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Dive Review of Spirit of Solomons in
Solomon Islands

November, 2004, an Instant Reader Report by Peter J Maerz, FL, USA (3 reports)
    Report Number 2189
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Visit the Bilikiki -- MV Spirit of the Solomons Website

Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
Over 1000 dives
Where else diving
Bahamas, Bimini, Bonaire, Cozumel, Dominica, Fiji, SE Florida (Home!)
Guanaja (Bay Islands, Honduras), Little Cayman, Papua New Guinea, Saba, St.
Lucia, St. Vincent.
Closest Airport
Getting There

		

Dive Conditions

Weather
sunny  
Seas
calm  
Water Temp
84   to 86    ° Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
5
Water Visibility
0   to 0    Feet  
 
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
yes  
 
Enforced diving restrictions  
NONE  
Liveaboard?
no 
Nitrox Available?
N/A 
What I saw
Sharks
Lots 
Mantas
1 or 2 
Dolphins
Schools 
Whale Sharks
1 or 2 
Turtles
> 2 
Whales
None 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Corals
  5 stars
Tropical Fish
5 stars  
Small Critters
  4 stars
Large Fish
4 stars  
Large Pelagics
  3 stars
 
 
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
5 stars  
Boat Facilities
4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
4 stars  
Shore Facilities  
N/A  
Comments
Large, two-tiered, sheltered Camera staging table on dive deck. Two large,
rubber coated tables for more extensive camera work in salon.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Accommodations
4 stars
Food
5 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
N/A
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  
3 stars  
Snorkeling
N/A  
 
 

Overall Rating

Value for $$
N/A    
Beginners
4 stars   
Advanced
5 stars    
Comments  
DIVE DECK:	Just behind the bow, the covered dive staging area is quite
roomy. 
SALON: Just aft, through a hatch, is the salon with two very large, rubber
coated tables, two extensive charging stations (120 and 240 volts)  and
walls lines with reference books. Each diver was offered the use of a
plastic basket in which to keep camera/battery/computer supplies. 
DINING AREA:At the rear of the boat’s middle deck is a large, covered
dining area with tables for 6, each outfitted with plastic stack chairs.
The open sides are fitted with roll-down plastic sheets for inclement or
windy weather. This is a delightful area for eating or just hanging out and
reading. It was never too hot, and featured two very popular hammocks for
snoozing at the stern. Excellent, varied and abundant food served buffet
style. 
CABINS:  Mine was one of the four single-occupancy cabins, below decks all
the way forward. It was tiny, right in the bow, but with adequate storage
space and a sink. The 4 single cabins share two toilets and 3 showers. 
DIVE PROCEDURE:
SCHEDULE:	7:00am-breakfast, 8:00am-Dive 1, 11:00am-Dive 2, 12:30pm lunch,
2:00pm-dive 3, 5:00pm-dive 4, 7:00pm Dinner, 8:30 or later-night dive.
 RULES:Nitrox users need to analyze their tank before each dive and record
the information on a clipboard, along with max depth after the dive. No
restrictions of any kind on diving.A board with two rows of hooks, one for
“on board” and the other row for “diving” holds tags with each diver’s name
and tank number. An extensive, detailed chalkboard briefing is offered
before each dive, with every conceivable contingency accounted for and
detailed notes on what to find and where to find it. 
ENTRY/EXIT:   Divers’ gear carried to “tinnies” (sturdy aluminum dinghy’s).
Divers’ cameras carefully carried on board. Divers board the tinnies. Once
underway, one of the divemasters helps each diver into her/his gear. Divers
backroll in unison. Two tinnies are always in the water, with one always
hovering about the dive site available within seconds when divers surface.
Fins are handed up, but not gear (unless so desired). The ladder is a bit
challenging, with no substantial handhold topside on the right side, but
the learning curve is shallow. Divers are helped to their seats and their
tanks slotted in the benches for the ride back to the boat, where divers
exit, leaving the crew to haul the gear back on board the spirit and fill
tanks for the next dive. 
STAFF: Grant and Sonia, boat managers and dive masters are a wonder.
Either, or, in most cases, both of them dive every dive, finding lots of
goodies and video-taping the dive. Their enthusiasm is very evident. They
also have a really great camaraderie with the rest of the crew and treat
them as equals rather than employees. 
THE DIVING: Unbelievable.	This has to be the coral capital of the world. I
was blown away by the amazing abundance, diversity and health of the
corals, both hard and soft. There were often huge fields of coral, every
inch packed with healthy polyps, stretching away as far as the eye could
see. Sea fans the size of garage doors. I noticed next to no bleaching. 
	Fish life was equally stunning, especially in numbers. It was common to
come across a veritable river of fish, say 1,000 yellow tails, flowing past
for minutes on end. Tornadoes of Chevron barracuda. Cumulous clouds of
anthias in every color. Bait fish balls descending like fog. Moorish idols,
surgeon fish and all manner of butterfly fish constantly cruising by in
pairs or groups. Pyramid Butterflies by the dozens along the walls.
Countless anemones of all types with their attendant clown fish. Many
encounters with dreamily hovering lionfish, often in pairs, once in a group
of five! We found one baby lionfish with a body the side of a lima bean!
Bumphead ballets with dozens of the lumbering giants expelling huge clouds
of fish poop J . I had an amazing encounter with a “small” (15-20 foot)
whale shark, apparently only the second spotted in years in the area. A
manta ray made a fly-by on one dive. White tip, grey, and black tip sharks
made numerous appearances. Three crocodile fish sightings, one jet black! 

	Exotica abounded. A robust pipe fish ( I still swear it was a leaf!)
showed up. Scores of nudibranchs in a dozen or more varieties, including
doormat size. Lots of gobies guarding their shrimp companion’s work.
Blennies of all types. Hawkfish, Banded Pipefish, pajama cardinalfish,
razorfish, pygmie seahorses. Night dives featureed slipper lobsters, hermit
crabs, decorator crabs, regular crabs and the evil but strangely beautiful
crowns-of-thorns.  
	Reef structures ranged from sheer walls (often at the perimeter of
islands) to pinnacles to gently sloping. The famous Leru Cut is a huge
split in the rock which affords breathtaking lighting with shafts of
sunlight piercing the depths and an opportunity to surface in the midst of
the jungle. Another dive, Mirror Pond, also offers a forest surfacing and
the chance to get a great over/under photo (or up to the canopy from below
the surface as I got). There were some beach dives and a couple of wrecks.
There was not one “dud” among the 56 dives I did and some, especially in
the Morovo Lagoon area, I’ll never forget. 
TOPSIDE: Village visits are a treat with wood carvings and interaction with
generally shy, gentle, welcoming villagers. 
ETC:	Most of the nights were spent anchored in very quiet or flat calm
lagoons. We’d wake up to spectacular island scenery. Only four lengthy
steams, those out and back between island groups and only one of those
somewhat rough. If you’re in the bow as I was, you may find it difficult to
sleep in rough seas and if you’re prone to mal de mer, as I thankfully am
not, so far, you’ll want to bring the Bonine! 
All in all, an amazing trip.
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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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