Kona Aggressor ll Captains Log
January 20th-27th 2018
Air Temp- 70-80 F
Water temp- 76-77F
Visibility 50-100+ ft
2nd Captain Eric
Instructors/ DM – Josh and RJ
Sunday- Shark Fin Rock, Aquarium, Garden Eel Cove/ Manta Madness
Monday- Kalocos Arches, The Dome, Robs Reef
Tuesday- Paradise Pinnacle, Land of Oz, Manuka Bay
Wednesday- Stoney Mesa, Catacombs, Manuka Bay
Thursday- Pele’s Playground, The Hive, Hammerhead, Driftwood, Pelagic Magic
Friday- Turtle Pinnacle
Saturday January 20th, 2018 Aloha from the Kona Aggressor 2. We welcomed our guests to the vessel and helped get their scuba gear set up in working order and their cabins squared away. Then we conducted the safely briefing and introduced the crew to the customers and visa versa. We then took off the dock to our mooring ball in the Kailua Kona Bay for the night. Chief Kevin prepared a fantastic dinner that included freshly caught swordfish with asparagus and white rice and chocolate mousse to top off the meal. Fantastic food I might say! After dinner all the guest and crew went to bed early to prepare for a big week of diving.
Sunday January 21st, 2018
The guest woke up to a delicious breakfast of macadamia nut pancakes, pork sausage, eggs, pineapple and watermelon prepared by chief Kevin. We started the checkout dive at Sharkfin rock where the guests were able to conduct weight checks and wipe cobwebs off their gear and underwater cameras. The divers also enjoyed the company of an eagle ray, octopus, and dragon wrasse. Humpback whales were also heard singing throughout the duration of the dive. On our way to the second dive a pod of spinner dolphins swam in the wake of the boat almost the duration of the trip and we saw the hump back whales smack their tails from a distance while enjoying cinnamon buns prepared fresh by the chief. The second dive was at the Aquarium where numerous eels were seen throughout the reef. For lunch chief prepared BLT’s and chicken salad sandwiches with potato salad and a variety of fruit for lunch. We drove over to garden eel cove where we moored up for the night. On our first dive at garden eel cove we were fortunate enough to enjoy the company of 30-40 spinner dolphins throughout the dive. The divers also saw another octopus and a field of garden eels. Whales could be heard throughout the dive over the dolphin chatter but they were to far to see. Once the divers surfaced we saw the whales breaching 400 yards away! The divers then enjoyed spinach dip with French bread and a plethora of vegetables for dunking. On the fourth dive the group went west from the stern mooring line and ran into 3 mantas that showed up early for their plankton dinner. The mantas weaved in and out of the group almost the entire dive and the songs of whales could be heard but they were to far off in the distance to be seen. The guests then enjoyed a fantastic meal of flank steak, grilled broccoli, and mashed potato’s with cheesecake to finish out the meal. At 6:40 we began the manta madness briefing and all the special considerations to take into account for the dive. It was a beautiful and calm night and ideal conditions for the dive. Once the divers swam to the fire pit they were greeted with 20+ mantas soaring around eating plankton. The diver all did a good job staying low and avoiding getting head butted by a manta. We were one of the last groups to arrive at the show which was phenomenal because all the other dive boats brought the mantas in for us and 30 minutes into the dive we were one of the last groups to have the mantas all to ourselves. With all the snorkel boats gone the mantas numbers increased to nearly 30! It was truly a magical dive.
Monday January 22nd 2018
The guests and crew woke up to 4 mantas still grubbing on plankton just along the port side of the Kona Aggressor II. Then the guests enjoyed omelets to order as well as brunch potatoes and ham. Our first dive site of the day was Kalokos Arches. On the way to the site we saw another pod of dolphins and more whales! The visibility was 100+ but there was a stiff current the divers had to handle. The group swam through numerous volcanic arches and found several octopuses throughout the dive. After the guests enjoyed freshly baked chocolate chip cookies while we headed to the “Dome” for our second dive site of the day. At the second site of the day the divers had to handle a strong surge in the shallows but were greeted by white tip reef sharks and one of the guest found a Commerson’s frogfish in the coral by the mooring line. Following the second dive the guests enjoyed a delightful Italian lunch that consisted of broccoli stuffed shells, Italian meatballs, and Caesar salad with a variety of fruit. During lunch we headed to Rob’s reef for the third dive. The conditions worsened with the surge picking up. We still managed to find a plethora of fish species throughout the dive but had to stay a bit deeper to avoid the surge. Once we surfaced the guests were welcomed to the aroma of crab fritters with corn, which were a delicious snack before the 4th dive. We dove Robs reef again but went closer in shore because the surge died down a bit and we were able to go see the massive lava walls closer to land. The surge was still a little too strong to venture into the caves but we found several white mouth eels and schools of Moorish Idols. For dinner chief served grilled swordfish. For our final dive of the day we did Robs reef after dark and found a wide variety of crustaceans like slipper lobsters and guard crabs. One of the divers even found a viper eel out hunting in the cover of darkness. The divers were welcomed with hot chocolate once they surfaced from the dive.
