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Dive Review of Kona Aggressor II in
Hawaii/Big Island

February, 2011, an Instant Reader Report by Jeffrey W Garrison, VI, US
Reviewer   (3 reports)
Report Number 5945
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
251-500 dives
Where else diving
USVI, BVI, Great Barrier Reef, Saba, Statia, St Kitts, Yap, Palau, Truk,
Fiji, Aruba, Belize
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

calm, choppy  
Water Temp
76   to 77    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
60   to 100    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
No deco  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
> 2 
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  3 stars
Tropical Fish
4 stars  
Small Critters
  4 stars
Large Fish
3 stars  
Large Pelagics
  3 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
5 stars  
Boat Facilities
5 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
5 stars  
Shore Facilities  
A large, dedicated "dry" table was located on the dive deck. 
There were sufficient outlets for chargers of all types.  Low pressure air
and plenty of towels were also available.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
5 stars
5 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
5 stars
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
5 stars    
4 stars   
5 stars    
My wife and I have been on several Aggressor Fleet trips in the past, and
this was just as good as all the others.  I guess there's something to be
said for having six crew members looking after seven passengers.  That's,
easily, the best crew/pax ratio I've ever experienced. I guess it's just
the luck of the draw; there would be a full house the following week.  

Once the boat was pierside, our work was almost done.  The crew loaded all
the luggage and took it to our cabins.  All we had to do was set up our
dive gear and photo equipment.  From then on, we were pampered. The bell
would alert us to dive briefings (we learned to get to the dive deck before
the bell was scheduled to be rung), and the conch shell would summon us to

I won't bore you with details about the diving; they can be found in the
Captain's Log:
Suffice it to say, the DMs' briefings were excellent; they told us what to
look for, and had us looking for all kinds of stuff I'd never known
existed.  Although there was plenty of normal-sized stuff to look at and
photograph; there was also a bit of modified muck diving going on.  One of
our fellow divers found a one-inch juvenile frogfish that had folks saying,
"Oh, sure."  Until I produced the photo of it.

A lot of live-aboards struggle to find ways to keep the pax entertained
after dinner.  Not so on the Kona Aggressor II.  Photo Pro Brandi Mueller
provided several excellent slide shows, describing species found only in
Hawaiian waters.  Brandi also explained the miscarriage of justice that
took place when a non-endemic species -- the Humu-humu-nuku-nuku-apua'a --
was named the state fish......all because of a song.  She told us we'd not
be allowed to leave the boat until we could pronounce that Hawaiian name of
the Picasso Parrotfish.

The manta dive on the penultimate night was excellent.  My wife and I had
been on a manta night dive shortly after arriving on the Big Island and
couldn't wait to do it again (properly weighted this time).  On our earlier
dive, six mantas showed up.  This night somewhere around 15-16 mantas
showed up and put on an absolute spectacle.  Lit from below, the mantas
soared through the area, often barely a hair's breadth from our heads. 
Before the dive, we received a briefing on how to act in the presence of
the mantas -- DO NOT TOUCH being the strong point here.

One of the things that made this trip special to all of us was the constant
reminder that it was Humpback whale season in the islands.  Although we
didn't see them underwater, we heard them on every dive.  On one occasion,
as several whales were passing close to the boat (we were all just back
topside from a dive) DM John Gilley jumped into the water with his video
camera and got a few shots to include in the trip DVD.  In addition to the
whales, spinner dolphins were our frequent companions throughout the trip. 
Their cavorting kept us constantly entertained.

The boat appeared to be in great shape.  The hot tub had been removed,
providing more space on the "sundeck" for the loaf-tribe.  As far
as we passengers were concerned, everything worked. Shortly after we
boarded, we were told there was a drain blocked on the starboard side and
that the dive deck head was out of commission, but that was soon repaired. 
Later, there was a quick emergency trip into harbor to pick up the Pepsi
man to repair something none of us knew wasn't working.  Beds were
comfortable -- no one had trouble sleeping after four or five dives each
day.  Food was excellent and more than plentiful. Local beer was on tap,
and wine was available with/after dinner.  What more could one ask? Just
remember Aggressor Fleet policy:  drinking alcohol turns one into a
snorkeler until the next day.

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All Hawaii Dive Reviews and Reports
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Diving Reviews for All Dive Destinations

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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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