Kona Aggressor II Captain’s Log
April 22nd – 28th, 2017
Air Temperature: 75 – 85 °F
Water Temperature: 79 °F
Visibility: 50 – 100 ft
Captain: Matt Herwig
2nd Captain: Randy Wright
Video Pro: Brian Foreman
Engineer: Cliff Muse
Cruise Director: Shelby Penn
Chef: Cam Smay
GUESTS: Charlene Goffard, Melvin Goffard, Steven Weber, Marie Weber, Lois Piper, Sharon Johnson, David Pheifer, Rodney Bliss, Shalev Manor, Borja Picabea
Sunday: Shark Fin Rock, Garden Eel Cove
Monday: Aquarium, The Dome
Tuesday: Paradise Pinnacle, The Hive
Wednesday: Land of Oz, Manuka Bay
Thursday: Pele’s Playground, Rob’s Reef, Driftwood, Pelagic Magic
Friday: Turtle Pinnacle
Saturday April 22nd – Aloha and welcome from beautiful, sunny, Kona, Hawaii. At 5:00 PM the Captain and Crew welcomed ten individuals from Wisconsin, Israel, and Spain looking for an exciting week of diving. After guests boarded and set up their gear, making sure everything was in working condition, Chef Cam served a delicious dinner of baby back ribs and guava BBQ chicken with beans and corn. After dinner, we headed out to spend the night at our mooring in the Kona Harbor before starting the week of adventures.
Sunday April 23rd – To begin the week of diving, we began by heading north toward Shark Fin Rock. Guests awoke to the smell of banana pancakes, bacon, and eggs and had a delicious breakfast before getting into the water for the checkout dive. Underwater, guests were able to see many Hawaiian dascyllus, a gloomy nudibranch, and a gold lace nudibranch. After the morning dives, a tasty lunch of grilled cheese sandwiches and pastrami sliders was served to fuel up for the afternoon. After setting our mooring at Garden Eel Cove, divers got in the water and were able to see milletseed butterflyfish, a tiny Hawaiian lionfish, and dozens of goatfish relaxing on the sandy bottom. For dinner, Chef Cam prepared grilled swordfish with herb vinaigrette and white bean ragout with a chocolate brownie sundae for dessert. Everyone was eagerly anticipating the Manta Mayhem night dive and it did not disappoint. Divers were in the water for an hour while these large animals swooped and dove through the light from the divers, feeding on the plankton that was attracted there. After an exciting night, and a cup of hot coco, everyone was ready to get some sleep.
Monday April 24th – The morning started bright and early, with smoked salmon omelets and sausage before the morning dives at Aquarium. Here, guests were able to see a green sea turtle, fried egg nudibranch, and a Triton’s trumpet eating a sea cucumber. For lunch, Chef Cam cooked up a pork and basil dish, vegetable red curry, and fish green curry. After filling up for the afternoon, we made our way to The Dome where guests were able to see a Commerson’s frogfish, horned helmet, and a small white tip reef shark. After a dinner of roasted pork tenderloin with bacon gravy and smashed red potatoes and broccoli, those going for the Iron Diver award went back into the water and were able to see a scrawled filefish, a regal slipper lobster, and a sea urchin crab trying to climb into a banded sea urchin. After the dive, guests excitedly talked about the organisms they had seen during the day before turning in for the night.
Tuesday April 25th – This morning, Chef Cam served up eggs, sourdough French toast, and Italian sausage for a hearty breakfast. The first dives of the day at Paradise Pinnacle allowed divers to see two longnose hawkfish, a couple flagtail tilefish, and a blue dragon nudibranch. After two great morning dives, everyone was ready for a lunch of pork and fish tacos with rice and beans, before returning to the water for some diving at The Hive. During this dive, everyone was able to see flat rock crabs, a Spanish dancer, and a couple whitemouth moray eels. For dinner, guests enjoyed garlic and herb shrimp with brown rice and mixed vegetables, topped with a mango cheesecake. During the night dive, guests were able to see a tiger cowry, several cushion stars, and a devil scorpionfish, before tucking in for the night for some good sleep.
Wednesday April 26th – After a breakfast of eggs, bacon, and home fries, we continued further south to the first dive site of the day at Land of Oz, named for the sand channel that runs through the site, reminiscent of the yellow brick road. Divers saw dozens of black triggerfish, many yellow tangs, and a day octopus, before returning to the boat for lunch. As divers exited the water, they could smell the grilled flank steak, blackened mahi mahi and macaroni and cheese that Chef Cam was preparing. The afternoon of diving took place at Manuka Bay, a sheltered location where dolphins were jumping out of the water as we arrived. Underwater, divers were able to spot many collector sea urchins, a couple barracuda, and a leaf scorpionfish. Before the final dive of the day, everyone enjoyed grilled chicken with scallion cream sauce with a potato, mushroom, and kale hash, topped with banana bread pudding. During the night dive, divers were able to see a yellowmargin moray eating a convict tang, many sea cucumbers, and a couple lobsters. After another exciting day of diving, everyone was ready for some much needed sleep.
Thursday April 27th – To start the final full day of diving, we began making our way back north during a breakfast of eggs, strawberry waffles, and Portuguese sausage. The first dive site, Pele’s Playground is named for the large lava finger that seem to drop off into the abyss, but give divers some stunning underwater topography to explore. In addition, guests were able to see a lizardfish, several Moorish idols, and a dwarf moray eel. For the second site of the day, we made our way to Rob’s Reef. Here guests ventured into a lava cave and were able to see a conger eel, many trumpetfish, and raccoon butterflyfish. Chef Cam served up a lunch of Italian meatloaf and chicken pasta to give everyone fuel for the afternoon dives at Driftwood. Here, guests saw a juvenile Commerson’s frogfish, several ghost shrimp in one of the lava tubes, and several chevron butterflyfish. As guests enjoyed prime rib with mushroom jus, garlic mashed potatoes, and mixed vegetables, we made our way out to sea for the final and much anticipated Pelagic Magic dive. During this dive, the boat drives about three miles offshore, and in 3,000 feet of water, lines are dropped over the side for guests to hold onto. As the boat drifts, divers have the opportunity to glimpse the plankton making their daily migration into the shallows to feed at night. This is the largest migration of organisms in the world and it happens every day! After watching many jellyfish and squid, like an episode of Blue Planet, divers returned back to the boat, excitedly talking about the small creatures they had witnessed during the dive.
Friday April 28th – For the final dives of the week we headed north to Turtle Pinnacle after a breakfast of egg frittata and sausage. During these dives, guests saw many juvenile Hawaiian dascyllus, a dragon wrasse, and a 7-11 crab. After a lunch of hamburgers and hotdogs, guests were given the opportunity to explore Kona by land before returning to the boat for the farewell cocktail party. During the festivities, Charlene, Marie, Mel, David, and Rodney were awarded their Iron Diver metals and certificates as everyone celebrated the fantastic week of diving. A huge 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