Once again Bilikiki is back in Honiara after 10 days (Nov 25-Dec 5, 2017) of diving the Solomons. This time, our 20 guests came from the USA, Denmark, and Japan. And once again, the diversity of the dive sites amazed our guests, from the beautiful cuts and caves, the stunning coral gardens, the pristine walls, the "muck"-like critter dives and the wrecks from WW2. In Mary Island the barracudas and jacks were out in their hundreds, it was like swimming in fish soup! In Marovo lagoon, Kicha was once again a highlight with pristine coral and schools of snappers and barracudas, while the rumbling underwater volcano of Kavachi gave us the appropriate background sound track. The WW2 dump site in White Beach was full of critters like signal gobies, jawfish, and nudibranchs, and a stunning juvenile pinnate batfish was hiding in the shallows. Many of our guests had never seen pygmy seahorses before, so they were amazed by the sight of these tiny little beauties.
We finished our trip in the Floridas with some sharks and and an eagle ray in Petrol Point, followed by the always popular critter dive at Maravagi, where we saw octopus, cuttlefish, golden gobies, nudibranchs, pipefish, shrimpfish and saddleback clownfish, amongst others.
Once again our thanks go out to all of our guests for visiting us and to the hard working Bilikiki crew for another great trip!
Best fishes and see you again,
Tina & Oli
On our last 10 day cruise (Nov 11-Nov 21, 2017) we were joined by 14 divers from the USA, Canada and the UK. We could not have asked for better weather with bright sunny days and flat sea conditions, once again the Solomons did not disappoint above or below the surface!
We started off in the Russells with a superb dive at Leru Cut, where the light from above entered the cut like laser beams. Mary Island just keeps surprising us - after a wonderful dive with the huge school of jacks and barracudas our captain yet again spotted 4 orcas in the distance! We headed out in the tinnies and even if they kept their distance it was still amazing to observe these magnificent animals in the wild!
Kicha and Mbulo were on the list of favourites for our guests with their pristine hard corals and two curious silvertip sharks. Devil's Highway kept us waiting until the afternoon for the right current conditions but we were then rewarded with 6 manta rays feeding right in front of us - smiling faces all around! For the critter lovers we saw pygmy seahorses, jawfish, mantis shrimps, ribbon eels, nudibranchs, and flatworms, amongst many others.
The village visits to the wood carvers and the beautiful performance of singing and dancing in Karumolun were enjoyed just as much as each other.
Once again the Solomon Islands showed their best side with a huge diversity of sites and marine life - a little bit of everything for everyone! We would like to thank all our guests for diving with us and a big thank you goes to the Bilikiki crew for all their hard work.
Bilikiki's latest 10 day cruise (Oct 31-Nov 10, 2017) was all about whales and dolphins. We were joined by 19 nature enthusiasts under the expert guidance of Dr Charles Anderson from the UK. The mission was to find and observe cetaceans here in the Solomons and we were not disappointed. The days were spent with one or two snorkel sessions in the mornings and afternoons while the rest of the day we were out in open ocean trying to spot whales and dolphins. Dr Anderson gave us some very informative presentations about the different species in the evenings too.
The weather could not have been better with hot sunny days and flat calm seas. Armed with binoculars and cameras we quickly spotted big pods of spinner and spotted dolphins. The huge school of pilot whales, which we had already seen on our previous trip, was waiting for us in Mary Island. They approached the boat curiously and stayed around for a couple of hours - beautiful! During our crossing from Mary to Marovo Lagoon we came across an incredible sight: hundreds of spotted dolphins, mixed with melon headed whales and Fraser's dolphins as far as we could see! What a spectacular sight! We decided to go even closer with the tinnies and hung on to the ropes with mask and snorkel to get an underwater view of this impressively huge group. There were whales and dolphins everywhere!
Another incredible sighting was a group of at least 9 massive sperm whales that were slowly cruising past. They became curious at the sound of the Bilikiki and were very fortunate to have them around the boat for more than two hours!
We had wonderful sightings every single day and the total number of different species came to an incredible 15 in the end, including dwarf sperm whales, 3 different species of beaked whales, pygmy killer whales and again 2 orcas - the trip exceeded all of our expectations!
We would like to thank Dr Anderson and all our enthusiastic guests for this wonderful experience, we hope to see you all again soon! A huge thank you also goes to our fabulous Bilikiki crew especially our captains Alan and Joe, who seem to have eyes in the back of their heads, for some amazing sightings and for bringing us as close as possible to these magnificent animals.
