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Kona Aggressor II Captain’s log
December 29th – January 5th, 2019!
Air temp 69-82 Fahrenheit
Water Temp 75-80 Fahrenheit
Visibility 25-75 Ft
Wetsuit Recommendation: 3 mm + extra vest or hood for night dives or 5mm if you get cold easily
2nd Captain: Shea
Engineer & DM: Jeremy
Chef: Guy Fujii
Sunday: Aquarium x2, Garden Eel Cove x3
Monday: Kaloko Arches, Sharkfin, Amphitheater, The Dome
Tuesday: Paradise Pinnacle, Never Neverland, Land of Oz, Manuka Bay
Wednesday: Stoney Mesas, Catacombs, Pele’s Playground, Au Au Crater
Thursday: Pelagic Magic
Friday: Turtle Pinnacle x2
Saturday December 29th:
Aloha, from the Kona Aggressor II Crew!
Today we are ecstatic to welcome 14 new guests on board for the end of the old year and start of the New Year! They are all here together from Birmingham, Alabama with the oldest dive shop in the country, Southern Skin Divers! Forest and spencer, two of the owners, invite their closets friends and family to join them on their 2nd time on the Kona Aggressor II. Their shop joins the Aggressor Fleet at least 4 times a year. Since this is routine for them, they have many bags of dive gear, clothes and wine coolers. Totally prepared for the week. As the customers come on board they get settled in their rooms and their dive spot for the week. Once finished, all passengers gather for Captain Mike introductory safety briefing. Then soon after, we headed out to the Kailua Bay mooring to spend our first night at sea. Chef guy sets up dinner mixed green salad with miso vinaigrette, steamed Opaka on ginger sweet potato mash and coconut tzatziki topped with an avocado papaya salsa with a classic brownie Sunday for dessert. With water as calm and clear as glass, many guests enjoy the sundeck laying down staring at the Hawaiian sky and shoreline then head to bed for a long week of sleeping, eating and diving.
Sunday December 30th:
The sun rises over Mauna Loa as we make our first trek over to the Aquarium, our first dive site. As the guests are eating breakfast, 2nd Captain Shea sees a whale pop up right in front of us. Everyone goes to the bow to check out what kind of whale it is. As we cruise by, TWO SPERM WHALES slowly cruise by relaxing at the surface. This rare siting was an awesome way to start the morning. As soon as 2nd Captain Shea does his deck briefing we head into the water for our weight check and get familiar with diving in Hawaii. We do two dives here. DM Dominique, Shea and Jeremy show the guests many caves and tubes to swim through along with some White Tip Reef Sharks, Common Day Octopus’s, Rockmover Wrasses, Yellowtail Coris’, and more. We head over to Garden Eel Cove to get our spot in the cove for three dives of the night. Captain Mike takes the guests around to check out the Garden Eels and the fire pit where we hope to see the mantas later. The night falls and dinner is ready. Chef Guy prepares 5-spice curry watercress salad, sautéed shrimp Kung pao with stead jasmine rice and cheesecake with mixed berry sauce. Even though everyone is full they are excited for the famous manta night dive. Everyone grabs their lights and cameras and we head to the ‘fire pit’ together. On our way over a manta joins us. As we make our seat in the circle, another manta is already their giving the other divers a show. Soon the other dive boats leave, and we make our own circle. The mantas give us a show 1ft from our face. After an hour we head back to the boat and 2 bottlenose dolphins join us. It was so hard to get out of the water; if we all had air left we would watch the animal show beneath us.
Monday December 31st:
The last day of the year is today. We start our day off by heading south to 4 different dive sites: Kaloko Arches, Shark Fin Rock, Driftwood and the Dome. Every site had different terrain and a variety of different animals. It was a pretty easy day of diving. At Shark Fin, there was finger coral everywhere hiding juvenile fish and eels that everyone spread out and took a nice relaxing cruise along the top looking in. After Chef Guys’ red Thai bacon corn chowder, chicken & fish satays, green papaya salad, pineapple fried rice and Thai eggplant compote lunch we stop at Driftwood. In and out of lava tubes and caves, we see a White Tip Reef Shark. Right around the next peninsula we head to the Dome. On our 45 minutes break between dives most people relaxed in the sun and others took a nap. Guests who were on the sundeck got to see dolphins cruise by. When we finally went under water we saw two more White Tip Reef sharks and an elegant dome shaped cave. To say the least, it was a relaxing day of diving for the last day of the year. Knowing the night won’t end early, everyone eats dinner and celebrates not only New Years with some champagne but also Spencer’s chocolate birthday cake! About 6 guests stay up on the sundeck watching the stars and fireworks in the distance till 12 or later playing cards against humanity to make the time go by. At 12 on the dot, everyone who is still up says what they are thankful for this year and Cheers! At the same time, as Spencer’s birthday ends, Kristin’s birthday begins.
