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Dive Review of Kona Aggressor II in
Hawaii/Kona

Kona Aggressor II, May, 2013,

by Jeff Robertson , CA, US (Contributor Contributor 14 reports with 2 Helpful votes). Report 6969.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 5 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 4 stars
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling 3 stars
Value for $$ 4 stars
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments We were able to book a last minute deal on the Kona Aggressor in April 2013. The KA is an 80 foot motor cat set up for 14 passengers, but on this occasion only 6 of us had signed up by the time we sailed. Wow. With a crew of 6 this made for a very enjoyable week of eating, drinking and diving (and snorkeling) off the Big Island of Hawaii.

With 5 deluxe cabins and one quad cabin we had plenty of room to spread out and enjoy the ambiance of the first class boat. Everything worked well and if something did go haywire, it was usually corrected before we even knew there was a problem. Captain Todd runs an incredibly smooth ship with an experienced crew that worked well together and seemed to have as good a time as we did.

The conditions couldn’t have been much better. We had light breezes, clear skies and mid- seventies temperatures in the water and topside. I stayed comfortable in my 3 mm full suit. Viz varied from 25 feet in the cove at the Captain Cook Monument to 100 feet at sites like Garden Eels and Pipe Dreams.

There were only 4 divers in our group of 6. My snorkeling-certified wife was reluctantly joined by a diver from Russia who, unfortunately, fell and broke her arm a few days before arriving in Hawaii. We can only imagine her disappointment at being unable to dive on this trip. But the crew was awesome and made the best of the situation by setting her up to snorkel with a plastic bag around her arm to keep the water out.

The diving on the KA was my kind of diving, very relaxed. Our small group consisted of experienced divers so we got to see a lot during our week. Our first dive of the trip, usually the check-out dive, we saw a yellow margin moray, Hawaiian fantail triggerfish and a yellow frogfish the size of a fifty-cent piece, thanks to the sharp eye of our dive leader, James. How cool is that?

About 25% of the stuff you see in Hawaii is endemic, seen nowhere else in the world. The dive leaders, Karl (dive instructor and 2nd captain), James (dive instructor and photographer) and Martin (dive instructor and former “new guy”) were familiar with the fauna and very good at pointing out the rare or hard to spot critters. We could follow along with them or dive our own profile. We chose to stay with the leaders and were never disappointed.

We saw damselfish, angelfish, raccoon, teardrop, pyramid and long nose butterfly fish (including the uncommon dark phase), trumpet fish, coronet fish, trigger fish, bird wrasse, sergeant majors with eggs, orange-spined and yellow tangs, square spot goat fish, boxfish and puffers, yellowtail coris and schools of jacks. We also saw pipefish and long handed lobsters, ghost shrimp, dragon wrasse, lots of urchins, nudibranchs and flatworms, mollusks like the horned helmet conch and triton conch and cowries, day octopus, several different kinds of morays, many turtles, one ginormous spotted eagle ray and an occasional white tipped reef shark. Captain Todd spotted a tiger shark when placing the anchor at Turtle Pinnacle.

The signature dive of the trip is the night dive where lights from the divers attract plankton which in turn attracts a large number of manta rays. We saw at least 12 on this dive. It’s an extravaganza that looks more like a rock concert underwater with circus performers of acrobatic mantas flying in the water column of bubbles and lights. Our resident snorkel group was shepherded by Matt on the surface to view the show. My wife reports that it was one of the most incredible things she has ever seen. My perspective too.

Topside we also saw manta rays and humpback whales, spinner dolphins and a school of 6 pelagic hammerheads. We could actually hear the whales and dolphins underwater.

With only 4 divers on the boat we were able to pretty much go where we wanted. We even got to dive a new site that the crew had been wanting to try for a while. We named it Caldera Gardens because of the garden like setting of the coral and marine life located in a lava caldera. It was a great dive spot with excellent visibility and a healthy variety of reef animals.

I’m not about food and yet realize that’s a big part of the liveaboard experience for some folks. So, on that score I apologize for not keeping a better record of the bill of fare. Meals were always tasty and plentiful thanks to the combined efforts of Chef Vern and Matt the “new guy”. Breakfast was cooked to order or continental, lunch was served buffet style hot and dinner was a sit down 3 course affair with cloth napkins. Between dives there was always a good supply of snacks and baked goodies.

This was an incredible trip. One that I highly recommend.

Mahalo.


Websites Kona Aggressor II   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Pacific, Caribbean, Bahamas and GBR.
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, dry Seas calm
Water Temp 75-76°F / 24-24°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 25-100 Ft/ 8-30 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Return to the boat with 500 psi. No deco diving. Have a drink - become a snorkeler for the rest of the day.
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas Squadrons
Dolphins Schools Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales > 2
Corals 4 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 4 stars Large Fish N/A
Large Pelagics N/A

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 2 large camera dedicated fresh water tubs. Large camera table, one air hose (another was out of commission) plenty of dry towels and electrical outlets.
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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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