Tuesday January 23rd 2018
To start the day the guests had a wonderful breakfast of Local Hawaiian bread French toast with ham and egg any style. While everyone was eating breakfast the crew and myself got the vessel under way and hooked up to Paradise Pinnacle for our first diving location. The visibility was still spectacular but the surge had picked up so the divers stayed in the 40-50 foot range for the duration of the dive. We were able to locate a bush of black coral along with elusive long nose hawk fish within the cracks of the large pinnacle that the boat was moored up to. On the three-minute safety stop a manta cruised through the group to end the morning dip. After the dive the guests enjoyed fresh baked muffins for a morning snack. We did the second dive of the day at Land of Oz. Our dives found an abundance of fish while diving up and down the slopes of the coral gardens and found various rare fish like dragon wrasse and peacock flounder. They were also able to swim through the big arch that the site is known for. After the dive the guests enjoyed taco Tuesday up on the deck with an unbelievable view of the island as we drove to Manuka bay for our next three dives. On the first dive at Manuka bay the divers were welcomed by a hawks bill turtle swimming to the surface for air and another turtle napping in the reef. The coral at Manuka looked so colorful with the sunlight shining down on the relatively shallow dive site. After the dive the guests enjoyed freshly made hummus with pita bread an vegetables for dipping. After the guests woke up from a well-deserved nap they entered the water for their 4th dive of the day. This time the dive master took them a little deeper then normal for the site because the surge had picked up from the 3rd dive. They found several white mouth eels and a wide variety of fish including schools of Moorish idols and yellow tang swimming and feeding around the reef. For dinner that evening Kevin prepared a Waldorf salad for the appetizer and grilled salmon with red pepper sauce for the main course. The salmon also came with wild rice and a mix of roasted vegetables with key lime pie for desert. After the fantastic meal the guests hoped in the water for Manuka bay after dark. Right when the divers dropped in a white tipped shark was seen hunting different unicorn fish. Once the shark swam off the group headed toward shore because the surge had died down and found an octopus and several undulated eels out hunting. After the hour dive the guests surfaced and several of them jumped into the hot tube to warm up while the others rapped up in the heated towels and enjoyed some hot chocolate before going to bed and resting up for another potential 5 dives the following day.
Wednesday January 24th 2018
The divers started out the day with eggs benedict and hash browns made to order by chief. The crew and myself got the Kona Aggressor II to our first site of the day by 7:15. Stoney Mesa was the first location and it was a fantastic dive. There was 100 plus foot of visibility and little surge. The group met at the mooring line where they found a magnificent snake eel and then saw three massive scalloped hammerheads pass by at 45 feet. Once the sharks got spooked off the group found two green sea turtles and also enjoyed they canyon like topography. After the dive the group had banana bread baked fresh by the chief. On our way further south we ran into some ruff seas and got to the point where we had to turn around and head back north. After we escaped the ruff seas we stopped at a site called Catacombs where it was relatively calm compared to what we had just experienced. The conditions under water were fantastic. Little to no surge so the divers were able to head in close to shore and swim through the abundant caverns at the site. Peacock grouper were also seen mating on the reef. Once the dive was over the guest enjoyed a wonderful BBQ prepared by chief. The buffet included baby back ribs with mango BBQ sauce, teriyaki chicken, sausages, baked beans, and cilantro lime coleslaw. Since the conditions were so fantastic at Catacombs we stayed there for our 3rd dive of the day. The Dive Master took the group further north for a whole different set of swim through to penetrate. They also found a giant moray and several scorpion fish camouflaged in the coral. After the 3rd dip of the day the guests enjoyed some Mexican layered dip with tortilla chips. Since the ruff conditions were heading further north and closer to the vessel we decided to spend the night at Manuka bay where we would be safe further north. On the 4th dive the divers stayed in the shallows of the site again because of the abundance of sea life everywhere. They saw one of the turtles again but also found red pipefish and more dragon wrasses, which are difficult to find. The visibility wasn’t the best but there was no surge, which was great for the small swim caves and arches around the site. After the divers got out of the water and all warmed up they enjoyed a wonderful dinner prepared by chief. To start the guests had ahi poke with sushi rolls. For the main course they had roasted cornish hen with a pineapple ginger glaze, local purple sweet potato’s, and sautéed vegetables. To finish off the wonderful meal macadamia nut brownie Sundays were served. After the divers let their delicious meals digest they hit the water for the night dive. They found several different eels out hunting like viper, pencil, and margin. The viper eel had a yellow tang in his mouth. They also found a sleeping hawks bill under a ledge and multiple octopus. Despite the poor conditions south we still had a fantastic day of diving.
