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Dive Review of Dive Gizo/Uepi Island in
Solomon Islands/Gizo & Uepi

Dive Gizo/Uepi Island, Aug, 2006,

by Dee, AL, US ( 2 reports). Report 2980.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 3 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 3 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments Gizo & Uepi, August 2006

Where to dive when business takes you to Brisbane? The Solomons! Great air connections, DFW/LAX/BNE. We spent a day in Brisbane, then took Solomon Air to Honiera & on to Gizo. The flights offer fantastic views of islands, reefs & sea. The Solomons exist in a different time & we benefited from reading Ples Blong Iumii, local history written by Solomon Islanders. (Guadacanal was in the Honiera area. Kennedy Island, where JFK & PT109 crew survived, is a surface interval near Gizo.)

Allen & Rueben, Dive Gizo divemasters, met us at the Gizo airport and carried our bags to the boat for the short trip to town. The Gizo Hotel remains clean and simple, lovely courtyard around the pool, A/C & fridge, no TV. We had a great view across the main street (sand) to the water. The restaurant is good. Take your own coffee press if you donít want instant. No bugs or mosquitoes, just a few gnats at the bath sink & they were gone with a puff of Off.

Danny and Kerrie at Dive Gizo are wonderful hosts! Theyíve been there for 18 years and will do all they can to accommodate you. We scheduled 3 dives a day for 5 days. All surface intervals are on out-islands with beautiful beaches. Lunch & snacks provided. Our dives had little current and more fish than one could imagine. We did Grand Central Station twice. Jenny at Reef & Rainforest, who arranged our trip, noted Grand Central is one of the best dives sheís ever done, and she was right on the money. We sat at 90 meters at the edge of the wall & watched schools and schools of fish. The school of barracuda covered 150 degrees of our 360 degree view, at least 8 fish deep throughout. The rest of the panorama was schools of fusiliers, trevally, batfish and others. The Tao Maru is great even if youíre not into wrecks, home to a wide variety of fish, critters & corals with many relics of the boat cargo, including a 2-person Japanese tank.

Almost every dive profile started with 30 meters and finished at 10 meters or less, allowing plenty of time to off-gas. We were free to explore the shallows until air at 500 psi, so every dive was over an hour. The dive sites are 10 to 30 minutes away, and the scenery is enchanting. We did several dives near Naru Island & the coral was spectacular. Danny knows when to schedule dives so the current is slack. Heís led efforts to set aside marine preserve areas so sites are pristine.

Thereís an old liveaboard sunk just off Dannyís jetty thatís well worth the shore dive. Water is murky, but thereís a friendly school of batfish, at least 3 lionfish, many pipefish, anemone & clownfish, plenty to see on an easy dive.

We went on to Uepi for another perspective. The resort is on itís own island, which Grant & Jill Kelly have developed over the past 20 years. Itís off the gridóthey generate their own power, all water is rainwater. The grounds are beautiful with lots of orchids and hibiscus. Our private bungalow with covered patio was right on the beach. Lunch was brought to the bungalow, so mid-day surface interval was most relaxing.

The island sits with the Coral Sea to the north and the Morova Lagoon on the other sides, a 30 minute boat ride from the airport. The channel just off the jetties is a great wall thatís your house dive or snorkel. The sharks are friendly and provide great photo ops. Billy Ghizo was a particularly pleasant diveówall off an adjacent island with lots to see at all depths, including a pygmy seahorse, baby batfish, nudiís, sea slugs, lionfish and the biggest eel Iíve ever seen hiding in the rocks. There are plenty of dive sites, including wrecks, within a 30 minute boat ride. Again sites are pristine. There may be some local fishing, but no one else is diving the area, just the 20 guests at Uepi.

We didnít encounter any other Americans on this trip, and we truly enjoyed meeting Australian divers & hearing about where they dive. Weíve heard the Solomons get only about 1500 tourists a year, so you are well off the beaten path. (As with any remote destination, itís thoughtful to email ahead & see if thereís anything you can bring for your hosts.)

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 101-250 dives
Where else diving various places in the Caribbean
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm, noCurrents
Water Temp 84-86°F / 29-30°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 50-80 Ft/ 15-24 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions depth limits
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter 3 stars Boat Facilities 2 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 3 stars Shore Facilities 3 stars
UW Photo Comments No camera rinse facilities at Gizo. Limited at Uepi. Boat crews helpful with camera gear.
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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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