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Dive Review of Bilikiki in
Solomon Islands/Florida and Russel Islands

Bilikiki, May, 2005,

by Ralph Baker, NV, USA (Reviewer Reviewer 6 reports). Report 1748.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Pacific & Caribbean
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm, currents
Water Temp 81 to 85 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 2
Water Visibility 80 to 50 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions none except no alcohol prior to diving
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas 1 or 2
Dolphins 1 or 2 Whale Sharks None
Turtles 1 or 2 Whales None
Corals 5 stars Tropical Fish 5 stars
Small Critters 5 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 No e-6 processing, no compressed air to blow water off cameras

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

Accommodations 5 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 1 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments A one word description would be PRISTINE. This is a fabulous dive destination. Corals are in excellent shape; the soft corals add to the color. A great place if you like the smaller things. Pygmy seahorses, ghost pipe fish, soft coral crabs, barrel sponge crabs (I always thought that was just "accumlated junk", now I know it is a crab!), pygmy manta rays, cuttle fish, crocodile fish, leaf scorpion fish, sand divers, brotulas, nudibranchs, snake eels and more. There is more to see than you can take in on one dive. A magnifying glass or bifocals will really help those of us over 40.
The sharks were small. The black tip sharks are generally in the 3 foot range. I did see one black tip reef shark and one nurse shark that were probably 4 feet long. The turtles are sized like the sharks.
Many wall dives, a few muck dives and some cave/cavern dives. One dive takes you inside the island and you surface with jungle over your head. The WWII wrecks are too deep for recreational divers, although we did dive a Japanese tug and some military hardware dumped by GIs.
On our first few dives we could hear/feel a volcano erupting under water. Not only were there the booms but you could hear the lava crackling like pop corn as it rapidly cooled in the water. That was a first!
You are very much left to your own resources while diving. There was a dive master with every dive, but you may not see much of them. They felt it was their job to find something for everybody and would not take you on a tour. They would point out something that was truly fabulous, and when you were done they had disappeared. They had departed to find something for another diver. One diver did ask them to give her a tour. She was told she could go with them, but it was her job to stay with them not the other way around. Consequently you need to tell them what you want to see. They will find it for you. After that they are gone.
The boat takes on provisions as you travel. This provides a wonderful opportunity to see the locals as they come to the boat in their carved canoes. A couple of divers brought tee shirts and shorts. These were greatly appreciated by those who came to the boat to sell their goods. The advantage for the diver was not only giving something of real value but it left space in her luggage for souvenirs!
The boat is up to the standards of all high end dive boats. You eat outside on the deck. The eating area is covered so when it rains you are protected. They do 5 dives per day from "tinnies." The last afternoon dive is at 5:00p.m. Normally they would move to a new site for each day time dive. The night dive is at 8:00p.m. just after dinner.
There is an Air Pacific flight from LAX to Nadi, Fiji, there you transfer to another plane that takes you to Honiara. No overnight layovers. The disadvantage is it requires 29 hours of continuous travel time from the East Coast. You will stop in Vanuatu. Each stop requires you to deplane and wait in the transit lounge. Keep your passport and boarding pass handy. It is worth the effort!
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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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