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Dive Review of Kona Aggressor in

September, 2004, an Instant Reader Report by Sarah Shoaf, Alan Miller, NC, USA
Report Number 2128
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
251-500 dives
Where else diving
Bahamas, Turks & Caicos, Australia, Caymans, BVI, USVI, Mexico (Sea of
Cortez), Grenada, Panama (Pacific coast)
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

surge, noCurrents  
Water Temp
78   to 82    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
65   to 100    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Asked to dive in a line, w/ divemaster setting pace & showing
"interesting sights." Found this difficult w/ professional
photographer, as too many people jostling to see fauna. Recreational
limits, 3 min deco stop each dive, back on board w/ 500 psi.  If computer
locks, quit diving.  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
1 or 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  2 stars
Tropical Fish
4 stars  
Small Critters
  5 stars
Large Fish
2 stars  
Large Pelagics
  3 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
4 stars  
Boat Facilities
5 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
4 stars  
Shore Facilities  
Great camera-only table w/ pressurized air.  Several camera-only rinse
buckets.  Good method of passing cameras to divers once in water.  Crew
very knowledgeable of cameras and able to help divers w/ minor
difficulties.  Shot 29 rolls of film on 27 dives, so good diverse subject
matter and photo ops.  Nice sites w/ only minor surge, so easy to maneuver.
 Lava rocks gave easy purchase to steady cameras.  Independent charging
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
4 stars
5 stars
Service and Attitude
3 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
3 stars  
Shore Diving  
1 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
4 stars   
3 stars    
LAYOUT OF BOAT:  Excellent quarters including queen-sized lower bunks in
cabins, private showers and heads en suite. Dive deck spacious and easy to
dive from, even w/ full capacity divers & crew. Hot tub on upper sun
deck - very good for re-warming after night dives.
FOOD: Spectacular for a dive boat.  At least two meat plus vegetarian
entree for each lunch & supper. CIA-trained Robert was a wonderful
chef.  Meals served on time, but around dive schedule. Snacks after each
DIVE SITES:  Selected sites that were easy to dive, w/ minimal shallow
water surge and no current. Good variety including mantas, turtles, morays,
dolphins.  Most dives 35-70', which meant increased bottom times of over an
hour for most dives.  Viz good.
FLORA/FAUNA:  Nice lava formations.  Corals not spectacular, but not known
for them in this area. GREAT fish life, with many endemic fish.  Multiple
types of morays, including zebra, whitemouth, undulated, dwarf, tiger, and
the spectacular dragon moray.  Day octopus. Night dives with many
crustaceans and hunting morays and octopus.  Manta dive the highlight of
the week.  Spinner dolphins, mantas, and frog fish all on one day site. 
Many nudibranchs. Lion fish, clown wrasse, rockmovers, scorpionfish seen
SAFETY/CONCERN: Captain and second mate did not respond with appropriate
concern for diver who got "skin bends," even tho' they'd had
another case on board within the last 4 weeks. Lots of miscommunication,
reluctance to contact DAN, delay in oxygen treatment, delay in seeking
medical attention.  Seemed more concerned about keeping a dive schedule
than the health of the divers.
BUGS: Everywhere.  Cockroaches landed on you in bed and were on food, and
the tables with food. All parts of the boat inundated.  Need to bug bomb
the boat on a regular basis to avoid grossing passengers out.
DIVE SCHEDULE: Set up to get 5 dives, incl night dive (8am, 10:30am, 2pm,
4:30pm, 8pm). As dives were shallow, long bottom time (over an hour)  was
the norm, which left shorter intervals than desired between dives.  Could
be cause of two cases of "skin bends" within a month on the same
boat.  Would prefer pre-breakfast dive at 7am, then 10:30am, 1:30pm,
4:30pm, and 8pm.  Gives longer interval after deepest dive of the day, and
should help avoid problems.
CREW: Second mate was unhelpful, especially with case of bends that she was
supposed to be handling.  Miscommunicated w/ DAN, and then deceived those
involved, including Captain. Did not work well with others. Did not help
the divers, even when it was her job. Captain appeared more concerned about
keeping a schedule than the health of someone with a diving injury. Rapid
turn-over for crew members - most had been on the boat less than a year.
DIVE HERDING: Divemasters insisted on "follow the leader" dives,
showing "interesting sights" along the way.  For experienced
divers, especially photographers, this was counterproductive. Inexperienced
divers rushed to a site of something interesting, crowding out others and
scaring fauna away from sight.  Professional photographer found it
difficult to compose pictures while others were jostling for position. 
When asked if we could dive away from the group, some divemasters OK,
others very upset.  With the good viz, the limited area of dive sites, and
shallow depths, felt the "herding" was unnecessary and limited
photographic opportunities, especially for experienced (almost 500, over
500 dives for myself and husband) divers.
FUEL SURCHARGE: Notified 10 days before start of trip of $100 fuel
surcharge per person. Thought this was unfair, as the trip had otherwise
been paid for 3 months in advance.
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