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Kona Aggressor II Captain’s Log
January 28- February 4, 2017
Air Temp: 70-80 °F
Water Temp: 77 °F
Visibility: 30-80+ ft
Captain: Matt Herwig
2nd Captain: Chad Dolbeare
Instructor/Video Pro: Brian Foreman
Divemaster: Cameron Smay
Divemaster: Shelby Penn
Chef: Kevin Bennett
GUESTS: Joseph Longley, Lisa Longley, Robert Becker, Jessica Rodgers John Wheeler, Andra Wheeler, Caige Wheeler, Collin Blacksher, David Cullen, William Morgan, Robert Branch, Roy Prather
Sunday: Driftwood, Amphitheater, Mantaville
Monday: Meadows, Paradise Pinnacle, Manuka Bay
Tuesday: Pohue Bay, Ladders, Rainbow Reef
Wednesday: Black Coral Forrest, Walls Wall, Stoney Mesas, Manuka Bay
Thursday: Land of Oz, Never-Neverland, Rob’s Reef, The Dome, Pelagic Magic
Friday: Predator Wreck
Saturday January 28th – Aloha from sunny Kona, Hawaii! At 5:00 PM the Captain and crew welcomed twelve guests from Fort Worth, Texas, excited for a week of diving and a chance to see some large ocean animals like manta rays and humpback whales. After setting up their gear and making sure everything was working and ready to dive with, they were greeted to a sighting of whales as everyone began feasting on the delicious barbeque dinner prepared by Chef Kevin.
Sunday January 29th – To begin the week of diving, after a breakfast of Hawaiian bread French toast, we did our checkout dive at Driftwood. This site is shallow and guests have the opportunity to begin exploring some of Hawaii’s more unique structures, such as one of the many lava tubes. Guests viewed many banded urchins, as well as a Triton’s trumpet, and ghost shrimp, tucked away in the tube. For lunch, Chef Kevin prepared Reuben and chicken salad sandwiches. After a delicious lunch, we made our way over to Amphitheater, for an early afternoon dive. Here, guests were able to see multiple yellow tangs, Moorish idols, longnose butterflyfish, and even a sea turtle! For the last two dives of the day we moored up at Mantaville. This site is the location of the original manta night dive. After a dinner of grilled flank steak, guests jumped into the water and were immediately surrounded by five mantas, feeding on the plankton collecting in the flashlights. One manta even followed the divers back to the boat and could be heard feeding long into the night as everyone tucked in for a good night of sleep.
Monday January 30th – This morning, guests woke up to the wonderful smell of macadamia nut pancakes that Chef Kevin was preparing in the kitchen for breakfast. We began our day by heading further south along the Hawaiian coastline to Meadows. Here guest were able to see Potters’ angelfish, many four-spot butterflyfish, and even an octopus chasing after a white-mouth moray eel, which was chasing a yellow tang! For lunch, guests enjoyed grilled tri-tip beef and baked white fish. We continued south to Paradise Pinnacle, home to a patch of black coral inside of which longnose hawkfish can be seen. A delicious dinner of grilled mahi mahi preceded our evening dive at Manuka Bay. This sheltered spot allowed our guests to see a dog-faced puffer, barracuda, and many eels, all of which were very active at night. Guests were ready to tuck into bed after a great day of diving!
Tuesday January 31st – The smell of omelets and Portuguese sausage greeted everyone as they awoke from their slumbers. Today we had a rare opportunity to dive near the southern most tip of the island, as the current and wind seemed to be just right and in our favor. We began the day at Pohue Bay, a massive coral garden with many juvenile fish and eels that were very curious about the new presence of divers in the water. The next dive was at the southern most tip of the United States, Ladders. Guests were treated to a dragon wrasse, lizardfish, and even a hammerhead shark during the safety stop! Everyone enjoyed a great lunch of Italian meatloaf and cheese stuffed pasta shells before getting back into the water at Rainbow Reef. Toward the surface, there were hundreds of black triggerfish, feeding on unseen plankton, in addition to a white-mouth moray whose body was also white, a rare find! After a dinner of grilled pork loins guests jumped back into the water for a night dive where they saw many crabs and large spiny lobsters.
Wednesday February 1st – The smell of a warm breakfast of waffles and bacon wafted through the boat as everyone woke up ready for some awesome diving. We began the day with a dive at Black Coral Forrest. Guests saw a couple longnose hawkfish and a turtle while taking advantage of the calm water on the southern side of the island. The next site we visited was Walls’ Wall, where guests saw a lizardfish and several boxfish. For lunch, Chef Kevin prepared BLT sandwiches and turkey wraps. In the afternoon, the first dive was at Stoney Mesa, a site that allows guests to swim through many pinnacles towards the shallows. Here guest saw a hermit crab the size of a football and many crabs living inside the shells of the sea urchins. For our evening dive, we made our way to Manuka Bay once more. After a great dinner of grilled salmon and Cornish hens, guests hopped in the water for the last dive of the day and were able to see barracuda, a dragon wrasse, and many small sea cucumbers that could be seen feeding. Guests retired after an adventure-packed day ready to get some rest.
Thursday February 2nd – The day of diving began at the Land of Oz, after a great breakfast of pineapple pancakes and hot links. Here guests saw many trumpetfish and a fried egg nudibranch. As we began heading back north, we set our mooring at Never-Neverland and guests were treated to hundreds of pyramid, teardrop, and raccoon butterflyfish, all schooling in the late morning sun. After a lunch of grilled lamb and turkey we headed to Rob’s Reef. Just after the divers had entered the water, but before they descended a humpback whale completely breached out of the water, just one hundred yards from the boat! Underwater, divers saw a huge lobster in the cave and a small sea turtle. The last stop on our agenda was The Dome where guests were able to see a large yellow frogfish and swim through the gorgeous cathedral-like structure that gives this site its name. The excitement continued through a dinner as guests enjoyed their dinner of filet minion on the sundeck, a school of six hammerhead sharks was spotted swimming offshore. After bringing out a video drone, we discovered the school had about fifty sharks! Thinking things could not be any better, we headed out to sea for our pelagic magic dive. For this unique experience, we drove about three miles offshore, in about three thousand feet of water and cut the motors. We hung five lines from the side of the boat for guests to hang onto and as the boat drifts, divers see what plankton emerges from the depths. This plankton migrates to shallow water at night to feed and it is the largest migration of organisms in the world, something that happens every night! As we drive back to our mooring in the Kailua-Kona harbor, guests cannot stop talking about all the amazing plankton they saw during this epic dive.
Friday February 3rd – As the smell of egg frittata wafted through the galley, guests awaken bright and early for the last dive of the trip, a bittersweet moment for all. We head to the Predator Wreck where four hopefuls were looking to reach Iron Diver status, completing every dive during the week. This old landing craft used to transport cattle to and from the island, but now sits just outside of the Kailua-Kona Harbor. As we descended and the wreck came into view, the divers were able to explore the now encrusted boat as hundreds of surgeonfish swam lazily around the divers and boat. After a lunch of hamburgers and hotdogs, guests took advantage of the afternoon and explored Kona by land before the farewell cocktail party. Four divers, Rob, Joe, David, and John, were awarded the prestigious Iron Diver metal as we celebrated this wonderful week of diving. Mahalo to all of our fantastic guests for another amazing week onboard the Kona Aggressor II!
Until next time!
-The Kona Aggressor II Captain and Crew