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Dive Review of Spirit of Solomons/Bilikiki in
Solomon Islands/Florida, Russel, Morovo

July, 2006, an Instant Reader Report by Michael Emerson, MN, US
Contributor   (13 reports)
Report Number 2603
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
101-250 dives
Where else diving
Fiji, Burma, Palau, GAlapagos, Cayman, Cozumel, Costa Rica, Austrailia
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

Water Temp
83   to 84    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
50   to 150    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Dive the computer  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  5 stars
Tropical Fish
5 stars  
Small Critters
  4 stars
Large Fish
3 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  
As good as any place I have been.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
4 stars
4 stars
Service and Attitude
4 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  
5 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
3 stars   
5 stars    
Logistgics--Getting to the Solomons is half the fun.  Pat at Reef &
Rainforest was a real asset in putting this altogether.  We were booked to
go through Fiji and arrive into Honiara on Thursday morning and then we
were notified that the flight from Fiji to Honiara was no longer available.
 Pat was able to get Air Pacific to refund our non-refundable flight (even
though the cancellation was not their own doing) and rebook us through

The Boat--The Song of Solomon was one of the more functional liveaboards
that I have been on.  The boat only had four passengers for the 12 days
that we on board so it is a little hard to imagine what it would be like
with a full load.  All of us had our own room and the accommodations were
roomy and comfortable.  I had the largest bed that I have had on a
liveaboard and it was well cooled (the rooms downstairs were definitely the
coolest even though they didnt have an outside window).  The boat had very
minimal means of communicating with the outer world, so its a tough time
for anyone that needs that occasional fix of family and civilization.  An
Iridium satellite phone was available but quite expensive.

Some of the crossings at night got a little rough although no one on the
boat got seasick.  The food was good though not spectacular.  Definitely a
step down from the Naia where I spent a week last year. Much of the food
was purchased from a daily market that arrived at our boat on a daily
basis.  The last night we had a great lobster fest.  Our hosts, Kellie and
Sam, were pleasant and attentive and I think that everyone had a pleasant
time on the boat while out of the water.

The Dive Operation --  Everything was well organized and all dives left
right on time.  Diving was done from tinnies which carried us on a 2 to 5
minute commute to the dive sites.  We were left to dive according to our
computer and we were left to manage bottom time with minimal supervision. 
One or two divers often stayed considerably longer and no pressure was made
to keep them within the one hour time window.  Pickup was great and most
dives ended with a tinny waiting to pick us up within a few seconds after

The setup for photography was very good.  The dive staff took very good
care of my camera, making sure that it was secured in the tinny before we
left for the site.  They always washed it in fresh water and dried it off
for me so that I could download photos and see my photos right away.  There
was a great table for organizing the photography gear.

The Diving--For coral reef lovers, this is equal to any diving that I have
been on in the world.  Although it lacked some of the spectacular purple
and red coral of Fiji, the hard coral was almost always very healthy and
covered with tropical fish and critters.  The 12 day itinerary covered four
primary areas:
The Floridas--Twin Tunnels was very nice with an entrance around 45 feet
and an exit out the side at 110.  The Mavis Seaplane is a well preserved
Japanese seaplane that was covered with growth.
The Russell Islands---Rainbow Reef was the best site and maybe one of the
best sites that I have ever dove.  Lots of fish life with a handful of
sharks to parade around the perimeter.  A Solomons Island signature dive is
Custom Cave where a light in the celing allows sun rays to filter down into
the cave like a scene from a sci fi movie.  Amazing.  We dove three times
at White Beach, the dump yard for American equipment after WWII.  In
addition to interested war wreckage, we saw a mantis shrimp, archer fish,
and lots of exotic crabs and shrimp.  A photographers delight. 
Mary Island--The diving here was quite different than other places that we
went on the boat.  An isolated island halfway between the Russells and
Morovo, it offered big schools of fish, a handful of sharks on every dive,
and a collection of other big animals.  It wasnt Cocos, but did offer
enough big fish action for all of us who got tired of Angel fish and
Morovo Lagoon. These sites are only visited on itineraries of ten or more
days.  The above water views are spectacular.  Most of dives are along
passages that flow water into and out of the lagoon on a tidal schedule. 
Kicha Corner was beautiful with sharks, turtles, and a school of massive
bumphead parrotfish.  Lutens Walls was also very good with lots of sharks,
turtles, and schooling fish.  We saw pygmy seahorses at Lagoon Point.  We
got great pictures of the elusive mandarin fish at Mbilili Shallows.  The
last dive in the area at Wickham Island was soft coral that rivals any
Fijian dive site.

All in all this was a great trip.  Although this was my longest liveaboard
with 12 nights (I did 49 dives), I never felt bored and  would recommend
that individuals considering this locale go for at least the 10 day
itinerary--anything shorter would miss some of the great sites.  We also
had several nice chances for village visits.

Although we did not use any anti-malarial drugs, I would recommend it as a
prudent precaution.  The Solomons have the highest incidence of malaria in
the world.  Ample bug spray was always available, but another level of
protection would not hurt. 
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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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