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Dive Review of Kona Aggressor in
Hawaii

Kona Aggressor, Sep, 2004,

by Sarah Shoaf, Alan Miller, NC, USA . Report 2128.

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

Weather sunny Seas surge, noCurrents
Water Temp 78 to 82 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 65 to 100 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
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.
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

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

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 3 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 3 stars Shore Diving 1 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 3 stars
Comments GOOD:
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.
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 frequently.
BAD:
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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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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