Kim & Randy - Hawaii 2010

Kona Aggressor
August 28, September 4, 2010

Kona Links and Rant
I was only too happy to oblige when my employer asked the employees to bleed off our vacation hours.  The Kona Aggressor has been on my "to-do" list for awhile and with a more active hurricane season predicted for 2010 in the Caribbean, I was looking to the Pacific.  My vacation dates were very flexible and I managed to catch a sale on the Aggressor.  All the state rooms were booked but Kim and I were given the 4 pack behind the bridge on the upper deck.  I really liked that arrangement.  We had tons of room and a door that faced out so we could keep it open and get lots of fresh air.  It was also super quiet that far up from the engines.

Another thing that made this a fun trip is we caught the Continental flight direct from Orange County's John Wayne Airport to Maui.  What a treat to avoid the traffic and travel to LAX.  Using some miles I upgraded to first class allowing a little more free baggage.  Also, with our bags being on the luggage belt first, we were home within about 20 minutes of landing on our return.  Beats the hour and a half flying into LAX.

I am still a relative novice to live aboards; at least compared to the other passengers I've met!  This was my ninth trip, having previously made trips on Peter Hughes, Big Blue Explorer and Explorer Ventures.  I had my hopes up for my first Aggressor trip.  The sale price had brought down the cost from $2700 to $2000 per person.  Even with the 700 smackers off, this is the most expensive trip I've taken.


Kona Underwater Pictures

Kona Manta Pictures

Kona Above the Water Pictures

Maui Pictures

IAmSharkBait Home

Unfortunately, the Kona Aggressor II let me down.  I was told by the other passengers that this was not the norm as far as Aggressor service.  But, it is what it is.  I think all the other divers felt the same as Kim & I.  Something was missing.


  • One aggravation was when the dive horn was blown and I would move from the upper deck down to the dive deck, crew members would be sitting on the stairs (you will see them in several pictures).  It made it very tough to get down the stairs.
  • While underwater you would see the dive master taking pictures but they would never call over divers to see what was so interesting.  I have at least one picture of that behavior.
  • There was a general lack of service.  It's always nice on these trips when you're sunning yourself after a dive and a crew member might  come up and ask if you needed anything.  In  the entire week, this happened once (happy exceptions follow my rant here).
  • We had at least one situation where a diver slipped and fell on the dive platform.  She didn't get any assistance from the crew.

Me general rule of thumb for tips on these trips is 10% of the non-sale price.  I tipped considerably lower this time.  I know two other families did the same.  I also spoke to Captain Rob and explained why I gave him the lower tip.


  • Tyler was the cook the week we were on board.  He was not only an awesome cook, he was fun to be around.  He was energetic and helpful.
  • Cliff was our engineer.  He was the only one to consistently stop by and talk.  He also is the only crew member that would ask if I wanted something.  When the head flooded, he was right there on his hands and knees cleaning up.

Possible reasons?  Beth and Neil were on their last few weeks before departing the boat.  Ben had hurt himself and wasn't able to dive or help out much.  And the boat was scheduled for a "re-skin" in October.  All this combined to make these individuals "short timers".  Interestingly, the two best crew were Tyler and Cliff, new comers to the boat.


Dive "Hits"

  • The Manta Dive is to die for.  I spent a week in Yap chasing mantas.  This one hour night dive is better than the whole week in Yap (well, except for the really great people of Yap).
  • Dolphins in the water with us.  I have a couple of pictures of dolphin "activity."
  • The deco stop in Kona at the end of the trip was one of the best ever.  Thanks to Kevin, Cami, Chuck and Mary!

Dive Misses:

  • Holy crap that water was cold.  There were thermoclines.  I got anywhere between 75 and 79 Suunto degrees.  I finally got comfortable by wearing my full 3 mil with a shorty on top and my beanie.  79 is comfortable for me.  Many dives were 75 the whole dive.
  • There wasn't the "abundance of fish" that I saw on my first scuba trip to Hawaii only 10 years ago.