Kona Aggressor II
Dive Cruising Hawaiis Warm Wonderful Seas
by Bonnie J. Cardone
Imagine yourself on the Kona Aggressor II, an 80 foot long catamaran, in the Hawaiian Islands. With its 28 foot beam, the boat provides a stable platform for the several dives you make each day. U/W, the average visibility is 100 feet; the water temperature averages 80F in summer, 73F in winter. You see an incredible variety and diversity of creatures. There are fish;lots of them;so many you think youll never learn the names of all of them. There are macro creatures;beautiful shells, colorful shrimps and crabs, eels and nudibranchs. There are larger animals, too: sharks, manta and eagle rays and turtles. On some of your U/W forays you hear Humpback Whales singing songs only they know the meaning of.
While you enjoy a snack between dives on the deck you can watch warm breezes rustle the fronds of the palm trees on the lava rock coast just a short distance away. You can also catch some rays on the sundeck or soak in the hottub youll find there.
When you want some quiet time, you retire to your stateroom (its one of five, all identical, for just ten guests), just off the main salon. Carpeted and very nicely appointed, it has a picture window, individually controlled air-conditioning, its own vanity, head and shower. The upper single and lower queen sized bunks have reading lights so youll finally have time to finish that book everyones been talking about.
When youre in a gregarious mood, you can relax in the air-conditioned main salon. It has an entertainment center there, allowing you to view the video you just shot, one shot by another guest or one from the boats library. Very comfortably furnished, the salon also has a coffee table that doubles as a light table so you can view the slides just developed by the photo pro. This allows you not only to make sure your equipment is working properly but to seek free advice from the photo pro on how to improve your shots.
No matter whether youre an old pro or a beginner, youll appreciate the amenities the Kona Aggressor II offers photographers. Besides the photo pro, photo courses (other specialties are also offered), daily E-6 processing and rental equipment, there are freshwater rinse tanks and a carpeted camera table with 110 volt charging stations.
Since youll be getting lots of exercise on up to five dives per day, youll have a hearty appetite. The Aggressor Fleet is known for its food (Eat, sleep, dive is its motto) and Kona Aggressor II is no exception. There are three delicious meals each day along with in between dive snacks.
Since were imagining this whole scenario, try imagining a dive vacation with little luggage. Yes, such a thing is possible if you rent most of your equipment from the Kona Aggressor II. The cost is nominal.
Kona Aggressor II divers enter the water right from the stern of the boat. Since the boat cruises up to 70 miles south of Kona, beyond the range of day boats, many of the sites are dived exclusively by Aggressor guests. Other sites, such as Pine Trees Point and Manta Ray Village, are also popular with day boats. Pine Trees Point is the home of Miss Piggy, the Green Turtle. Many turtles flee divers, Miss Piggy loves em. The best turtle photos Ive ever seen feature her eagerly approaching head on. Manta Ray Village is just off the Kona Surf Hotel. At night, the hotels bright lights bring in plankton; Manta Rays come in to feed on the plankton. This is a ballet youll never forget. Kaiwi Point features six foot long Whitetip Reef Sharks lying in caves. These nonaggressive bottom dwellers allow divers to come within arms length.
Among the Kona Aggressor IIs exclusive sites is Black Coral Canyon, named for its impressive six to eight foot tall Black Coral trees.
The Kona Aggressor II has a shark cage and, to increase the chance of pelagic encounters, one day each week is spent looking for big animals in deep waters.
Conclusion: Most Aggressor Fleet vessels offer special cruises; Stan Waterman has a photo course on the Kona Aggressor II from May 31 to June 7. Theres Stans expertise to be had on this trip along with his very delightful sense of humor.
An imaginary vacation on the Kona Aggressor II is pleasant but its no substitute for a real one. Hawaii is one of the easiest tropical dive destinations to reach, just a five hour direct flight from the U.S. West Coast. Hawaii is also hassle free for U.S. citizens, with no customs or immigrations and the same language, currency, electricity, etc. youre used to. After youve collected your luggage in the Big Islands Keahole Airport, Kona Aggressor II crew members will whisk you off to the boat, which is docked just a few minutes away.
For more information, contact the Aggressor Fleet, Ltd., P.O. Drawer K, Morgan City, LA 70381; (800) 348-2628, (504) 385-2628 or fax (504) 384-0817. The e-mail addresses are divboat@aol. com or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can visit the Aggressor Fleet Web Site at http://www.aggressor.com
Vessel Length Divers Length Price*
Bay Islands 110 18 6 $1,195
Aggressor III days
Belize Aggressor III 120 18 6 $1,595
Cayman 110 18 6 $1,495
Aggressor III days
Galapagos 80 14 6 to 10 $2,195
Aggressors I/II days (6 days)
Kona Aggressor II 80 10 6 $1,695
Okeanos Aggressor 120 22 9 & 10 $2,495/
Costa Rica days $2,795
Palau Aggressor II 110 16 6 $1,995
Truk Aggressor II 110 14 6 $1,895
Truk Lagoon days
Turks & Caicos 100 16 6 $1,495
Turks & Caicos