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Dive Review of SIDE Taka in
Solomon Islands

SIDE Taka: "Solomon Islands aboard the Taka", Mar, 2018,

by Jason Propsner, GA, US (Sr. Reviewer Sr. Reviewer 10 reports with 12 Helpful votes). Report 10192 has 2 Helpful votes.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 3 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 4 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 4 stars
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments This was my second trip to Solomon Islands. First time on the Taka. We flew from SFO and LAX to Nadi Fiji, then onto Honiara. The boat was there to meet us at the airport and shuttled us to a small shore side restaurant to wait 45 minutes until we could board. The boarding was done via zodiac tender. Shoes came off on shore and were stored by the boat in a cobra basket in the salon. They gave us a welcome drink and started the briefing very shortly after boarding.
Once the briefing was complete we were shown to our rooms and helped with setup of our gear. Crew was attentive and accommodating. They had each crew member’s picture and name posted on the wall in the salon so we could easily learn their names throughout the week.
The food was very good. Always served buffet style. Some local Solomon dishes, lots of lamb and chicken recipes. A few seafood dishes, but they always accommodated my no seafood request by providing an alternative to seafood. 6:am early breakfast was continental, then after the first dive we had hot breakfast. Hot breakfast consisted of mostly the same offerings each day with one or two unique items. Every day we had breakfast burritos made with egg, cheese and bacon, beans, toast, sausage and a specialty (one eye toast) egg in the middle of toast covered in melted cheese and sometimes a slice of tomato. Every morning they had handmade bread which was delicious. Lunch was sometimes American style with pizza, tacos and sandwiches. One day we had fish and chips (or in my case, chicken fingers and chips). Dinner was usually accompanied with salad, fresh vegetables grown locally and a protein choice. Desert and snacks were always excellent.
The accommodations need some updating. My room was a large quad bunk to myself, but the mattresses were very thin. Most live aboards now have real mattresses, so maybe I am spoiled. The downstairs room did not have any bathrooms. You needed to climb the stairs and go out on the dive deck to use one of the five bathrooms. If you were sick, this was the worst setup. Every morning we lower deck dwellers would lament at how long we held our midnight pee run until we just had to go. Better mattresses and on suite bathrooms would have made a huge difference in my experience. The upper rooms were modest with on suite bathrooms. No complaints from the upper crust folks. The salon was cool and comfortable with tons of room for our large group to sit, nap and eat. They had a large TV with a camera on the bow of the boat, which was nice since the salon didn’t have any windows.
The diving was fair to good. We saw plenty of small subjects, but on my previous trip we went to more sites and had a better mix of large and small. My previous trip was aboard the Bilikki. Majority of the diving was done from the tenders with a backroll entry and small ladder climb once you handed up your camera and gear. We did a few dives from the mother ship and a few were “Live dives” which mean leaving the main ship by giant stride and pick up with tenders. The safety was very good. Each buddy team was issued a LifeLine VHF and GPS locater. They gave us a pre-dive glass of water and one more post dive. It was cool/cold water that my buddy liked to dump on unsuspecting divers. Quite the wakeup in the morning.
We saw lots of nudi, crabs, worms and small interesting fish, some scorpion fish, friendly turtles and barracuda. We did two night dives and usually 4 dives a day. We did do two land visits. Only one change to buy carvings. The dives included the signature plane wrecks, cuts and swim throughs Solomons are famous for.
Overall the trip was good. If you have never been to Raj Ampat, it will be great diving. The Taka crew was fantastic and made the trip fun with nightly video, lecture and activity for us to learn and socialize.
Websites SIDE Taka   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Indonesia, Galapagos, Caribbean, Florida, Truk, Palau.
Closest Airport HIR Getting There LAX/SFO to Fiji to Honiara HIR

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy, rainy Seas calm
Water Temp 82-86°F / 28-30°C Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility 30-75 Ft/ 9-23 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions No Decompression diving, 60 minutes loosely enforced
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter 4 stars Boat Facilities 4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments All outlets were Australian three prong. Bring an adapter, but boat had a few to loan. They allowed charging in room and also had ample charging in the salon. Air was supplied for drying cases, but wet camera table was small when lots of large rigs were on board. Overall very positive and flexible UWP setup.
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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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