Kona Aggressor II Captain’s Log
September 23rd – 29th, 2017
Water Temperature: 78 – 82 °F
Air Temperature: 75 – 85 °F
Visibility: 75 – 100+ ft
Captain: Matt Herwig
2nd Captain/Video Pro: Brian Forman
Engineer: Jeremy Dick
Cruise Director: Shelby Penn
Divemaster: Cam Smay
Chef: Kevin Bennett
GUESTS: Tammy, Elton, Tim, Tina, Mindy, Doug, Mary, Phil, Cheryle, Erik, Sean, David, Matthias
Sunday: Driftwood, Mantaville
Monday: The Dome, Paradise Pinnacle, Au Au Crater
Tuesday: Land of Oz, Manuka Bay
Wednesday: Catacombs, Never, Neverland, Rob’s Reef
Thursday: Lion’s Den, Amphitheater, Pelagic Magic
Friday: Turtle Pinnacle
Saturday September 23rd – Aloha and welcome to beautiful and Sunny Kona, Hawaii. At 5:00 PM the Captain and Crew welcomed thirteen guests from across the United States excited to see manta rays and dolphins. After setting up gear on the dive deck to make sure everything was ready for the week ahead, Chef Kevin served up a dinner of grilled pork loins with lilikoi mustard sauce, mashed local purple sweet potatoes, and asparagus. Guests enjoyed the evening by relaxing on the sun deck and enjoying the sunset and beautiful evening.
Sunday September 24th – As the week of diving began, we started off at Driftwood for our checkout dives. Here guests were able to see a horned helmet, surgeonfish, and many yellow tangs. After lunch we arrived at Mantaville, the original site of the manta ray night dive. During the afternoon dives, the rays made an appearance and divers were also able to see whitemouth moray eels, unicornfish, and fourspot butterflyfish. For dinner, Chef Kevin served roasted Cornish hens with a pineapple ginger glaze, coconut rice, and sautéed mixed vegetables with cashew nuts. During the manta mayhem dive, several mantas feasted on the plankton collecting in the dive lights. Back on the boat, divers excitedly talked about the swooping mantas as they watched their videos and pictures from the experience.
Monday September 25th – After a good night of sleep, our first stop of the day was The Dome. Here divers were able to see a couple large Commerson’s frogfish, cushion sea stars, and Moorish idols. In the afternoon, we stopped at Paradise Pinnacle before mooring up for the night at Au Au Crater. During the afternoon dives, those in the water saw redstripe pipefish, peacock razor wrasse, and several blue dragon nudibranchs. After the fourth dive of the day, Chef Kevin had seared swordfish and fresh tropical salsa with blue cheese mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli waiting. Many divers decided to get back into the water for the night dive and were able to see ghost shrimp, a couple octopuses, and a titan scorpionfish. After a cup of hot chocolate, everyone was ready to tuck in for the night.
Tuesday September 26th – We began the day at Land of Oz where everyone was able to see blue goatfish, crown of thorns sea stars, and a Triton’s trumpet. As we arrived at Manuka Bay, a small pod of Spinner dolphins greeted us, putting on quite the display for those watching. Underwater, divers saw a tiger cowry, Spanish dancer eggs, and a peacock flounder. For dinner, Chef Kevin prepared grilled flank steak topped with Chimichurri, roasted red potatoes, and steamed green beans, followed by apple crumble al a mode. Those going for their Iron Diver award jumped back into the water to see a flame angelfish, pennant butterflyfish, and a jeweled anemone crab.
Wednesday September 27th – As we began to head back north, our first stop of the day was at Catacombs. Divers were able to see several freckled nudibranchs, gold lace nudibranchs, and a pelagic manta ray swimming by. In the afternoon, we arrived at Never, Neverland, before setting up for the night at Rob’s Reef. Here, divers were able to see flat rock crabs, schooling black triggerfish, and a juvenile psychedelic wrasse. For dinner, guests enjoyed grilled salmon with red pepper sauce, mashed cheese cauliflower, roasted mixed vegetables, and key lime pie for dessert. During the evening dive, guests were able to find a fried egg nudibranch, many whitemouth moray eels, and quite a few Rockmover wrasses.
Thursday September 28th – To start the final full day of diving, we began at Lion’s den. Here, divers did indeed see a Hawaiian lionfish, in addition to domino damselfish, and trumpetfish. In the afternoon at Amphitheater, guests were able to see leaf scorpionfish, whitetip reef shark, and explore some of Hawaii’s lava tubes. As we set off for our anticipated Pelagic Magic night dive, everyone enjoyed a final dinner prepared by Chef Kevin, delicious grilled beef tenderloin with mushroom béarnaise sauce, roasted garlic mashed potatoes, and white chocolate and coconut crème brulee for dessert. As the sun began to set, everyone got ready for the once in a lifetime experience, 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 night! After having the opportunity to watch these glowing jellies and fish, guests begin to retire to their cabins to get some sleep.
Friday September 29th – As the week comes to a close, guests prepared for their final dives at Turtle Pinnacle. Guests were able to see orangespine unicornfish, cornetfish, and schools of goatfish. During the drive back to the pier, guest enjoyed a lunch of hamburgers and hotdogs before having the opportunity to explore Kona by land. At 5:00 everyone returned to the boat for the final cocktail party to celebrate the amazing week both on the boat and underwater. At the event, Doug, Mindy, Mary, Dave, Matthias, and Tim were all awarded their Iron Diver metals, having completed every dive offered during the week! A huge Mahalo to all our wonderful guests for another amazing week onboard the Kona Aggressor II!
Until next time!
-The Kona Aggressor II Captain and Crew