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Dive Review of Kona Aggressor II in
Hawaii/Big Island

Kona Aggressor II, Feb, 2011,

by Jeffrey W Garrison, VI, US (Reviewer Reviewer 3 reports). Report 5945.

No photos available at this time

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 5 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments 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 meals.

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.

Websites Kona Aggressor II   

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

Weather sunny Seas calm, choppy
Water Temp 76-77°F / 24-25°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 60-100 Ft/ 18-30 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions No deco
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 Mantas Squadrons
Dolphins Schools Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales > 2
Corals 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 N/A
UW Photo Comments 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.
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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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