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Dive Review of Bilikiki Cruises in
Solomon Islands

July, 2009, an Instant Reader Report by Chuck & Julie Feinberg, New York, USA
Sr. Reviewer   (9 reports)
Report Number 4917
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
501-1000 dives
Where else diving
Micronesia, Borneo, Papua New Guinea, Carribean
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, windy, rainy, cloudy, dry  
calm, choppy, surge  
Water Temp
84   to 86    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
40   to 100    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
[Unspecified]No restrictions  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
1 or 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  5 stars
Tropical Fish
5 stars  
Small Critters
  5 stars
Large Fish
5 stars  
Large Pelagics
  4 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
5 stars  
Boat Facilities
Overall rating for UWP's  
5 stars  
Shore Facilities  
Plenty of room for cameras on the dive deck as well as a dedicated table
inside for cameras. Special bins on the floor for cameras incase conditions
get rough. Specific cleaning tanks for cameras. Air guns for cameras on
deck. A superb charging station(all voltage). Staff can fix many problems.
Staff handles cameras as they were their own. Highly professional!
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
5 stars
5 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
5 stars
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  
5 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
5 stars    
4 stars   
5 stars    
To start let me make the ultimate comparison: The Bilikiki and their entire
staff(Boat as well as landbased) can easily be compared to the Truk Odyssey
which my wife and I have felt was the ultimate lieveaboard dive experience.
Upon disembarking your plane you are immediately met by Bilikiki staff
members who inform you of the schedule prior to going on to the Bilikiki.
Whats amazing about the landbased staff is that they seem to know everyone
in Honiari where you pickup the Bilikiki. This means if there are any
problems concerning airlines, airport, hotels etc. they know someone
important who works there and can help solve your problems. As a boat, the
Bilikiki is the consumate dive boat. Each room is basically the same; bunk
beds with the bottom a double bed, two areas for clothes and basic
equipment and a fairly large bathroom. There is an airconditionar plus a
fan that circulates the cool air. My wife and I were never too hot or too
cold during our ten day dive vacation. You also can use the top bunk as
another area to store equipment. There were never any off smells in our
room during out entire trip. The staff did an excellent job cleaning our
room each day and towels were always changed. No problems with water in the
shower or sink. Upstairs you have a dedicated room for your cameras as well
as plastic bins to put you photo equipment on the floor in case the seas
get rough. We are in the wine business so we tend to be critical concerning
food and wine. I can say that the food and wine served on the Bilikiki was
the Best ever(they cooked the Best Crab dish I have ever had in the
Pacific). You do have to pay for your wine but that was no problem since we
did have a choice of quite a few reds and whites. Excellent Solomon Island
Beer is available. All dinning is alfresco. We were never too hot due to
the comfortable breezes. If it rained, the dinning area can be enclosed by
rain covers. If you want to get away from the "crowd" there were
numerous areas to find a quiet place. FINALLY the Diving: The dive area is
a totally separate area in the stern of the boat. Similar to most good dive
boats you chose your area which has an equipment area underneath your
seating spot. Your tanks are filled at your spot. If you want Nitrox it is
available for a price. We used nitrox on every dive. Almost all dives were
from metal tinnies. Getting into and out of these two dive boats were
amazingly easy and safe. All camera gear was handled professionally. Most
dive sites were from one minute to five minutes from the Bilikiki. When you
ascend from a dive the tinny driver was right there to pick you up. On the
dive deck area there were dedicated rinse tanks for different types of
equipment and these tanks were always cleaned and filled. DIVE SITES: THIS
IS WHAT WE OF COURSE CAME FOR: What makes a great bottle of wine or even a
great restaurant is balance and complexity. This is what makes the Solomon
Islands so special. We think that the Bilikiki and its sister ship, the
Spirit of The Solomons are the only two liveaboards that sail the Solomons.
The staff, specifically Sam and Kelly,who are the general managers and our
dive masters,  ran the entire dive program.The rest of the crew also knew
their sites, and which would be the best with respect to weather conditions
and currents. Our dive areas were the Russell, Florida,Mary, and Moravo
Islands. We also dove some superb WW11 wrecks in the Guadacanal area(Iron
Bottom Sound). My wife and I have seen what we think is the best hard coral
in Kosrae but here in the Solomons you have the most diverse coral in the
world. Sea fans over 20 feet across, hard and soft coral perfectly healthy
and colorful were found on over 95% of our dives. We dove cuts into the
islands that were basically mini caves with awesome views of the jungle
vegatation where the cavern met the island and spectacular lighting from
the sun streaming through. You can dive any site with or without following
one of the divemasters. We also dove areas that had swim throughs and swim
arounds caused by boulders falling into the ocean from the island eons ago
but are now mini coral hills. I have never seen the amount of medium to
large fish in such abundance in all of our 800+ dives. It was fun checking
them out using the many dive books found onboard the Bilikiki. On a number
of sites you can acutally swim into and around tornado like schools of
thousands of Horseyed Jacks and Chevron Barracuda. We saw a number of
mantas as well as eagle rays.My wife and I are not muck divers but we did
get turned on to the pigmy seahorses and mandarin fish seen on a number of
dives. If you want to do a night dive just ask Sam or Kelly and they will
organize one for you any evening. Balance and complexity is what we got on
our first trip to the Solomons on the Bilikiki. No matter how great the
dive sites were they couldn't have been appreciated as much as we did if it
weren't for the hands on professional attention supplied by both the land
and sea staff from Bilikiki Cruises.
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Other dive reports on Bilikiki Cruises

All Solomon Islands Dive Reviews and Reports
Diving Guide to Solomon Islands
Diving Reviews for All Dive Destinations

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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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