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Air Temp. 80-85f
Water Temp. 79-81f
Recommended Wetsuit 5mm-7mm
Crew: Captain Karl, Second Captain Chris, Chef Eric, Instructors Jesse, Danny, and Renee.
Guests: Michael and Alice, Jaeyoun, Chuck, Leslie, Michael and Larry, Ray and Matt, Darinda, and Jackie.
Sunday: The Dome, Lions Den, the Hive
Monday: Land of Oz, Manuka Bay
Tuesday: Peles Playground, Au Au Crater, Robs Reef
Wednesday Paradise Pinnacle, Ridges, Manta Ville
Thursday: Turtle Pinnacle, Garden Eel Cove, Kalokos Arches, Pelagic Magic
Friday: Old Airport
Saturday June 2oth
This week we welcomed aboard a group from the USA and Korea on the Kona Aggressor ll. We picked everyone up from the Kona Pier Saturday evening and headed out to the mooring for dinner and a briefing. We came up with a plan for the week and headed to bed so we could be bright eyed and bushy tailed in the morning.
Sunday June 21st
In the morning the Kona Aggressor ll headed south along the islands coast. We awoke early to take advantage of the day, and began with our check out dive at The Dome, where everyone was very happy to get in the water. Almost immediately underneath the boat, we found a frogfish. Later, we saw a juvenile yellowtail coris, a blue-spotted cornet, as well as a white tip reef shark. Not bad for our first dive! Afterwards, we continued further south to our second site, the Lions Den. There, divers emerged with talk of an endemic red lion fish (giving the site its name), some red stripe pipefish, and a dwarf moray. For the third and fourth dives, we headed further south again, to the Hive. The site lived up to its name, and was buzzing with life. Divers saw a gilded triggerfish, a spotted boxfish, ornate butterflyfish, sailfin tang, raccoon butterflyfish, and encountered a Hawaiian cleaner wrasse cleaning station. On the night dive, the group was treated with a spanish dancer, another red lion fish, a conger eel, a 7-11 crab, a Hawaiian octopus, a decoy scorpionfish, and an undulated moray. After an exciting first day, everyone hit the sack with happy dreams of diving.
Monday June 22nd
First thing in the morning, we left our mooring and continued south to the Land Of Oz. There, divers enjoyed seeing some blue fin trivially, a juvenile yellowtail coris, Potters angelfish, white spotted toby, white strip cleaner shrimp, white mouthed morays, and a tear drop butterflyfish. After lunch, we moved the boat farther south again to Manuka Bay, a beautiful and quiet spot where we could spend the afternoon and evening. The chatter on the dive deck after our dives there was of a tiger snake moray, spotted puffer, octopus, zebra moray, undulated moray, fried egg nudibranch, and of listening to the chirping sounds made by the domino damselfish.
Tuesday June 23rd
We said farewell to Manuka Bay bright and early, and started working our way back north, stopping at Peles Playground for our first dive. There, divers were excited to see a Tinkers butterflyfish, a white tip reef shark, a speckled scorpionfish, and a turtle! Next, we scooted a tad farther north to Au Au Crater, where divers were treated to beautiful topography as well as fish life, including a lion fish, a strawberry nudibranch, a scrambled egg nudibranch, and a red stripe pipefish. During lunch, we spotted pilot whales a distance off the boat, and were able to watch them surface and dive from the bow. We made our next stop at Robs Reef, where everyone was captivated by a Henshaws snake eel buried in the sand beneath the boat. Other highlights were a white tip reef shark, an undulated moray, a bullseye lobster, a long handed spiny lobster, a decoy scorpionfish, and a red stripe pipefish.
Wednesday June 24th
The day started with a quick jog to the south to Paradise Pinnacle, where the divers enjoyed the unusual black sand bottom and striking pinnacle. On the dives, they spotted a long nose hawkfish next to a baby Tinkers butterflyfish, using the same patch of black coral as their home. Also seen were peacock razor wrasse, two dragon wrasse (the juvenile rock mover wrasse) - one a juvenile and one a subadult - a red stripe pipefish, a leaf scorpionfish, the elusive and beautiful long-fin anthia, and a magnificent snake eel who slowly buried his entire body into the black sand before our eyes. Afterwards, the Kona Aggressor II moved north to dive at Ridges, where we spotted a pink tail trigger, a spotted boxfish, and a barred triggerfish. As evening fell, we found our way to Manta Ville, where the boat was alive with energy over the prospect of up-close-and-personal manta encounters. Our divers were not disappointed! We were treated to a spectacular show by the mantas, and in addition noticed a leaf scorpionfish, a zebra moray, and a spotted boxfish. Darinda told us when she arrived back on the boat that her mask was filling with tears during the exhilarating experience of being in such close proximity to such large and beautiful animals.
Thursday June 25th
In the morning, we headed north again to Turtle Pinnacle, where there are known to be six resident tiger sharks. During the first 40 minutes of the dive, everyone had their eye on the blue for one of these beautiful creatures. Instead, we saw a milkfish, barracuda, a giant porcupine fish, a pair of lined butterflyfish, a yellow margin and white mouth moray, and a school of blue striped snapper. Then, while examining a moray in 40 feet of water, divers turned to see an 8 foot tiger shark only 15 feet away! The gorgeous animal stayed close for a few seconds, and then starting swimming into the blue, with excited divers following. It was quite the unexpected treat! Afterwards, the KAII moved farther north to Garden Eel Cove. There, divers were fortunate to see many of the rarely seen butterflyfish in the area, including the oval, reticulated, lined, and the saddleback. Later in the afternoon, we headed back down south to Kalokos Arches. The discussion on the dive deck after the dive was surrounding a crowned toby, flame wrasse, a zebra moray, and a unique viewing of a very rarely seen exhibition - spawning brown surgeonfish. After dinner, the highly anticipated Pelagic Magic dive impressed all who took part. The divers witnessed what is the largest migration that takes place on the planet every day, catching glimpses of bizarre and incredible tiny creatures as our boat drifted through the abyss.
Friday June 26th
Come morning, we left our mooring site off the Kona Pier and headed north to Old Airport for our final dives of the trip. Divers were happy to see a fried egg nudibranch, a strawberry nudi, a bridled triggerfish, and a Bourdailes shrimp playing tug of war with a piece of brown algae. Following the second dive, we made our way back south to our mooring, where the guests enjoyed a barbecue, and later a cocktail party on our sun deck. Captain Karl presented our Iron Divers with their medals and award certificate: Congratulations to Jackie and Matt! Jackie not only made every dive, but she came up exuberant and enthusiastic after every single one! Dinner was taken in town before one more night being rocked to sleep on the sea.
Saturday June 27th
We headed back to the Kona Pier, and said goodbye to our new friends as they headed home. We very much enjoyed diving with you and we hope youll be back for another trip with us again soon!