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Dive Review of Bilikiki Cruises in
Solomon Islands

Bilikiki Cruises: "Great Diving in the South Pacific", Jul, 2016,

by Thomas W. Doeppner Jr., RI, US (Reviewer Reviewer 5 reports with 3 Helpful votes). Report 9108 has 1 Helpful vote.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments This was my fourth trip to the Solomons, the third on the Bilikiki (I went once on the Spirit of the Solomons, run by the same company). Ownership had changed hands since my previous trip in 2003, but it was still a very well run liveaboard. This was the managers' next to last cruise; the next managing couple were on the cruise as well. Thus we had four very helpful managers.

Diving is mainly from "tinnies", small boats that took you on what were always very short rides to the dive sites. There were always at least two dive guides in the water, often four. If you wanted to dive with them, that was fine -- they showed you great stuff. If you wanted to dive on your own, that was fine as well. When you finished a dive, you simply surfaced, and a tinnie would soon be there to pick you up (the drivers were really good at tracking bubbles). There were 15 or so crew members and, regardless of their nominal function of boat captain, kitchen helper, etc., they all helped out in getting divers into and out of the water -- amazingly good organization.

While there is better macro diving elsewhere, better tropical fish elsewhere, better pelagics elsewhere, etc., they all seem to exist in the Solomons. It's a good place to see a little of everthing (including saltwater crocodiles, which we didn't see, but the previous group did).

My favorite site was White Beach, where in the shallows are archer fish and cardinal fish, with signal gobies, and shrimp/goby pairs in the sand, and octopuses at night.

On Mary Island were bumphead parrotfish and rivers of jacks.

We saw broadclub cuttlefish at many sites. We encountered two different species of pygmy seahorses.

I was a bit disappointed at the dearth of nudibranchs (I'd remembered more on previous trips), but we encountered a fair number on the last two days.

Food was plentiful and healthy, but a bit bland. I've been on boats that have had (much appreciated) espresso machines. On this boat, I decided I'd rather drink tea than their coffee. Beer, wine, and soda were available, but one had to pay extra for them.

They rinsed AND DRIED everyone's gear at the end of the trip.
Websites Bilikiki Cruises   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving all over
Closest Airport Honiara Getting There Using my frequent flyer miles, I flew to Sydney, Brisbane, then Honiara

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, rainy, cloudy, dry Seas calm, choppy
Water Temp 82-85°F / 28-29°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 50-70 Ft/ 15-21 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions No real restrictions, other than the admonition that the nearest chamber was a long ways away
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

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

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 The boat caters to UWPs. The large central table on the dive deck is reserved for cameras. The experienced crew rinsed your camera and carried it to and from the tinnies. If you needed to work on your camera, there were tables indoors available. There was a separate room on the upper deck for charging batteries.
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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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