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Dive Review of Bilikiki Cruises/MV Bilikiki in
Solomon Islands

April, 2010, an Instant Reader Report by Rick Troberman, WA, US
Contributor   (12 reports, with 2 Helpful votes)
Report Number 5513
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
501-1000 dives
Where else diving
North Sulawesi; Bali-Komodo; Papua New Guinea; Australia; Palau; Tahiti
(Tuamotus); Galapagos Islands; Belize; St. Vincent; Grand Turk; Cayman
Islands; Bahamas; Florida Keys; Hawaii.
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

Water Temp
85   to 87    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
40   to 100    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
No deco diving.    
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  5 stars
Tropical Fish
4 stars  
Small Critters
  3 stars
Large Fish
4 stars  
Large Pelagics
  3 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
4 stars  
Boat Facilities
4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
4 stars  
Shore Facilities  
Large table in main salon used as camera table.  Separate rinse buckets for
cameras on the dive deck.  A separate room is available for charging
electronics, etc. with lots of charging stations (both 120 and 240
available)  Crew placed cameras in tinnies and handed to divers once in the
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
4 stars
4 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
5 stars
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
4 stars    
3 stars   
4 stars    
The choice was between Fiji and the Solomon Islands.  We chose the
Solomons, and I'm happy with that decision.  Easy and comparatively
inexpensive to get to.  Non-stop (Air Pacific) LAX to Fiji. We overnighted
in Fiji to make sure the luggage arrived and to get acclimated (and to
spend a day in Fiji), but that is not required.  Flight from LAX arrives in
Fiji at 5:30 a.m., and the flight to Honiara (Solomons) departs Fiji at
8:30 a.m., so you can travel staight through if you like.  

Although an older vessel, the Bilikiki is in good shape, and everything
seemed to work well.  The sister ship (Spirit of the Solomons) is not
operating this year.  The Bilikiki can accomodate up to 20 divers, although
there were only 12 divers on this trip, which was comfortable. I think with
20 it would be too crowded. Because there was space available, single
divers were given their own rooms. The rooms are small but comfortable, and
lack much storage area.  Air conditioning and a separate fan kept the
temperature comfortable.  Crew was outstanding.  Dive guides Aiko and James
did a good job, and tried to accomodate any reasonable (and even some
unreasonable) requests. Tinnie drivers were excellent, and were always
nearby when divers surfaced. Almost all of the diving was done from the
tinnies, but the dive sites were usually within 5 minutes of the Bilikiki. 
Divers are assigned a numbered tank station and storage box on the dive
deck at the beginning of the trip. Tanks are filled at your spot.  3000 psi
and 32% nitrox was always spot on.  Crew members carry your BC to the
tinnie.  Entries were by back roll; exit up a dive ladder.  Up to five
dives a day were generally available (8:00, 11:00, 2:00, 5:00, and 8:00). 
However the night dive followed dinner, which was a bit awkward, and tended
to limit the number of night divers. The meals were varied, plentiful, and
good, even for the Vegans on board.  Snacks were always available between
dives.  Every day local villagers paddled out to the boat, selling fresh
fruit, vegetables and fish, so the food was always fresh.

The diving was generally good, although I have recently been spoiled by two
amazing trips to Indonesia, which makes a difficult standard for other
areas to live up to. The diving was varied: walls, drifts, muck, caves, and
some wrecks.  The corals (hard and soft) were healthy, colorful and
beautiful, as were the large sea fans.  Not as much large stuff as I
expected, although there were some large schools of Barracuda, Jacks,
Bumpheads, and Fusiliers. Sadly, very few sharks, although this seems to be
way it is in most places now.  Reef fish were plentiful.  While there was
an interesting variety of small critters, they were not seen in large
numbers.  Nevertheless,  the diving seemed to get better as the 11 day trip
went on, and by the end of the trip I was quite satisfied.  

The scenery in the Solomon Islands is spectacular.  In fact, it is probably
the most beautiful place I have been diving.  The lush tropical jungles are
the prototypical South Pacific islands.  Our trip included stops at a local
village for a view of island life, and another village stop where local
woodcarvings were available for purchase.  On the last day before departing
back to Fiji, I did a tour of some Guadalcanal battlefield sites.  The area
is rich in history, and worth the tour.  
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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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