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Dive Review of Bilikiki Cruises in
Solomon Islands

April, 2011, an Instant Reader Report by Frank Goldsmith, CO, US (2 reports)
Report Number 6071
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
251-500 dives
Where else diving
Galapagos, Raja Ampat, Maldives, PNG, various Caribbean
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, dry  
Water Temp
86   to 86    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
50   to 125    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
We dove our own profile and managed our own computers and limits.  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
> 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
5 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
5 stars  
Shore Facilities  
There were two camera specific rinse tanks and a 2 tiered camera table on
the dive deck which was plenty for our 11 folks, only some of which were
photographers. Some had point and shoots and some had SLRs. In the lounge
is another table used for camera work/setup and each of us had a basket
that sat on or under the table for keeping our camera stuff together. We
even used it to hold glasses, ebook reader, shirts, etc. so the boat stayed
neat looking since everyone's stuff wasn't spread around. A battery
charging room is on the upper deck and plenty of plugs were available for
both USA style plugs and Solomons/Australia plugs.
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  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
5 stars    
3 stars   
5 stars    
     Bilikiki had 11 guests this trip (late April) and 4 were Americans.
The rest were Australians and New Zealanders, and 4 of those were expats
who live in Honiara. Sam and Kellie were excellent hosts and the boat was
very well run. One other important point to mention is that the boat's
owners have a very respectable policy to not cancel a trip once even one
guest books the boat. This policy is not only good business, but it was one
of the reasons I chose to come back to Bilikiki. Two of the crew (John and
Alan) even remembered me from my trip 8 years earlier.
     The diving was excellent. I'd guess that 30% of the dives had
significant currents, 30% had no current, and 40% has gentle/slight
currents. The visibility was very good. I'd guess it was 50-125 ft with 75
being average, although I remember it being a bit better overall when I was
there 8 years ago in July. Water temps were consistently 86 degrees and
several folks dove in only a skin for the entire trip. We had some great
manta dives where they came in close and stayed around. I did most night
dives and they were all very good with unusual critters. The reef health
and variety of coral are top notch and rivals my trip to Raja Ampat. The
fish schools (jacks, barra, among others) seemed smaller than my prior trip
but were still large and fun to watch, particularly at Mary Island. The
variety here was excellent, from tiny critters to big napoleon wrasse and
bumphead parrotfish. I'm not great at naming everything, but I saw amazing
new stuff on every dive.
     The dive operation is well run. We each had a "station" on
the dive deck with a basket for our smaller gear under the seat. Most of us
dove nitrox and bottom time was most often limited by air supply rather
than no deco time. The boat has two large tinnies and most diving was done
from them via backroll. We carried our mask, fins, and computers onto the
tinnies and the crew handled everything else including cameras. The tinnies
were close by when we surfaced and the crew did a nice job of predicting
where we'd be. I never had to use my safety sausage even when we were moved
significant distances via strong currents. The crew lifted our tanks/BCs
into the tinnies and we climbed a solid ladder. The air fills were usually
a bit short at 2700-2800psi and would occasionally be 3000 psi. The nitrox
was consistently 31-32%. On the dive deck are two hot showers and plenty of
space and hangers for hanging wetsuits. The dives were at 8a, 11a, 2p, 5p,
and 8p (after dinner). At the end of the trip, the crew washed and rinsed
every piece of dive gear and hung it out to dry...very nice.
     The air conditioning in the cabins was comfortable, although not
individually adjustable. There were reading lights over the beds and the
storage space was reasonable. The showers were hot and the water pressure
was excellent. We asked for an extra mattress and pillows up as we found
the regular mattress too hard. Since there were some empty cabins, they
were glad to oblige.
We visited several villages during the trip. The village visits were mostly
about buying carvings or other items such as woven purses. The quality of
the carvings varies widely and the cost is reasonable, but bargaining is
expected. The boat hosts would exchange money for us but not at a great
rate. You can also exchange at a bank in town before you get on the boat.
     Overall, I felt that the diving was world class, the hosts and crew
were top notch, the food was very good, the diving operation was very
smooth and diver friendly. I'd strongly recommend Bilikiki or Spirit of the
Solomons (whichever boat(s) are operating in a given year). 
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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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