johnrbaker33 - Bluewater Dive Travel



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Reviews (1)

Kona Aggressor II


Whenever I think of Hawaii I think of the wonderful times aboard the Kona Aggressor. We made our third trip with the Kona Aggressor II, (KA II), in January, 2014. We had gone on the first boat 4 times in the 1990s. And everyone can appreciate how easy it is getting to Kona.

The KA II accommodates 14 divers, 10 in the five couples staterooms and four in the quad. The layout of this 80 ft catamaran lends itself to convenience. All the couples rooms,(5), dining, lounge and dive deck are on the same level. So one can literally fall out of bed, grab a bite, and hit the water when the pool is open. The quad on the upper deck requires a trek down one deck.

The diving over the years has always been good and this year was no exception. Good to excellent viz and usually great weather. What can change which dive site we dive is the direction and intensity of the swells. Also, running into various whale and shark species can change the itinerary. A whale shark that wants to stick around the boat or a large pod of playful dolphins or breaching humpbacks, ( during the season) can change the itinerary in an instant.

There are five crew members and all but the chef alternate guiding divers to where special critters have last been encountered. This is good as it ensures that there are wonderful treats awaiting the divers between the dives. More importantly it also gives divers the greatest advantage to see as many of the special critters that Hawaii has to offer. Divers have the option of following along with a crew member familiar with the site. Detail maps of each site are explained before each dive as the divemaster announces his plan for that particular dive.

Thanks specifically to the efforts of the divemaster, (the captain on both these encounters on this particular charter), I saw two creatures I had never seen, a decoy scorpinfish and leather coral that is soft and changes color when you touch it. The Decoy is unique as when the dorsal is raised an image of a smaller fish appears. Also, I had previously witnessed Triton Trumpets attacking Crown of Thorns which makes for great "slow" motion video. But I had never seen a Helmut Shell make a bee line for and "jump" on a collector urchin.

It seems that diving in Kona couldn't be easier. Of course starting with the KA II offering access to hundreds of sites up and down the coast is a great start. Since the islands have risen from very deep water, moorings are close to shore and close to the dive site. Keeping the deep water to one side helps with navigation when looking for the boat and/or the divemaster. And I have never witnessed any current of any consequence.

Two extremely popular dives have divers returning time and time again. The experience of mantas feeding on plankton at night is a world famous dive and has been for years. All you need is light and it seems the mantas show up to feed on the plankton. We lost count at 16 mantas this last time. Actually fewer mantas makes for better photography as they literally trip over each other and get in the way of that perfect shot of an incoming wide open mouth or a barrel roll over your head. Since this is such a well known and popular dive one can not be surprised at the number of dive boats and snorklers and divers that arrive for the show. Now is when the value of being on the KA II becomes even more appreciated. Instead of jumping in with the crowd we have a leisurely dinner. After dinner when the crowd has diminished we suit up and head over to see the mantas. It is not unusual for a couple of the mantas to show up at the boat's stern taking advantage of the boats lights to attract their dinner. They also followed us back to the KA II when we left.
The Pelagic Magic dive is unique as you are guaranteed to see aliens from the deep you have never seen or imagined as you drift in deep water. These creatures as well as larvae and juveniles of both common and uncommon species avoid the sunlight and rise at night to feed, complete with their own lights which are intense enough not to be washed out by our lights. As with most liveaboards photography is very popular. Getting good pictures while drifting in deep water, at night, hanging on a line, and trying to photograph exciting, spectacular new creatures can be somewhat of a challenge. I never seem to get tired of these experiences.

On a normal weekly charter you are offered five dives per day for five days, including five night dives, and two dives on the day of returning to port. That is a total of 27 dives which will keep you busy as one needs to stop and take advantage of all the chefs offerings. And then there is the needed sleep. The couples cabins of course have private head and shower with plenty of hot water and the standard double bed below and single bed above seems to accommodate most everyone.

Experiencing the diving on the KA II is definitely the most comfortable and rewarding way to see the best and the most of the Kona coast. I have always been impressed with the experienced crews and the value they bring to the liveaboard experience. Although we have dove on many liveaboards around the world, the quality of the Kona Aggressor II experience keeps calling us back.

Visited on 01/2014 - Submitted on 02/12/2014
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