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Kona Aggressor II Captain’s Log
April 8th – 14th, 2017
Air Temperature: 75-85 °F
Water Temperature: 79 °F
Visibility: 75-100+ ft
Captain: Matt Herwig
2nd Captain: Randy Wright
Video Pro/Instructor: Brian Forman
Instructor: Colin Gamez
Divemaster: Shelby Penn
Chef: Kevin Bennett
GUESTS: Karen Johnson, Trish Higgins, Ed Buchwald, Tony Roensch, Heidi Dunn, Dan Scoggin, Mark Weintraub, Janet Clayton, Michael Genest, Kalli Genest, Vale Firenze, Mirabelle Premont-Schwarz
Sunday: Shark Fin Rock, Garden Eel Cove
Monday: Kalokos Arches, The Dome
Tuesday: Paradise Pinnacle, Au Au Crater
Wednesday: Land of Oz, Manuka Bay
Thursday: Never, Neverland, Rob’s Reef, Driftwood, Pelagic Magic
Friday: Turtle Pinnacle
Saturday April 8th – Aloha from warm and sunny Kona, Hawaii! Today at 5:00 PM the Captain and Crew welcomed 12 guests from the United States, Canada, and Argentina, looking for a fantastic week of diving with the chance to see frogfish, dolphins, and manta rays. After getting settled into their cabins, guests set up their gear on the dive deck to ensure it was all working and ready to go for this exciting week. Guests enjoyed a dinner of Saint Lewis BBQ ribs, BBQ chicken, and smoked beef sausage that Chef Kevin prepared, before we drove to our mooring in the Kailua Kona Harbor to spend the night.
Sunday April 9th – To begin the week of diving, Chef Kevin cooked up eggs, Hawaiian bread French toast, and bacon, before everyone hopped into the water for their checkout dive at Shark Fin Rock. This spot is a sprawling coral garden and is an ideal location for everyone to become comfortable with his or her equipment, wetsuits and weights. During the dive guests saw Thompson’s butterflyfish, many crown of thorns sea stars, and flame butterflyfish. After a delicious lunch of clam chowder, BLT sandwiches, and grilled cheese, divers returned to the water at Garden Eel Cove for two afternoon dives. Underwater, guests were able to see dolphins, dozens of goatfish, and a peacock razor wrasse. In anticipation for the Manta Mayhem night dive, everyone filled up on tasty shrimp and mahi skewers with coconut rice and asparagus. During the night dive, guests were treated to quite a showing as seven mantas were attracted to the plankton the lights underwater were collecting. Guests watched what looked like an underwater disco party for an hour as the graceful animals swooped and dove in-between the clouds of plankton. Back on the boat, guests excitedly shared their experiences with on another before going to sleep in preparation for the next day.
Monday April 10th – This morning, guests woke up to the fantastic smell of macadamia nut pancakes with sausage and eggs to fuel up for the morning and start the day. For the first dive site, we made our way to Kolokos Arches, a site characterized by the large underwater structures that are large enough to swim through. Here, divers were able to see milletseed butterflyfish, many large sea cucumbers, bluefin trevally, and a day octopus. For lunch, Chef Kevin whipped up a delicious meal of grilled tri tip with baked white fish and potato salad. For the afternoon dives, guests got into the water at The Dome. At this fantastic site, guests were able to see many critters, including a sub adult peacock razor wrasse, Commerson’s frogfish, and a horned helmet eating a collector sea urchin. For dinner, guests were served grilled flank steak, broccoli, and mashed red potatoes, topped off with a delicious cheesecake. A few divers hopped back into the water for their fifth dive of the day and were not disappointed to see a spotted puffer, spotted burrfish, and a large Spanish dancer. After an exciting day of diving, everyone was ready to tuck in for a night of well-rested sleep.
