Kona Aggressor II Captain’s Log
April 29th – May 5th
Air Temperature: 75-85 °F
Water Temperature: 79 °F
Visibility: 50-100+ ft
Captain: Matt Herwig
2nd Captain: Randy Wright
Engineer: Cliff Muse
Video Pro: Brian Foreman
Cruise Director: Shelby Penn
Chef: Cam Smay
GUESTS: Carol Cline, Gregg Cline, Lindsey Harris, John Zabko, Barry Clark, Michael Kupperstein, Paul Bonatz, Marta Bonatz, Barbara Wood, Michael Wood, Julie King, Michelle Beckhurst, Gabi Mendez, Mandy Short
Sunday: Turtle Pinnacle
Monday: Driftwood, Mantaville
Tuesday: Paradise Pinnacle, Au Au Crater
Wednesday: Land of Oz, Manuka Bay
Thursday: Never, Neverland, Rob’s Reef, The Dome, Amphitheater,
Friday: Shark Fin Rock
Saturday April 29th – Aloha and welcome from gorgeous and sunny Kona, Hawaii. At 5:00 PM the Captain and Crew welcomed fourteen individuals from the United States, Canada, and Costa Rica, excited to see manta rays, dolphins, and sea turtles. After setting up gear on the dive deck to make sure everything was working, and ready for the week of diving, Chef Cam served up a dinner of Lamb Harissa, mahi mahi with coconut green curry and roasted Okinawan sweet potatoes with ginger honey. As we drove to our mooring in the Kailua-Kona Harbor, guests were able to enjoy a fantastic sunset on the horizon.
Sunday April 30th – The week began with a delicious breakfast of banana pancakes with eggs and smoked sausage. After fueling up, guests got into the water for a check-out dive at Turtle Pinnacle where everyone was able to see a dragon wrasse, redstripe pipefish, tiger snake moray, and a viper moray. For lunch, guests were served baby back ribs, BBQ chicken, and baked beans. We tired to find a spot for the remaining dives of the day, but the wind was not in our favor. After a relaxing afternoon, the weather had calmed town and everyone was able to enjoy grilled swordfish with roasted red pepper coulis, smashed red potatoes and asparagus, topped off with a chocolate brownie sundae. Most guests enjoyed a fish-themed jeopardy before heading off to bed for the night.
Monday May 1st – As guests entered the galley for breakfast, they could smell the smoked salmon omelets and hot links that were being made for breakfast. After enjoying the first meal of the day, everyone was excited to get into the water at Driftwood. Here divers were able to see a small green sea turtle, cushion stars, and a zebra eel. After a lunch of BLT and turkey sandwiches, we made our way to Mantaville, the site of the original manta ray night dive. Here, everyone was able to see bird wrasse, leaf scorpionfish, and a gold lace nudibranch. As divers were eagerly anticipating the manta ray night dive, they made sure to fill up on roasted strip loin with Dijon gravy, smashed red potatoes, and broccoli, topped with a chocolate chip cookie pie. In the water divers were able to see a few mantas and one even hung out at the side of the boat once everyone had surfaced! After getting in some good photos and video, guest made their way back to their cabins for a night of well-rested sleep.
Tuesday May 2nd – To continue the week of diving, we began to head south along the coastline, after a fantastic breakfast of Hawaiian sweet bread French toast, bacon, and eggs. The day of diving began at Paradise Pinnacle, where everyone was able to see two longnose hawkfish hiding in black coral, in addition to flagtail tilefish, a tiny juvenile psychedelic wrasse, and a peacock razor wrasse. For lunch, Chef Cam prepared a great lunch of Kalua pig and cabbage, teriyaki chicken, and jasmine rice. Ready to continue the day of diving, guests jumped back into the water after lunch at Au Au Crater to see pyramid butterflyfish, a spotted boxfish and a blue dragon nudibranch. After a tasty dinner of garlic and herb shrimp, many divers decided to participate in the night dive. Those in the water were able to see a devil scorpionfish, spaghetti worm, and several bluefin trevally. After the final dive, guests began winding down with a hot cup of coco before calling it a night.
Wednesday May 3rd – As everyone started waking up, the smell of eggs, country sausage, and home fries began wafting through the galley. After fueling up for the morning dives, guests began at the Land of Oz, a site named for a sand channel that is reminiscent of the yellow brick road. Underwater, divers spotted several crown of thorns sea stars, a horned helmet, and bridled triggerfish. For lunch, Chef Cam served up blackened salmon, grilled flank steak and macaroni and cheese. The next dive of the day was at Manuka Bay where guests saw an octopus, cornetfish, and a Tom Smith nudibranch. A dinner of chicken picatta, with roasted potatoes and mixed vegetables with a pineapple bread pudding was served up, before guests hopped back into the water for the final dive of the day. During the night, divers were able to see several dwarf moray eels, barracuda, and a lizardfish hiding in a patch of sand. It did not take long for everyone to retire for the night and some well-deserved sleep.
Thursday May 4th – As guests woke up on the final full day of diving, they were greeted by a breakfast of pineapple pancakes, bacon, and eggs. As we had a bit of ground to cover, we started the day at Never, Neverland. This site has many lava fingers that drop off quickly, creating a dramatic landscape underwater. In addition to the topography, divers saw a bigeye snapper, yellowtail filefish, and cardinalfish. For the second dive of the morning we moored up at Rob’s Reef, where divers explored a lava cave, finding ghost shrimp, a bright eyed chromis, and undulated moray. After a fabulous morning, everyone was ready for a Mexican lunch of pork burritos, before getting into the water at The Dome. Here everyone was able to see huge trumpetfish, a Commerson’s frogfish, and a devil scorpionfish. The last afternoon dive of the day was at Amphitheater, where guest were able to swim through a sixty foot lava tube and saw many yellow tangs, fried egg nudibranchs, and a scrawled filefish. As we set off for our anticipated Pelagic Magic night dive, everyone enjoyed a final dinner prepared by Chef Cam of steak and potatoes and a desert of crème brulee. As the sun began to set, everyone got ready for this once in a lifetime experience. 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 having the opportunity to watch these glowing organisms, squid, and fish, guests begin to retire to their cabins to get some sleep.
Friday May 5th – The last day of diving is always bittersweet for everyone. The day began with a breakfast of egg frittata and sausage before the final two dives of the week. At shark fin rock, guests were able to see two finescale triggerfish nesting, and octopus, and a trembling nudibranch. On our way back to the pier, a lunch of hamburgers and hotdogs was served before guests had the opportunity to explore Kona by land. At 5:00 PM everyone returned back to the boat for the final cocktail party to celebrate the amazing week of diving and award John, Lindsay, Julie, Barry and Mike K their much-deserved Iron Diver award. A huge Mahalo to all of our fantastic guests for another wonderful week onboard the Kona Aggressor II.
Until next time!
The Kona Aggressor II Captain and Crew