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Dive Review of Bilikiki in
Solomon Islands

Bilikiki, Sep, 2003,

by Gregg Gaylord, WI, USA . Report 871.

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 N/A
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 4 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments Another great FATHOMS expedition. 14 days of diving with numerous night dives on the islands of the Solomon chain in the Coral Sea. "Somewhere between Fiji and PNG". Our live aboard was the BILIKIKI. They have excellent service at their web site, and you can contact them without too much difficulty. The business office is located in Western Canada, so expect a "lag" in response. Sometimes they must contact the Solomon Islands to answer your question. However, I STRONGLY recommend you let THEM book your airline flights. Using a travel agent proved somewhat confusing very slightly more expensikive then going straight with the Bilikiki staff. After all, the Biliki is TOTALLY DEPENDENT on you getting to the Solomons. Solomon Air has limited flights. Do not underestimate the difficulty in getting to Honiara, Guadalcanal, the capitol of the Solomons and departure point for the Bilikiki. We flew via Bribane and stayed at the Stamford Plaza Brisbane. EXCELLENT hotel near all the high end shopping and restaurants yet barely more expensive then the cross town Holiday Inn. With the free drinks you can get, the cost difference might be zero. Plus no cab fare to get to the good places to eat.

The Biliki crew/captain/dive masters were excellent. Dive plans were spot on, dive masters were fun, friendly, and extremely willing to show you "the small stuff". Many thanks to Montey and Michelle for the many pygmy seahorses, pipefish, innumerable species of shrimp, nudibranchs, mantas shrimps, crocodile fish, leaf fish, etc, etc, etc, etc!! The soft corals were magnificent. The Russel Islands were among the best sites for Soft Corals, but all of the island chains had something to offer. The tinny drivers and rest of the crew were extremely friendly, good people.

Three island visits were arranged to "meet the local culture" and shop. The natives often came out to barter/visit with us as we docked near remote island shores. See issues of FATHOMS MAGAZINE for a look at these beautiful people.

The boat is in excellent condition. We managed to see a school of Orcas that cruised by our boat and took a liking to the tenders that were dragged behind our cruising ship. Pilot Whales and Dolphins also did their usual "bow" hunting.

Five dives per day were the usual. We had all sorts of types of diving including dives of the back deck when "moored", tinny diving with NO RUSH to get on board or get to the dive sites, and mooring line/anchor line descents for low viz diving on a few wrecks. There were a couple of Japanese transport boats, a few airplanes, and some PT boat station wreckage (trucks, shell casings, barges) that were of interest. But the prime attraction is the macro life and soft corals. This is one place should be on a "must visit once" list.

Nitrox diving was available for a flat fee with 32% fills. Dive times were not usually limited, site dependent of course. The boat did NOT have an air conditioned lounge, which was slightly annoying for some customers, but the cabins were air conditioned offering an "escape" from moderate heat. This is a first class operation. Travel restrictions on the airlines are SEVERE and Solomon Air better figure out a way to get divers to this boat WITH their equipment or, I fear, the Bilikiki operation will end up suffering. The weight limits are very severe and several divers did NOT get their camera gear (and in some cases clothing) for about 6 days. The Bilikiki did their BEST to help us outfox the Air Solomon ticket agents. Also, Bret Gilliam of FATHOMS carried "some weight" with a letter promising increased weight allowances for this "expedition" with FATHOMS. It proved VERY helpful. But BEWARE. The BILIKIKI gives you green laminated cards to attach to your luggage. PUT IT ON EVERYTHING including your CARRY ON.
No TAG means NO ARRIVAL we found out.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Asia, Carib, Florida, Hawaii, Eastern Pacific
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm
Water Temp 80-88°F / 27-31°C Wetsuit Thickness 1
Water Visibility 15-150 Ft/ 5-46 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Restrictions were based on experience of diver and "no decompression" depths.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter N/A Boat Facilities N/A
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments [None]
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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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