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Dive Review of Bilikiki Cruises in
Solomon Islands/Russells, Marovo, Floridas

Bilikiki Cruises: "Major changes in reefs in a decade- Bilikiki still good", Oct, 2017,

by Peggy Goldberg, FL, US (Sr. Reviewer Sr. Reviewer 8 reports with 2 Helpful votes). Report 9980 has 2 Helpful votes.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 4 stars
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling 3 stars
Value for $$ 4 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments It had been nine years since we went on the Bilikiki, and we were looking forward to going back. Making reservations and arrangements with Sam and Kellie were effortless, and they were helpful in answering questions. The Bilikiki is still a good boat, with a tremendous crew, great food, and comfortable tinnies. Wine and beer are extra, unlike most liveaboards. There is no camera room as such, so one uses the table in the salon- but if there are more than a couple of photographers with big systems, they do take it over- so you have to move elsewhere. You have the option of diving 5 dives a day- and Tina and Ollie run a tight ship. Because we did not have full boat, we often had a tinnie to ourselves, and could avoid the crowds.
We were disappointed in the condition of the reefs...a huge difference from almost a decade before. Climate change (water was 2-4 degrees above normal), Crown of Thorns, logging by the Chinese on the islands, coral spawning, and heavy plankton in the water made for very bad visibility and challenging photography. I had lots of trouble focusing on my subjects. Some areas were colorful and beautiful, other areas was rubble. All of the above is not the fault of the boat- it is what it is- all over the world.
The best part of the Bilikiki experience is going to the different villages and interacting with the people, they are amazing carvers and artists.They often canoed to the boat with all their vegetables and fruits- a big market day for the boat every couple of days.
We did see a pod of 30 pilot whales, dolphins, sharks, a whale shark was sighted by the captain, manta, mobula rays,and eagle rays. Lots of nudibranchs, soft corals, fantastic hard corals- some saw an ornate pipefish and mandarinfish. We were very fortunate to see a saltwater crocodile- jammed in a cave near the halocline...we swam below it going into the tunnel, and missed it, but were lucky to swim higher to see it on the way out.
We started out the trip with rainy weather, but after a day or so, it cleared out, and we were lucky to have calm seas and clear skies. We also got to dive sites that the Bilikiki had not been able to go to for a long time, as they have had unfavorable weather.
The first time we went on the boat, we came through Nadi, Fiji to Honiaria, but this time the trip to Brisbane to Honiaria was much better. We did stay in Australia for 4 days before the trip- hired a local guide and toured many areas in the bush.
The crew was at the airport to take us to the boat- and they take you to the airport or hotel after your trip.
Websites Bilikiki Cruises   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving All over the Caribbean, Bahamas, Florida, Hawaii, Socorro, Cocos Island, Fiji, Solomons, Indonesia
Closest Airport Honiaria Getting There LA to Brisbane to Honiaria- Virgin Australia is best way to go

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, rainy Seas calm, currents, no currents
Water Temp 82-84°F / 28-29°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 20-60 Ft/ 6-18 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Everyone on Nitrox- MOD according to percentage- we always had close to 32%.
Most dives at 60 min
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas 1 or 2
Dolphins Schools Whale Sharks 1 or 2
Turtles 1 or 2 Whales > 2
Corals 4 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 3 stars Large Fish 3 stars
Large Pelagics 4 stars

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

Subject Matter 4 stars Boat Facilities 3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments Crew handled cameras to and out of tinnies, placed in fresh water.
Camera table on deck for wet cameras, salon table set up to work on cameras. Charge room on upper deck for batteries, etc.
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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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