Tuesday January 1st, 2019:
HAPPY NEW YEARS! What a beautiful morning to wake up too as a manta ray circles the boat for only early risers to see. After a night like last night, there weren’t many early risers. As we make our way to paradise pinnacle and ring the bell, everyone then wakes up. Tired but excited to see a rare black coral and the Long Nose Hawk Fish that lives in it. On our voyage down south to Never Neverland, Land of Oz and Manuka Bay for the night we eat Chef Guys’ lunch. Taco-Tuesday! We had vegetable soup for an appetizer then many fish and steak tacos with sides like Cuban black beans, Spanish rice, guacamole, mango mojo and chips & salsa. As we relax for the night at Manuka the guys plus Holly dive while the rest of the ladies make a snorkel trip to the sandy shore bay. Manuka Bay is very unique. It is a stunning bay that is far from civilization. It’s about an hour from the closest highway and the only way to get there is a dirt road. Once the dirt road hits the sand is when it turns in to a campground. A few cars unload its guests and create a campfire that we can smell form the boat. As night falls, only Spencer and Forest join DM Dominique and Edward on their night dive. We spend a full hour under the water. We found a Jeweled Anemone Crab, Banded Spiny Lobster, Banded Coral Shrimp, Sculptured Slipper Lobster, Scrawled Filefish, a Long spine Porcupinefish, a Viper Eel getting its teeth cleaned by a Ghost Shrimp and we sadly witnessed a yellow tang get caught and fully eaten by a Undulated Moray Eel. We came out of the water in awe. What an interesting night.
Wednesday January 2nd:
Spinner dolphins give us a show as we wake up in Manuka Bay. They end up following us all afternoon. We start our first two dives at Stoney Mesas and Catacombs. As all the guests are guided in and out of underwater canyons where a small Green Sea turtle went swimming by and then a few caves, which had a small White Tip Reef shark in it. The 4 Spinner Dolphins were just teasing all of us because they were just barely insight and when the snorkelers went to swim with them, they kept swimming away then coming back when they got on the boat. When we had to leave that area to head back north to Pele’s Playground they stopped following us. Once we got to the site, the waves started to pick up which caused us to dive around 70ft most of the dive. Many juveniles lived here but this dive was more about the topography. It was right off a lava spill from the 1960s. It had huge canyons that sloped down, paving the exact path of the lava flow. Since these canyons were so large we found many Goldlace and Lemark Nudibranchs. Current started to pick up as the sun went down. We continue on to Au Au crater for the night. This site is a bit shallower, hoping we will have a calmer night but the surge picked up so much we had to cancel the last two dives. The passengers enjoy the beautiful sunset and rainbows from the waves splashing 20 plus feet in the air when crashing into the rocks, as we get ready for dinner. After dinner is over, the guests play cards and phone game ‘Heads up’, which is a modern version of charades, all night long. Due to the roughness of the seas, we had to drop our lights and had to head north up to our mooring for the night where it was much calmer.
Thursday January 3rd:
We wake up early to get a head start back down south to grab our lines at Au Au Crater. We decide it’s too rough and head to Paradise pinnacle for our first dive of the day to see some Nudibranchs and a White Tip Reef Shark. After that work out dive, everyone is starving for lunch. Chef guy is serving BBQ pork ribs & chicken, Roasted broccoli, cauliflower & cheese, baked beans, mac & cheese. The guests are finally full after few plates of ribs. They get a little break before their next dive at the Lions Den. Here the seas are still rough but they have an amazing dive. This evening we head out to do the Pelagic Magic Dive. Here we hang the guests below the boat in 1000 feet of water for the largest migration on the earth. They see pelagic seahorse, octopus, and other odd and glowing creatures of the night. After this special dive we head back in to Kona to spend the night on the mooring
Friday January 4th:
This morning after moving around to Turtle Pinnacle, the divers jump in for the last two dives. The last dives were great seeing turtles, Nudis, and Dragon Wrasses. Then they come back and clean up gear before enjoying the last meal aboard the Kona Aggressor. The afternoon is spent cleaning gear, shopping for trinkets and shirts in town, and finally at 5pm, enjoying cocktails. This week we have two guests that accomplished the feat of Iron Diver. Spencer and Forrest, the shop owners for Southern Skin Divers did all the dives we offered this week. Then off to dinner in town and one last late night of Heads up before heading off to sleep.
Saturday January 5th:
The last beautiful Kona sunshine of the trip awakens the guests. The guests enjoy their last continental style breakfast together then are assisted off the vessel with our best wishes. Eat, Sleep, Dive, And Repeat!
Until next time, Aloha!