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Dive Review of Kona Aggressor II in
Hawaii/Kona Coast

Kona Aggressor II, Dec, 2013,

by Mark Kimmey, NY, US (Sr. Reviewer Sr. Reviewer 10 reports with 2 Helpful votes). Report 7494.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 4 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments 80’ long, 28’ beam catamaran, built sometime around 1990. Probably the smallest liveaboard we’ve been on to date, this one only takes 14 passengers (we had 12 on our trip), but was comfortable. We were a little concerned that most of the passenger cabins are on the same deck and open onto the galley/lounge/dining area and dive deck, but the soundproofing was reasonably good and we didn’t have any problems. Whenever possible, lunch and dinner meals were served on the sun deck, one up. (The hot tub shown in diagrams of the sun deck was absent, thankfully.)

The KAII had just come out of two weeks in dry dock, during which it was completely repainted. Unfortunately, insufficient (or improper, not sure which) non-skid grit was mixed in with the paint meant for decks and most were slippery, as were the handrails down to the swim step. We both took tumbles, and we weren’t the only ones. A serious accident waiting to happen, and the crew was already looking to do something about it.

Diver's stations run beam to beam and use tank clips that don't work well with double-strap rigs, but we’ve been through this before and pack straps with us for just this sort of thing. However, there was also nothing to keep the bottoms of tanks in place, which would have improved stability. Officially, there were no gear baskets, but we were told we could use the bins under each station. That might have worked if there had been room for plastic bins to contain small gear, but most of the space in what were otherwise large bins was taken up by 2 five-gallon water bottles. Apparently someone didn’t like the taste of the water coming from the reverse-osmosis unit and so they were stocking plenty of drinking water. I was unsure on how long this had been an issue.

Bars above diver stations are sufficient for hanging wetsuits. Fins are kept in racks on either side of the swim step at the base of the dive ladders, which can be congestion points: it was too easy for clueless divers to stop at the base of the ladders to put on their fins rather than move onto the swim step, effectively blocking everybody behind them, especially when they also decided this was a great time to have a conversation with a member of the crew. There is a shower head at each dive ladder, too, which were adequate unless both were in use at the same time, in which case both became pitiful trickles. There was a cold water hose that was used to fill mask and camera tanks that was a better bet when you needed good flow.

The aft deck, including the swim step and diver stations, was a little smoky when underway; the crew told us that the engines were in otherwise good shape, but were more than 20 years old: they had been dropped in place when the boat was being built, without access hatches of sufficient size to actually get in to replace them. Parts have to be manhandled down a ladder and installed in place. To replace an engine would require cutting a hole in the boat, something I think they’re trying to avoid for obvious reasons.

When we started out, my dive buddy was diving air and I was on NITROX, so I used her tank to calibrate the analyzer. By midweek everyone was diving NITROX, but they didn’t have an “air” bottle to use for calibration. They said it wasn’t necessary, to just calibrate to ambient air. I wasn’t really happy about that answer but wasn’t willing to force the issue.

The "Mantaville" night dive off the Sheraton Hotel was as wonderful as we'd heard, and is not to be missed. Even better in our opinion, is the "Pelagic Magic" dive. However, unless you have an underwater camera that is actually set up for that sort of thing (strobes on arms, etc.), don't bother trying to take pictures: instead, just hang onto the lines and ENJOY. It really is something special.

Like all of the Aggressor/Dancer Fleet boats we’ve been on, the crew was awesome: friendly, knowledgeable and professional. In one case they went above-and-beyond to recover a diver’s camera that had gotten loose during a dive, searching from the sun deck and launching the skiff when they spotted it. Eagle eyes! We will definitely be going back.
Websites Kona Aggressor II   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving New York, Hawaii, California, Kwajalein, Florida, Grenada, Bonaire, Caymans, Bahamas, Turks & Caicos, Belize, Mexico, Australia
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm, choppy
Water Temp 73-78°F / 23-26°C Wetsuit Thickness 5
Water Visibility 40-100 Ft/ 12-30 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions [Unspecified]
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 Mantas 1 or 2
Dolphins Schools Whale Sharks None
Turtles 1 or 2 Whales None
Corals 4 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 4 stars Large Fish 3 stars
Large Pelagics N/A

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter 3 stars Boat Facilities 3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 3 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments Decent camera table, but it's only accessible from the forward side. Since this is also where the NITROX log is, it becomes a congestion point. They have dedicated towels for cameras, and there is an air hose. Everybody was very considerate of other divers' gear, so no problems.
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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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