Thursday January 25th 2018- We got the boat moving early because we had a lot of ground to cover to get back to the port at the end of the day. While we were underway to Pele’s playground for the 1st dive the guests enjoyed freshly made waffles with sausage patties and eggs of your choosing. The visibility was 100 plus and the group rode the steep sloping walls both north then south finding wire coral gobies, rock mover, wrasse, and tinkerers butterfly fish. After the first dive the guests enjoyed apple fritters as soon as they got out of the water. Our second dive of the day was at the Hive. This dive everyone brought flashlights to look in all the nooks and crannies of the volcanic wall and they found lots of slipper lobsters, sponge crabs, and Hawaii lobsters. The group also found two more frog fish. Towards the end of the dive the group saw a 20-foot whale shark out in the blue behind the boat and dashed towards it to get a photo. After the Hive everyone ate a fantastic Greek lunch prepared by chief while we were underway to Hammerhead. The lunch consisted of Mediterranean chicken and vegetable soup, grilled tri tip with tzatziki, Mediterranean baked shrimp, toasted garlic and herb pita bread, and Greek salad. During lunch the guests watched the pelagic magic video, which gave them an idea of the alien creatures they were in store for that night. After lunch settled in the group dove Hammerhead. We unfortunately didn’t see and sharks but we did find some red pipefish, puffer fish, and a spotted eagle ray passed by the group out in the blue. For the afternoon snack chief prepared Hawaiian chicken wings as well as a vegetable platter. The 4th dive of the day was at Driftwood. This site is special for the long lava tubes you are able to swim through which the divers loved. Also several scorpion fish were found camouflaged in the coral and rock formations. After the 4th dive the guests ate a delicious meal. To start the divers had a caprese salad to start. Beef tenderloin with mushroom béarnaise sauce followed as well as blue cheese mash potatoes and a vegetable medley of zucchini, yellow squash, peppers, and onions. The pelagic magic dive finished they day off. We drove the boat 3 miles off shore and dropped 6 lines around the boat sitting at 25-50 feet deep. Once is got dark the divers hoped in and spread out along the lines. During the dive a wide variety of animals came up from the depths that are to odd and scifi looking to try an explain. During the dive 5 squid swam by the group and as everyone was looking at the squid a thresher shark zoomed by the diver! It was an extremely rare and exciting find. Once all the divers were out of the water we headed back to our mooring in Kailua Kona harbor for the night.
Friday January 26th 2018- We woke up early and headed to port to drop off the chief to restock on supplies and pick up and engineer to fix the nitrox machine. We then headed to turtle pinnacle for the last two dives of the charter. The guests enjoyed corn beef hash with eggs to start their day. On the first dive they had a bit off current to deal with but th dive master just swam them into the current and they rode it back to finish the dive. Tons of yellow, white mouth, and margin morays were seen during the dive and we heard dolphins close by but they were to far off to see. For the morning snack the guests had cinnamon apple turnovers. For the last dive of the day we did turtle pinnacle again and had a massive manta swim with the group and the current died down significantly which was a great way to end a spectacular week of animal encounters and stellar food. We drove the boat back to port to let the guests off around 12:30. On the way back they enjoyed burgers and hotdogs with a variety of toppings as well as chili and a fruit platter. The guests enjoyed solid ground for the first time in a week and explored Kona while the crew restocked the boat. The guests returned around 5 where we hosted a cocktail party with hors d’oeuvres and handed out the 5 iron diver certificates and took a group photo.