time for bed.
Thursday, December 1st, Welcome to the first day of December in beautiful, sunny, and warm Hawaii. the only snow we have here is on the top of the Volcano Mona Kea. Lucky for us we are at a balmy 78 degrees this morning at sea level and headed North towards our first dive spot of the day, Au Au Crater, a crew favorite. Au Au crater dive site is a blown out half crater underwater with its base at about 180 feet, with fantastic walls to view with all of the sea creatures attached to its surface. It also offers sandy flat areas to find Dragon Wrasse, and large boulder areas to find Eels, Crabs, Lobsters, and Titan Scorpion Fish between and under the rocks. All of these creatures we found and more on our first two dives here. As we rounded the backside of the crater, we came upon the pool area where the water swirls and the fish congregate to eat all the nutrients brought up from the deep. What a show. So many different types of fish from Yellow Tangs, to Grouper, to the Black Butterfly Fish, it made for a very picturesque dive. We climbed back on board and headed for our next dive spot Rob’s Reef. Rob’s Reef is another protected bay area were all the sea creatures tend to gather, and has many different underwater features to offer the diver, such as, caves to swim into, some with White Tip Reef Sharks, colorful reef drop offs and coral gardens, and a wall that slope off to the abyss where we may be able to view some of the pelagic animals. We dove in eagerly to see what we could find, and immediately spotted Titan Scorpion Fish, along with many Eels, and the tropical reef fish. We next ventured towards the cave system. Upon entering the caves we found Flat Rock Crabs, Slipper Lobsters, and Cowries. We even found a White Tip Reef Shark as we ventured further into the cave about 100 feet. We next turned around and headed back towards the boat, but not before checking out the wall to see if we could find anything there. We did! A Spotted Eagle Ray just happened to be passing by just as we came to the wall. What a great dive. We climbed back on board and prepared for our next dive to be located further North at the Amphitheater. The Amphitheater has much to offer also as a dive spot, due to its colorful reef system, usual clear waters, and sandy bottoms that slope off to the walls. We jumped in eagerly to find Green Sea Turtles, Red Day Octopus, Grouper, Yellow Tangs, and lots of Black Trigger Fish. Another great dive was had. Next we headed towards our off shore dive, the Pelagic Black Water dive, which is always and guest and crew favorite. We arrived at our destination spot, about 2 miles off shore of down town Kona, and jumped in to see what we could find. It took a minute or so for our eyes to adjust but then we were amazed at what we found. We could see drifting Jelly Fish of many different kinds, and all kinds of alien creatures floating up from the bottom. Most of these creatures where translucent, and had neon light internally flashing on and off. They ranged in size from an inch or so to 12 feet long. Awesome! We spent a good 45 minutes in an alien paradise viewing all these magical creatures. What a fantastic dive! We headed up to the sun deck after the dive to enjoy the hot tub, and to show our pictures from the most recent dive. We talked late into the night about our great adventures from the day of diving.
Friday, December 2nd, As we woke up from our peaceful sleep at the Kona harbor mooring sight we prepared to go dive at our last dive site of the trip, Turtle Pinnacle, a bit north of our location. Turtle Pinnacle sits at the mouth of a deep water channel and harbor, with many sightings of both Bottle Nose and Spinner Dolphins, a resident Tiger Shark named Laverne, and quite a few Spotted Eagle Rays along the wall area. We jumped in right away at 8:00 am, and were not disappointed with the amount of sea creatures we found. Although the day was overcast, it prolonged the activity level of the night creatures about and we were able to see many Octopus, Crabs, and Lobsters still out and about. We also spotted a Green Sea Turtle, along with a possible sighting of our resident Tiger Shark, but it was just a shadow outline due to the distance. What a fantastic way to end the week’s charter. We climbed back on board, and sat down to a wonderful meal prepared this time by Chef Brent of Mexican food, complete with Cheese and Chicken Enchiladas, Pork Carnitas, Beef Fajitas, Green Salad, and all the fixings. A celebration meal for an awesome charter week.
Saturday, December 3rd, Welcome to Saturday. We are sad to see our guests leave, as we had a great time on this charter, but we expect to see them back here soon, as we had so much fun. We say our fond goodbyes, and wish safe travels and happy bubbles to them all until we see them again. Until then, Mahalo, and travel safe.
The Captain, and entire crew of the Kona Aggressor II