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Dive Review of Bilikiki Cruises in
Solomon Islands

Bilikiki Cruises, Sep, 2011,

by Douglas Hansen, CA, US (Contributor Contributor 15 reports). Report 6780.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving California, Baja California, British Columbia, Hawaii, Florida, Cayman
Islands, Bonaire, Curacao, Bahamas, Fiji, Indonesia, Palau, Papua New
Guinea
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, rainy Seas calm
Water Temp 81 to 84 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 30 to 80 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Maximum one hour, come back with 500 psi
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 Mantas Squadrons
Dolphins 1 or 2 Whale Sharks None
Turtles 1 or 2 Whales None
Corals 4 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 3 stars Large Fish 3 stars
Large Pelagics 2 stars

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter 4 stars Boat Facilities 4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments There were dedicated rinse tanks for cameras, a dedicated camera table on the main deck and a small camera room on the upper deck. The crew was very cautious with the cameras. Easily one of the best setups for underwater photographers that I have seen.

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 3 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 4 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments The crew of the Bilikiki is wonderful. They were helpful, friendly, able to dispense advice when requested and willing to take suggestions for dive sites. The boat itself seems old and maintenance and upgrades would certainly improve the passengers experience. Our cabin door would not close properly, and I had to tighten the hinges myself to correct the problem. There are no windows or portholes in any of the guest cabins, and storage space is limited. The doors have slats in them, and some of the other cabin doors had broken or missing slats, so privacy was certainly limited. There are no individual controls for the air conditioning, so once we got used to the temperature outside, our cabin felt like a meat locker.
The diving was very good. It got better as the trip progressed. There are a lot of very nice hard corals in the Solomon Islands. Soft corals are not as plentiful as they are in Fiji. At a site off of an uninhabited island, we were able to dive with large schools of barracuda and jacks. We also saw tuna and several sharks in this area. Disappointingly, the Bilikiki rarely dives WWII wrecks. We had the opportunity to dive a couple of WWII wrecks when we had to make an unscheduled run back to Honiara because one of our dive companions unfortunately got DCS.
Some of the sites had pretty good muck diving. There were quite a number of different flat worms, and I found a number of headshield slugs in the sandy areas. We saw both ornate and robust ghost pipefish, along with pygmy seahorses. We also saw a wide variety of anemone fish, and we saw a few mandarin fish.
Overall, we had a wonderful trip. I would recommend taking earplugs because the crossings are quite noisy, and if you are prone to seasickness you should bring anti-emetics also.
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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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