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Dive Review of Bilikiki/Spirit of the Solomons in
Solomon Islands

Bilikiki/Spirit of the Solomons, Apr, 2009,

by Lynn Morton, California, United States (Reviewer Reviewer 3 reports). Report 5167.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving California, Alaska, BC, Belize, Hawaii, Fiji, PNG, Indonesia
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm, currents, no currents
Water Temp 84 to 86 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 100 to 30 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions no diving after drinking, no deco
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas Squadrons
Dolphins Schools Whale Sharks None
Turtles 1 or 2 Whales None
Corals 4 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 5 stars Large Fish 4 stars
Large Pelagics 4 stars

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

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities 5 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 5 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments The salon on the dive deck level doubles as the camera room. There are 2 large tables for setting up gear and electrical connections for recharging underneath the tables. Since it was only the 2 of us, we had more room than we could possibly use.

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

Accommodations 5 stars Food 5 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 5 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments This was our 4th trip on the Spirit. My husband had won a trip in a video competition, but I was a paying passenger. We didn't find out until a couple of days before we got on the boat, but we were the only 2 passengers on the boat. We had a full crew of 18 people taking care of our every need. It was extraordinary that they honored our booking and went out with only one actual paying customer. And not once did we ever feel that the service was any less for it.
The diving is really varied in the Solomons, with muck diving to big pelagic dives. Visibility also varies, depending on the site. Some sites were in lagoons with muck and old WWII wreaks and the vis to go with it. But there were also the cool critters to go with it. We also dove Merry Island, their dive for seeing the schools of barracuda and jacks swirling in the blue. Don't know if it was the season or over fishing, but there were fewer big fish than we'd seen in years before.
A few dives really stand out for me. One was at Velvia Reef. We descended to find a trio of cuttlefish, obviously in full courting mode with 1 female and 2 males. It was fascinating to watch the color changes and the 2 males challenging each other for her attention. We left them to it, but came back at the end of the dive to see one of the males win and the actual mating. Afterwards, the male approached me and laid his tentacles in my outstretched hand, blowing gently with his siphon on my palm. Then he allowed me to stroke his belly. It was wonderful. We came back the next day and watched her laying her eggs.
The other dive was called Devil's Highway. We dropped on a reef flat of 25 feet that was being scoured by a 5 knot current. We zoomed along until we came to the wall, then grabbed hold and hung on! We sat there for an hour and 20 minutes and watched a seemingly endless parade of mantas pass by. They were swimming upcurrent, then rising and starting to feed as the current carried them back by us. They passed by us over and over, often within arm's reach. It's a great dive.
The Spirit is a great boat with many crew members that we first met 10 years ago. It was amazing that they took us out, but after we'd traveled that far, it was really appreciated.
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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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