Log Date: Saturday, Jun 27, 2015
Entry By: Captain Karl
Air Temp. 80-85f
Water Temp. 79-82f
Recommended Wetsuit 5mm-7mm
Crew: Captain Karl, Second Captain Chris, Chef Mike, Instructors Jesse, Danny, and Renee.
Guests: Anne and Guy, Venessa and Joe, Melina, Drew and Brian, Eddie and Chuck, Jack, Karen, Luke, and Dan.
Sunday: The Dome, Lions Den, the Hive.
Monday: Land of Oz, Manuka Bay.
Tuesday: Peles Playground, Au Au Crater, Robs Reef.
Wednesday Paradise Pinnacle, Driftwood, Manta Ville.
Thursday: Turtle Pinnacle, Garden Eel Cove, Kalokos Arches, Pelagic Magic.
Friday: Old Airport.
Saturday June 27th
This week we welcomed aboard a group from New Zealand, Greece (via Stockholm), and the USA 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 28th
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 blacktail wrasse, an octopus, candy stripe shrimp, spaghetti worms, a speckled scorpionfish, a blue spotted cornetfish, a white mouth moray, a porcupine fish, a zebra moray, as well as a white tip reef shark. Not bad for our first dive! We enjoyed the site so much, we jumped in there again for our second dive. During that experience, we found a tiny juvenile rock mover wrasse (just barely post-larval, half translucent), a Hawaiian coral croucher, a baby white mouth moray, an octopus, another zebra moray, and an Ewa fang blenny who was pretending to be a cleaner wrasse, and taking nips out of unsuspecting fish.
Afterwards, we continued further south to our second site, the Lions Den. There, divers emerged with talk of a giant trevally, some bluefin trivially, a turtle, some red stripe pipefish, and a triggerfish. For the fourth dive, we headed further south again, to the Hive. The site lived up to its name, and was buzzing with life. During the fourth dive and the night dive, guests saw a blue dragon nudibranch, a red lion fish, a red reef lobster, a rainbow swimmer crab, a yellow margin moray, a conger eel, and a tritons trumpet. After an exciting first day, everyone hit the sack with happy dreams of diving.
Monday June 29th
First thing in the morning, we left our mooring and continued south to the Land Of Oz. There, divers enjoyed seeing a plethora of nudibranch life, including a blue dragon nudibranch, a fried egg nudi, a strawberry nudi, and a fellows nudi. In addition, they spotted an octopus and a milkfish, and were fascinated to hear the chirping sounds that the domino damselfish makes underwater. On the second dive there, divers were treated to a pair of saddleback butterfly fish, a gold lace nudibranch, some baby domino damselfish, an ewa fang blenny, spanish dancer eggs, a gray snapper (or green job fish), and a Lottins snapping shrimp hiding deep in a cauliflower coral. 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 the garden eels, a pacific barracuda, a spiny puffer, a yellow margin moray, and rock mover wrasses. However, probably everyones favorite part of the afternoon was swimming out to play with the pod of 30 spinner dolphins who spend the afternoon just 300 feet from the Kona Aggressor II. Many guests had extremely close interactions, and came away with incredible pictures, footage, and memories! On our night dive at Manuka, divers spotted a viper moray, a sculptured slipper lobster, a banded spiny lobster, a giant porcupine pufferfish, a sleeping barred triggerfish, and a white mouth moray.
Tuesday June 30th
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 spotted scorpionfish, a gold lace nudibranch, a strawberry nudi, a long-handed spiny lobster, 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 another turtle, a spotted scorpionfish, a gold lace nudi, a Tinkers butterfly fish, and a bicolor velvet fish (coral croucher). During lunch, we decided to head out to the open ocean to try to spot some pilot whales. Lo and behold, we found a pod of the beautiful sleek black mammals, and they allowed us jump in and swim with them for about 10 minutes! When we returned to the boat, several guests mentioned that they had seen an oceanic white tip as we entered the water, which Captain Karl confirmed from his vantage point on the upper deck. After one already exciting and successful swim with the pilot whales, we were lucky enough to make another a short time later, where even more guests were able to witness and free dive with these beauties. Eventually though, we knew it was time to return to diving, so we made our next stop at Robs Reef. Highlights from the afternoon were a white tip reef shark, a psychedelic wrasse, a conger eel, a candy cane shrimp, and a puffer fish. On the night dive, guests found a number of decoy scorpionfish, too many hinge beak shrimp to count, a regal slipper lobster, and a jeweled anemone crab.
Wednesday July 1st
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 some adult peacock razor wrasse in white, parading over the black sand, a turtle, a white mouth moray, banded coral shrimp, a pacific octopus, garden eels, a huge starry eyed parrot fish, a dwarf moray, and a fushia flatworm (a gem for photos!). Afterwards, the Kona Aggressor II moved north to dive at Driftwood, where guests enjoyed the fun swim-throughs, and saw a spotted boxfish, some adult bird wrasse, two octopus, an eagle ray, and a red spotted nudibranch. As the afternoon progressed, 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! During the fourth dive of the day, guests had already spotted a manta, as well as a leaf scorpionfish, an octopus, a spotted boxfish, and had a unique viewing of a rarely seen exhibition - spawning brown surgeonfish. Later in the evening, we were treated to a spectacular show by the mantas during which they buzzed inches from our guests heads as they performed their aquabatic backflips. Everyone was stunned by the exhilarating experience of being in such close proximity to such large and beautiful animals.
Thursday July 2nd
In the morning, we headed north again to Turtle Pinnacle, where there are known to be six resident tiger sharks. Hopes were very high that guests might be lucky enough to see one. Not only did they find a tiger after only a few minutes in the water, but they were also treated with a passing sandbar shark and a spotted eagle ray! Quite the big animal experience. During the second dive, the sharks evaded the divers, who still saw a grey snapper (green job fish), and a large mackerel. 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 the male and female flame wrasse they saw, and a blue goatfish. 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 July 3rd
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 be underwater with another spotted eagle ray. 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 Guy, Venessa, and Joe! Dinner was taken in town before one more night being rocked to sleep on the sea.
Saturday July 4th (Independence Day!)
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!