Scuba Destinations

 

Solomon Islands

Overview:

The Solomon Islands is a nation in Melanesia, east of Papua New Guinea and consists of nearly one thousand islands.  Some of the most bitter fighting of World War II occurred in the Solomon Islands campaign of 1942–45, including the Battle of Guadalcanal.

Since 1998 ethnic violence, government misconduct and crime have undermined stability and civil society. In June 2003 an Australian-led multinational force, the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands (RAMSI), arrived to restore peace and disarm ethnic militias.  See up to date Foreign Office advice.

Liveaboards are a great way to dive in the Solomon Islands.


Solomon Islands' photo gallery, courtesy Rod Klein, digital artist, photographer, and writer.

What to see:
  • Toa Maru - a Japanese transport ship sunk off Gizo during World War II.  The deepest point of the wreck is by the stern, which rest in 130 feet of water, however the top of the wreck can be reached at a depth of 40 feet. The contents of the ship's 6 cargo holds include saki bottles, ammunition clips, and a tank. However since the sinking the ship has been salvaged removing some of the cargo, and the ship's propeller.
  • Helcat fighter plane - a shallow dive to 30ft; ammunition is still found in its wings. The fighter was
    accidentally shot down (the pilot survived and was rescued) in WW2.
  • Grand Central Station - one of the best known dive sites in the Solomon Islands.  
  • Hot Spot - a small pinnacle, comes up to 5m from the ocean's depths of 300-400m. As the tide changes, pelagics come and feed on the shoals of bait fish that congregate in and around.
  • Solomon Islands - Leru Cut [courtesy of Rod Klein]
  • Leru Cut in the Russell Islands: This site provides one of the Solomons' iconic photo-ops as morning sunlight pierces a chasm in the island. Dramatic streams of light penetrate the jungle canopy, providing for striking available light shots of divers in silhouette. It is basically a cut in the wall that penetrates in for 300 feet and open is at the top revealing the jungle above. The bottom of the cut is 60 feet and the dive is normally done just before mid-day in order to the streams of light just right. The inside wall is covered with fans, soft corals, nudibranchs, and fusiliers, and the wall outside the cut is as good as any I’ve dived over the years.
  • Mary Island: Remote, jungle-clad, uninhabited Mborokua (Mary) Island is about as far off the beaten tourist track as you can get. This extinct volcano lies west of the Russell Islands and is surrounded by deep walls with prolific marine life including barracuda, manta rays and sharks. It is one of those dive destinations that once visited it is never forgotten, Mary Island is notable for an underwater point that commonly hosts massive schools of barracuda and jacks. 
  • Barracuda Point and, like its namesake in Malyasia’s Sipadan Island, there are huge schools of both barracuda and jacks. The difference is that these schools are much larger. One can also leave the depths to explore the coral rubble areas, for here ghost pipefish, leaf fish and shrimp gobies rule.
  • Mirror Pond at Mane Island: This is a wall and point site that has some great shallows with a cave entrance at the rear. Along the front of the wall there is vibrant hard and soft corals with colonies of anthias, humphead parrotfish, white tip reef shark, and cuttlefish. This site is famous for the saltwater crocodile that occasionally resides in the shallow tunnel connecting the reef face to an inner lagoon. But true to its name, Mirror Pond offers mirror like reflection opportunities in the shallows and the tall spur-and-groove surge channels lead offshore to a fairly vertical wall face. Elegantly intact stands of staghorn coral provide refuge for a wealth of Pacific reef critters.
  • Custom Cave: Across the bay from Leru, on the main island of Pavuvu, there are a number of caves along the wall. Most of these lead to dead ends. The entrance to the Custom Cave leads to a 65-foot tunnel that narrows and goes downward then opens out into a large round chamber. There is a hole in the roof where the sunlight filters down in a shaft of light when the sun is high. After you have explored the cave, you can enjoy an exciting wall dive with a big swim-through nearby.
  • Anuha: A shallow dive located in the Florida Islands, it is basically a rubble strewn sandy slope, similar in topography to sites in Lembeh Strait, such as baby batfish, harlequin snake eels and ghost pipefish.

[Thank you to Rod Klein for contributing to this list of sites - excerpts from an article published in EZ Dive Magazine]

Need to know:
  • All dive wrecks in the Solomons are National Heritage sites.
  • Malaria is endemic in the Solomon Islands and Hepatitis A and typhoid also occur.
  • A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travellers coming from infected areas
  • The Solomon Islands are a part of the Pacific "Ring of Fire"; earthquakes, tidal waves and volcanic activity can occur at any time.
Useful stuff:
Language: English is the official language but Melanesian pidgin is widely used
Currency: Solomon Islands $ (SBD)
Time: GMT +11
Climate: Tropical monsoon
Natural hazards: Typoons, frequent earth tremors, volcanic activity
Diving season: Year round
Water temperature: 29C/84F
Air temperature: 26C-79F

South Pacific - Solomon Islands: Latest User Reviews

Medical mission on the Bilikiki  Bilikiki Cruises, Solomon Islands 5 Star Rating Added: 20th April 2013 by wjurewitz
OK, we didn't dive, but we did stay on the Bilikiki for 8 days on a medical mission to Makira Island, southeast of Guadacanal. The Australian dive management couple were superb hosts to the volunteer medical team. The ships's crew was excellent. I have delivered boats now for twenty years...
Great Cruise!  Bilikiki Cruises, Solomon Islands 4 Star Rating Added: 12th January 2013 by funrec
Diving with the Bilikiki liveaboard is highly recommendable as this is one of the best dive operations I’ve ever been on. The boat is pretty basic, but perfectly adapted to diver’s needs. The food is good and abundant and the rooms are OK (no windows, but AC). The dive sites are just...
15 dives with Dive Gizo  Dive Gizo - Adventure Sports, Solomon Islands 4 Star Rating Added: 26th April 2009 by marayman
spent a week in Gizo doing 15 dives with Dive Gizo 5-12 April 2009. paid for 12 dives and they inclued 2 extra dives on a Zero fighter plane near the wharf in 10 meters (33 feet) plus a extra dive on a hellcat fighter plane in 10 metres. Dive...
The magic of Uepi  Uepi Island Resort, South Pacific 5 Star Rating Added: 1st October 2008 by gandt
Uepi is so much more than a dive resort but you have to be a serious traveller to get the most from this remote and laid-back place. It isn't a resort in the true sense of 5 star luxury but having said that it is a magical island with magical...
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