Tuesday April 11th – To start the day off right, breakfast consisted of eggs, homemade waffles, and bacon. After fueling up for the morning, divers entered the water at Paradise Pinnacle for a couple exciting dives. During these morning dives, guest saw a couple flagtail tilefish, longnose hawkfish, and many garden eels. For lunch, Chef Kevin cooked up Italian meatballs, stuffed pasta shells, and garlic bread. For the next dives of the day, we moored up at Au Au Crater for some fantastic diving. Here, guests were able to see titan scorpionfish, a juvenile shortnose wrasse, and a green sea turtle along the wall of the crater. The delicious smell of Cornish hens with piccata sauce, green beans, and brown rice, greets guests as they climb out of the water and fill up on dinner. Those feeling up for the challenge jump into the water for the night dive where they see a giant moray, endemic lionfish, and many slipper lobsters. Back on the boat, guests excitedly look through their photos for the day before retiring to their cabins for the night.
Wednesday April 12th – After a breakfast of omelets and hot links, we continued to head south along the coast to a dive site called Land of Oz. This site earns its name from the sand channel that runs under the boat and is reminiscent of the yellow brick road. At this site, everyone is able to see a peacock razor wrasse, flowery flounder, and a zebra moray eel. As guests enjoy a great lunch of Reuben sandwiches, turkey wraps and Greek salad, we drive to our next dive site, Manuka Bay. This sheltered location gives guests an opportunity for some relaxing diving at a sprawling coral garden. In the afternoon divers see a pod of dolphins, several lobsters and a green sea turtle that makes an appearance. For dinner, Chef Kevin cooks up grilled salmon with mixed vegetables and mashed cauliflower and a dessert of cookie pie. The divers daring enough to enter the water for the night dive witness a whitemouth moray eating a yellow tang, an octopus encounter and several lobsters hiding among the coral heads. After a relaxing soak in the hot tub, guests are ready to get a well-rested night of sleep.
Thursday April 13th – For the final full day of diving, we begin to head back north along the Hawaiian coast. After a great breakfast of pineapple pancakes, bacon and eggs, we moor up at Never, Neverland. This site has a steep drop off created by the lava fingers coming off the land and an opportunity to see some of the deeper and sometimes more elusive fish. This dive does not disappoint, and guests have the opportunity to see a blue dragon nudibranch, Tinker’s butterflyfish, and pyramid butterflyfish. For the second dive of the day, we moor up at Rob’s Reef. Here divers see ornate butterflyfish, a black big longnose butterflyfish, and a fried egg nudibranch. During a lunch of grilled lamb, macaroni and cheese, and spaghetti squash, we move to our next dive site of the day, Driftwood. At this site, our mooring sits on top of a lava tube guests have the opportunity to swim through. In addition, this exciting dive allows guests to see whitetip reef sharks, a juvenile Commerson’s frogfish, and ghost shrimp. As everyone enjoys a dinner on the sundeck of filet mignon with twice baked potatoes, and a crème brulee, we drive to our final dive site of the day, about three miles off the Kona coast. After dinner, guests have the opportunity to experience the Pelagic Magic dive where lines are hung from the boat as it floats in about 3,000 feet of water. As guests hang onto the lines in the water, they see what plankton emerges from the depths. This plankton migrates to shallow water at night to feed and it is the largest migration of organisms in the world, something that happens every night! As we drive back to our mooring in the Kailua-Kona harbor, guests cannot stop talking about all the amazing jellyfish and even squid they saw during this epic dive
Friday April 14th – The final day of diving is always bittersweet for everyone, but starts off with an egg frittata and sausage. The final dive site for the week is Turtle Pinnacle, and guests have the opportunity to see a large green sea turtle with barnacles on its back and belly, in addition to a female Whitley’s boxfish, and three cleaning stations. On the way back to the pier, guests enjoy a lunch of hamburgers and hotdogs. In the afternoon, guests enjoyed walking through and exploring Kona by day before the farewell cocktail party at 5:00. Three divers, Dan, Janet, and Vale, were awarded the prestigious Iron Diver metal as everyone celebrated the amazing week of diving. A huge Mahalo to all our fantastic guests for another amazing week onboard the Kona Aggressor II!
Until next time!
The Kona Aggressor II Captain and Crew