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Kona Aggressor II Captain’s Log
February 4th – 11th, 2017
Air Temperature: 70-80 °F
Water Temperature: 77 °F
Visibility: 50-100+ ft
Captain: Matt Herwig
2nd Captain: Chad Dolbeare
Engineer: Cliff Muse
Instructor/Video Pro: Brian Foreman
Divemaster: Shelby Penn
Chef: Cameron Smay
GUESTS: Mark Heaton, Nicholas Shulman, Bill Thompson, Donna Thompson, Bobbi Watkins, Asca Chong, Jack Wilson, Bill Dunbar, John Raines, Maribet McCarty, Renee Bayley
Sunday: Driftwood, Hammerhead, Mantaville
Monday: Meadows, Paradise Pinnacle, Never-Neverland, Manuka Bay
Tuesday: Black Coral Forrest, Ladders, Rainbow Reef
Wednesday: Rainbow Reef, Walls Wall, Pohue Bay
Thursday: Stoney Mesas, Rob’s Reef, The Dome, Pelagic Magic
Friday: Turtle Pinnacle
Saturday February 4th – Aloha from warm and sunny Kona, Hawaii! Today at 5:00 PM the Captain and Crew welcomed 11 guests from all over the United States and Malaysia, excited for a week of diving on the leeward size of Hawaii. Guests looked forward to seeing some large animals, such as humpback whales, manta rays, and sharks. After everyone had the opportunity to select a tank for the week and check that all their gear was working and ready to dive with, Chef Cam prepared a delicious dinner of assorted sushi roll, Thai spicy pork and basil, and shrimp in red curry. As everyone was getting comfortable on the boat, we drove out to our mooring in the Kailua-Kona bay, watching the gorgeous sunset to the West.
Sunday February 5th – As guests woke up from their first night on the boat, they were greeted to the smell of banana pancakes and Portuguese sausage cooked by Chef Cam. To start off the week of diving, we did our checkout dive at Driftwood. Because this site is shallow, it provides guests with an ideal location to become comfortable in the Hawaiian water. In addition to the first of many lava tubes, guests saw ghost shrimp, white-tip reef shark, and a whitemouth moray. After a fantastic lunch of corned beef Reuben sandwiches and turkey croissants, we made our way to the second dive site of the day, Hammerhead. Here, divers spotted two devil scorpionfish, and a spotted porcupinefish. Our final dive site of the night was Mantaville, the location of the original manta night dive. In addition to a manta sighting during the late afternoon, guests also saw a fried egg nudibranch and dolphins. For dinner, the guests enjoyed sautéed mahi mahi with roasted red pepper coulis on a bed of quinoa salad. After dinner it was time for the manta mayhem dive, and it did not disappoint. Guests were surrounded by five mantas eating as much plankton as they, and one of the animals even followed the divers back to the boat! After a long, successful first day, everyone was ready to tuck in for the night.
Monday February 6th – After waking up to the smell of smoked salmon and goat cheese omelets, the first dive site of the day was Meadows. Here, divers saw many yellow tangs, a yellow hairy hermit crab, and a viper moray. For the late morning dive, we continued south to Paradise Pinnacle where divers were able to view a patch of black coral at about seventy feet, inside of which live a couple longnose hawkfish. Guests also say a couple tilefish guarding their sandy tunnel and some blue dragon nudibranches. For lunch, Chef Cam made savory roasted chicken with mushroom brown rice as we approached our third dive site for the day, Never-Neverland. This site begins to really show the dramatic underwater landscape that was created from the lava flows and gave guests an opportunity to see may teardrop and raccoon butterflyfish along the reef. A hearty meal of pork chops with bacon gravy was cooked up in the kitchen, followed by a dessert of banana bread pudding, before the night dive at Manuka bay where divers saw a mole cowry, large lobster, and jeweled anemone crab. After a good long day on the water, everyone was ready for a good nights sleep.
Tuesday February 7th – To continue the week of diving, we headed around to the southern end of the island. After a breakfast of Hawaiian sweet bread French toast and country sausage, we did our first two dives at Black Coral Forrest. Because not many boats make there way this far south, divers were treated to a vibrant reef, and viewed a white-tip reef shark and some longnose hawkfish. A delicious lunch of pork and fish tacos followed the morning dive before we made our way down to the southern most point in the United States, Ladders. Divers saw a titan scorpionfish, spotted puffer, and lace bryozoan, in addition to earning some serious bragging rights! For the last dive of the day, we made our way to Rainbow reef to stay for the night, where guests saw two tinkers butterflyfish and many pyramid butterflyfish. Dinner consisted of garlic and herb shrimp with pesto pasta and mixed vegetables made by Chef Cam and topped with a chocolate chip cookie pie. To finish the day, guests took part in several games of bingo where one lucky winner took home a Kona Aggressor rashguard!
Wednesday February 8th – The smell of eggs, bacon and corned beef hash greeted our guest this morning as they woke from a good nights sleep. As the conditions on the southern end of the island continued to be favorable, we began the day of diving at Rainbow Reef. Here, guest saw a green sea turtle, huge lobster, and hundreds of schooling black triggerfish. For the second morning dive, we went to a dive site called Walls Wall, a location with another dramatic underwater landscape and crater. Divers saw two of the more elusive fish on the reefs, a peacock razor wrasse and a dragon wrasse. Lunch consisted of delicious baby back ribs and barbeque chicken. We spent the remainder of the day at Pohue Bay, a location with a thriving coral garden, full of life. Here, we saw many moray eels and Tinker’s butterflyfish, followed by a dinner of grilled chicken with misoyaki and purple sweet potatoes.
Thursday February 9th – Breakfast this morning was delicious pancakes and eggs that wafted through the galley as guests began waking up for the day. As we began to head back north, our first stop of the day was at Stoney Mesas. Here the large structures about the size of a small house, afforded everyone the opportunity to see some of the diverse underwater topography. Guest saw a hiding scorpionfish in addition to a scrawled filefish. After lunch, we went to Rob’s Reef where the sprawling coral garden gave the divers the opportunity to see a yellow margin moray and white tip reef shark. For the last afternoon dive, we went to The Dome. Guests saw a frogfish and devil scorpionfish before heading topside for a delicious dinner of filet mignon. The final dive of the day was the anticipated 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, everyone returned to their cabins after a busy day.
Friday February 10th – The last dive of the week took place at Turtle Pinnacle following a breakfast of waffles and a choice of eggs your way. For this last dive, guests saw a devil scorpionfish, a tiny dragon wrasse, and an octopus! On our way back to the pier, we had a lunch of hamburgers and hot dogs before guests had the opportunity to explore Kona by land. At 5:00 PM everyone returned back to the boat for the cocktail party where we celebrated the awesome 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