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Dive Review of Bilikiki Cruises/Spirit of Solomons] in
Solomon Islands

October, 2009, an Instant Reader Report by Curt Andrus, TX, USA
Reviewer   (6 reports)
Report Number 5237
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Visit the MV Spirit of the Solomons Website

Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
501-1000 dives
Where else diving
Mexico (Coz & Baja), Bonaire, Caymans, Dominica, BVIs, Montserrat,
Guadeloupe, St. Maarten, Belize, Costa Rica, Honduras, Seychelles, Fiji,
Palau, PNG, Indonesia
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, rainy  
calm, surge  
Water Temp
80   to 82    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
20   to 80    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Dive to your certification, Nitrox limits on depth, virtually no limit on
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  5 stars
Tropical Fish
4 stars  
Small Critters
  2 stars
Large Fish
3 stars  
Large Pelagics
  3 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
Boat Facilities
Overall rating for UWP's  
Shore Facilities  
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
3 stars
3 stars
Service and Attitude
4 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
4 stars
Dive Operation
4 stars  
Shore Diving  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
4 stars    
4 stars   
4 stars    
Diving to your profile was definitely the mode. There were DMs in the
water, but you didn't have to follow. For those who rely on DMs to point
stuff out, you may have been disappointed. For experienced divers &
critter hunters you already know what you're doing, so no need for guides.
Boat was laid out pretty well. Storage in some rooms (mine included) was
virtually non-existent. Pack lightly! Bathroom also had very little space
to set anything down. Difference between Spirit and Bilikiki is that Spirit
has some single cabins w/ shared facilities whereas Bilikiki is all doubles
w/ ensuite facilities. We had a little problem with a compressor in the
cold storage room, so had to return to port early in the trip for repairs.
Only missed 2 dives, but the onshore support had repair people scheduled
for when we arrived to minimize our time there. Camera table was the main
deck salon, so all dining/socializing was on the upper deck. Weather
cooperated mostly, but the enclosed upper deck has roll-down plastic on the
railings to protect diners from wind/rain. Tank fills were a reliable
3,000psi and 31/32% Nitrox. All diving was done from tenders (tinnies)
which easily accommodated 8-9 divers. Back-roll entry and return to the
boat via an attached metal ladder. Crew was always there to help with gear,
cameras, etc as you got back on the tinny.  
Fruit & veggies were purchased daily from locals visiting the back of
the boat to sell their produce. Very good fresh food. Meats, although we
caught fresh fish from the boat, were predictably overcooked.  Assortment
of drinks and snacks for between dives was plentiful.
Diving had a variety of profiles. The 1 wreck dive was in green water with
20' vis. Other wall dives had excellent vis, little to moderate current,
and some dives could have been from a moored boat - no current. One dive
had notable surge, but that was the exception. Reef life was abundant,
variable, and in excellent shape. Hard coral on steroids, a fair amount of
soft coral, and plenty of cronoids, anemones, & other inverts. A couple
sites had schools of jacks & barracudas. Bumphead parrot fish, Napoleon
wrasses, and a wide variety of other parrots, angels, butterflies,
blennies, gobies, and wrasses, black- & white-tip reefsharks were on
quite a few dives too.  Turtles were present but all seemed rather small. 

Trips to villages were done on a couple days. Villagers had carvings for
sale - masks, bowls, baskets, plaques, utensils, etc. all looked
well-crafted with a variety of woods and inlays. Money can be exchanged on
your first day between landing and when the bus picks you up from the hotel
(you normally have a few hours between landing and getting onboard the
boat). The bank is a short walk down the street from the hotel.  
Getting to the Solomons was pretty straightforward, one flight from Fiji
with a  stop in Vanuatu, but no plane change. From the US, going through
LAX put me in Fiji with a couple hours layover before getting on the plane
to Solomons - no need for a day room. Same for the return trip. Layover in
Fiji was a little longer, but not so long you need a day room.       
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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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