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Dive Review of Bilikiki Cruises in
Solomon Islands

Bilikiki Cruises: "Great time on the Bilikiki in spite of rain", Apr, 2017,

by Alice Ribbens, MN, US (Contributor Contributor 13 reports with 12 Helpful votes). Report 10022 has 2 Helpful votes.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 4 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments We spent 10 days on the Bilikiki as part of a trip with REEF (www.reef.org). As we were all doing REEF surveys, the group asked for longer dives but fewer dives each day, e.g. three 75-80 minute day dives instead of 4 dives limited to 60 minutes. The Bilikiki was happy to accommodate and we even had a few dives with no time limit. The Bilikiki is a comfortable boat. The cabins are all downstairs, with central air on that level. The central air seemed to provide a more uniform cool temperature across the cabins rather than the individual A/C units that are more common. They set up meals with big tables on the deck outside the salon. This worked very well even when we had big rain--they had curtains to set up to protect everyone from the rain. Some people in our group were not happy with the food or the lack of variety in the food. But the Solomon Islands are very remote, probably the most third world place I've ever been. They provision as best they can in town and then supplement with fruits, vegetables and fish that they can buy from villages. Given those circumstances, the food was just fine. The chef also worked really hard to provide options for vegetarians and food allergies.

Diving is done from skiffs ("tinnies"). You can run your own dive or stick with the DM. The reefs are healthy and there was a great variety of fish, although the biodiversity does not seem as great as Indonesia or the Philippines. Because of the weather, we did not get to some of the locations where I understand they often see mantas or other pelagics, but we were happy with the dive sites we visited. The only exception was night dives. We only did a few, but it seemed like night dives were just wherever we were anchored and it was generally hard to find much to make the night dives seem worth it.

The current cruise directors keep the boat on a schedule and are great at working with all of the divers on the boat as well as dealing with all of the issues involved in sorting things out with local villages. They were also fantastic working with the main office to sort out lost luggage issues. When luggage didn't arrive for one woman (Fiji Air), they kept in contact with the main office and Fiji Air to keep tabs on where the luggage was and to arrange to have it transported out to the boat to meet up with us.

They also did "pot" laundry in the middle of the trip--everyone who wanted could throw in a few things at no charge. We didn't participate, but seemed like a nice courtesy.

All in all, I think the Bilikiki is a class act. But it is nontrivial to get to the Solomons (we had to spend the night in Brisbane on both ends) so you need to factor in travel difficulties into your decision to go there.

Websites Bilikiki Cruises   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Komodo, Raja Ampat, Philippines, Maldives, Palau, GBR, Fiji, British Columbia, Monterey, Hawaii, Bonaire, Turks & Caicos, Caymans, Honduras, Belize, Cozumel, Akumal, Sea of Cortez, Lake Superior, etc.
Closest Airport Honiara Getting There from US via Fiji (Fiji Air) or via Brisbane

Dive Conditions

Weather rainy Seas choppy
Water Temp 82-85°F / 28-29°C Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility 30-100 Ft/ 9-30 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Some dives had time limits because they had to move the boat. Others had no time limit. We were told to keep an eye on our no deco limits
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles 1 or 2 Whales None
Corals 5 stars Tropical Fish 5 stars
Small Critters 4 stars Large Fish 3 stars
Large Pelagics N/A

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

Subject Matter 4 stars Boat Facilities 5 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 5 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments I only use a point and shoot, but there were dedicated rinse tanks on the dive deck for cameras. Crew brings bigger camera rigs to the skiffs. There is a great charging room upstairs for charging cameras, batteries, lights, laptops, 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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