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Dive Review of SIDE in
Solomon Islands

SIDE: "Solomon Islands still pristine", Sep, 2017,

by ANA MARTIN, WA, US ( 1 report with 2 Helpful votes). Report 9816 has 2 Helpful votes.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 4 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 $$ 4 stars
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments The Solomon Islands, due to the small number of annual divers, still has some of the most pristine reefs I have seen in the last 15+ years. It's sort of how the Caribbean was in the 70's. Not many pelagics and we only saw dolphins while motoring between dive sites or between islands, but the variety of fish & the numbers in the schools of fish made up for that. Everything you can imagine! Clowns, nudis, schools of humphead parrots, jacks, lobster, crabs, eels, amazing schools of so many Pacific tropicals...& the corals! In the first 5 minutes of one dive, I counted 14 different kinds of corals...& in abundance. Some of the sea fans were maybe 12 feet across & 6 feet tall. You could hide a group of divers behind them.
It has been a long time since I have said "Wow!" on every dive!
The boat will be going thru some renovations to the cabins & the salon during their maintenance in January. They will be restructuring some of the cabins. There were only 9 divers on my trip so it was super comfortable, but the ideas they have for the reno. will make it better for the smaller & shared cabins. The ladders for their tenders need to be better. This is the one thing I felt needs major improvement.
The staff was excellent & very accommodating & fun to be around. The food was excellent, varied & plenty. Between islands &/or dive sites, they would throw out the fishing poles so we had fresh fish &/or sashimi most days. The villagers would come in their canoes with fresh fruit & vegetables every day practically so we also had a fresh source of that daily...including some local veggies & fruit. And of course, hanging out with the locals is always a great way to get to know the people.
We visited 2 villages...one performed some Melanesian dancing for us & the other was the "carving" village...where all these amazing works of art (some displayed thru the boat) were available for sale.
Back to the diving...Wish we had done more wrecks...since after all, it is Guadalcanal...but we had to change our itinerary due to missing luggage.
Speaking of luggage...I flew out of Seattle to LAX & then to Fiji & on to Honiara. This was the recommendation on numerous sites I googled, since Fiji is easier on luggage restrictions than Australia. Two of us had missing luggage upon arriving in Fiji. We both had to rent gear from the Taka. Their gear is top notch. Fortunately I had my prescription mask & my computer with me in my carry-on. One of my fellow divers got his bag on the day we returned from the trip...My missing gear bag is obviously still traveling somewhere. It has been 25 days as of this writing since I have seen my bag. The trip Director got on it immediately upon boarding with her mainland contacts, so I have to give SIDE alot of credit on this...however...the biggest problem is that none of the airlines want to take responsibility for the loss.
Overall, it was the trip of a lifetime. SIDE is planning on changing their itinerary for 2018 & do 3 months in the Solomons & 3 months in PNG. Can't wait! I will sign for one of these trips
Websites SIDE   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving So many places
Closest Airport Honiara Getting There Thru LAX, then Fiji or thru LAX to Brisbane then to Honiara.

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, dry Seas calm
Water Temp 82-86°F / 28-30°C Wetsuit Thickness 1
Water Visibility 50-150 Ft/ 15-46 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Preferably no more than 60 minutes...but rebreathers had more flexibility
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 Mantas 1 or 2
Dolphins Schools Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 5 stars Tropical Fish 5 stars
Small Critters 5 stars Large Fish 3 stars
Large Pelagics 1 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 Camera table was a little small but then again thee were only 9 divers and 4 photographers.
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Report currently has 2 Helpful votes

Subscriber's Comments

By peter bernsteinin FL, US at Sep 29, 2017 18:34 EST  
Good report Ana !!
By peter bernsteinin FL, US at Sep 29, 2017 18:34 EST  
Good report Ana !!
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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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