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January 14- January 21, 2017
Air Temp: 70-80 °F
Water Temp: 77 °F
Visibility: 30-70+ ft
Captain: Matt Herwig
2nd Captain: Chad Dolbeare
Instructor: Manuel Lassaletta
Instructor: Colin Gamez
Video Pro: Brian Foreman
Divemaster: Shelby Penn
Chef: Kevin Bennett
GUESTS: Scott Sorensen, Cindy Sorensen, Phil Wadkins, Pat Wadkins, Mark Bergquist, Janice Bergquist, Jane Corn, Bev Greenagel, Di Jackson, Jeffery Olson, Jennifer Olson, Rhea Wawrzyniak, John Avery
Sunday: Driftwood, Meadows, Mantaville
Monday: The Dome, Paradise Pinnacle, The Hive
Tuesday: Land of Oz, Wall’s Wall, Manuka Bay
Wednesday: Catacombs, Never, Neverland, Au Au Crater
Thursday: Rob’s Reef, Captain Cook, Predator Wreck, Pelagic Magic
Friday: Turtle Pinnacle
Saturday January 14th – At 5:00 PM the Captain and crew welcomed a group of thirteen individuals from Minnesota, looking to escape the cold and snow in exchange for a week of warm diving in beautiful Kona, Hawaii. After guests set up their gear and made sure everything was in working condition, we left the dock to spend a night on our mooring and enjoyed a delicious BBQ dinner, prepared by Chef Kevin, as the sun set over the horizon.
Sunday January 15th – We began the week of diving by heading south for a dive at Driftwood. This location is great for a checkout dive as it is rather shallow and has a lava tube the guests enjoyed swimming through. Divers enjoyed seeing large crown of thorns sea stars, sculpted slipper lobsters, and a dragon wrasse. After a lunch of corn chowder and Reuben sandwiches, we went to Meadows for an early afternoon dive. The excitement continued with sightings of a green sea turtle, white mouthed moray, and ghost shrimp. We then headed to Mantaville, for our manta mayhem night dive. The mantas put on quite a show, appearing before the sun even set. After a great display underwater, they followed the divers back to the boat. As everyone went to sleep, the mantas could be heard at the surface of the water, wishing everyone a good night!
Monday January 16th – Not only did everyone fall asleep with mantas at the boat, but they were also greeted to their presence the next morning, as they were still feeding by the light of the boat. After a delicious breakfast, we began to head further south to The Dome. Here guests encountered a blue dragon nudibranch, white margin nudibranch, and fried egg nudibranch. They were also able to see the cathedral-like structure, which gives this dive site its name, with the early morning sun streaming through the skylight opening. After a lunch of grilled tri tip beef and baked fish prepared by Chef Kevin, the divers returned to the water at Paradise Pinnacle. Here, guests viewed an octopus, longnose hawkfish, pelagic manta ray, titan scorpionfish, an undulated moray, pyramid butterflyfish, and a hairy yellow hermit crab. For the late afternoon and evening dives we went to The Hive, a favorite of many of the crew. Here guests viewed their first frogfish, in addition to cusk eels, and a dragon moray during the night dive. After a great day of diving many enjoyed ending the day with a nice soak in the hot tub under the gorgeous stars in the night sky.
Tuesday January 17th – After a breakfast of omelets and sausage, we went to the Land of Oz for the first two dives of the day. Guests enjoyed seeing a tiger snake moray and juvenile yellowtail coris. A delicious lunch of spinach and broccoli soup, Italian meatloaf, and cheese stuffed pasta shells, followed these morning dives. After lunch, we began heading further south to Wall’s Wall. Here guest enjoyed viewing a jeweled anemone crab, horned helmet, and large cowries. In the late afternoon, we began heading back north for a night in the sheltered Manuka Bay where spinner dolphins and humpback whales greeted us upon our arrival! After a dinner of grilled salmon with red pepper sauce, followed by a fruit puff pastry, guests jumped back into the water for their fifth dive of the day where they enjoyed a nice dive and were greeted once again by a pod of dolphins as they ascended toward the boat. As people relaxed in the hot tub, the dolphins could be heard breathing as they continued to circle the boat and put everyone to sleep!
Wednesday January 18th – A warm delicious breakfast of eggs, waffles, sausage, and fresh fruit greeted our guests this morning. We left our sheltered cove and continued to travel back North to a site named for its large number of lava tunnels and caves, Catacombs. Here divers enjoyed two truly spectacular dives. The diverse topography gave way to many hiding spots for animals, included a couple octopuses and a sea turtle! Guests were treated to a lunch of grilled lamb sandwiches and turkey wraps to fuel up for the next dive. In the afternoon we went to a dive site called Never, Neverland. Here we were able to find Tinker’s butterflyfish and Keller’s barracuda. For our second afternoon and evening dives we continued our trek up north to Au Au Crater. Dinner consisted of tasty grilled pork tenderloin with cookie pie for dessert. On the night dive, we found a pimpled basket, which is a species of sea slug with a rather unique name! After quite an adventurous day, everyone was ready to tuck in for the night.
Thursday January 19th – After a full nights sleep, guests ate a hearty breakfast consisting of pineapple pancakes, bacon, and eggs. With some fuel to start the day, we headed out to Rob’s Reef for two dives in the morning. Divers were treated to an array of fish, including peacock groupers, four-spot butterflyfish, raccoon butterflyfish, and blue stripe snappers. After lunch we headed over to Captain Cook for a relaxing drift dive along the coast. Here guests were able to see banded spiny lobsters and tons of sea urchin tests, or shells. In the late afternoon we went to the Predator Wreck, a landing craft that was once used to transport cattle, just outside of the Kailua Kona harbor. Here we had fun posing with a plastic skeleton that was swaying in the current and watching the dozens of unicorn fish and surgeonfish that were circling the wreck. As the sun was setting from the horizon, we cruised out to sea for our evening pelagic magic. 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 jellies and small fish, like something out of an episode of Blue Planet, our excited divers returned topside and finished their night by relaxing in the hot tub.
Friday January 20th – For our last dives of the week, we head north to Turtle pinnacle, where three eager guests are looking to reach Iron Diver status by completing every dive during the week! The divers were able to see a spotted eagle ray, ocean triggerfish, scrawled filefish, and many convict tangs at a cleaning station. After a lunch of burgers and dogs, guests were given time to explore Kona by land before the farewell cocktail party. During this occasion, Di, Rhea, and John were all awarded their Iron Diver metals and Jane was given the Tin Man award, one dive short of iron diver, as we celebrated the awesome week of diving. Mahalo to all of our wonderful guests for another amazing week onboard the Kona Aggressor II!
Until next time!
-The Kona Aggressor II Captain and Crew