November 1st - 4th Bilikiki Cruises is exhibiting at the DEMA show 2017 in Orlando. We are located in booth #2128. Kellie Oldfield and Sam Leeson will be there talking all things Solomon Islands and Bilikiki. Please drop by and say hello, we would love to see you
Bilikiki's last trip took 16 divers around the Solomon Islands over 14 days (Oct 17-Oct 31, 2017). We were blessed with beautiful weather and calm sea conditions for most of the trip. Even with a reduced visibility due to massive coral spawning we still managed to do some incredible dives with amazing sightings.
All of the highlights are hard to list but some of them included a feeding manta ray, barrel rolling in front of us and joining us again on the following dive, eagle rays and mobula rays, some good shark action on several dives and as usual all the little, incredible critters. The critters this time included robust and ornate ghost pipe fish, some pygmy seahorses, twin spot gobies, and a variety of nudibranchs. Kicha was certainly another highlight with a school of 14 huge bumphead parrott fish coming over the reef like a herd of buffalos.
Mary Island had a surprise waiting for us again: after some great dives with the schooling jacks and barracudas the crew spotted a pod of pilot whales in the distance. We went out in the tinnies to get a closer look and there were more than 30 of them, including some babies - what a treat to see them up close! Topside, the village visits and wood carving markets impressed our guests, as did the many canoe markets in the Russells and Floridas.
We would like to thank all of our great guests for coming and experiencing the Solomons with us, and a big thank you goes to the Bilikiki crew for all their hard work!
With best fishes,
Tina & Oli
Pilot Whale photos thanks to Stacy Sadler
Underwater ones thanks to Jayne Morris
Bilikiki is back in Honiara after a 10 day trip (Oct 7-Oct 17) of a different kind, this time we hosted a group of 19 enthusiastic snorkelers from the USA and Canada all traveling with Wendy Simon from Snorkeling Etc. It was a great opportunity for us scuba divers to look at the reefs from a different angle, especially with the warm and sunny weather.
Every day we snorkeled the reefs in two or three long sessions. The group was amazed by the stunning coral gardens of Mbulo and Karumolun, with their clouds of colorful reef fish everywhere. Swimming into Leru Cut with a banded sea crate hanging from the steep wall on the surface was certainly an "Indiana Jones" moment! We spotted a multitude of critters from cuttlefish to different nudibranchs and the blacktip sharks in Karanjou excited everyone. Our trip finished in the Floridas with a beautiful morning snorkel session at Maravagi with headshield slugs, pipefish, snake eels and juvenile golden spade fish. We saved the best for last though with an adrenaline filled experience with 8 manta rays feeding in the current at Devil's Highway - what a way to finish!
Our thanks go out to all our guests for having a fun visit with us here in the Solomons and to all the Bilikiki crew, many of whom joined us as snorkel guides and critter spotters during this trip. You all did great!
With best fishes,
Tina & Oli
On our last 10 day trip (Sep 26 - Oct 6) Bilikiki took a group of 13 divers from Denver Divers in Colorado and an Australian couple around our favourite bits of the Solomon Islands.
Once again we were blessed with good weather and incredible sightings. The diving was superb with schools of jacks and barracudas at Mary Island and some exciting shark action in Marovo Lagoon and the Russells. Luck was on our side with schooling mobula rays and, after an adrenaline pumping drift across the reef plate in Devil's Highway, we were rewarded with a fantastic show of 10 manta rays feeding in the current right in front of us for more than an hour. Even a saltwater crocodile showed up briefly in Mirror Pond!
We also spotted some amazing critters during this trip like pegasus sea moths, spiny devils, robust ghost pipefish, snake and ribbon eels, and even a lonely seahorse in the sand! Simply incredible!
Our guests also enjoyed the interaction with the local villagers during the canoe markets and the village visits, the panpipe music in Karumolun had everyone clapping along.
Another beautiful trip comes to an end and we would like to thank all our guests for being great company and coming to dive with us. Hope to see you again soon!
A big thank you goes once again to the incredible Bilikiki crew for their professionalism and hard work.
With best fishes,
Tina & Oli
September 16-26, 2017
During this 10 night trip we had mostly amazing weather, great dive conditions and flat seas for our crossings. We also had a great crowd onboard led by Cathy Church, it all added up to a fantastic trip!
With the sun shining brightly we had stunning dives at sites such as Leru Cut and Mbulo Caves, the light rays streaming through these sites was like something out of a religious painting! The coral gardens at Mbulo Canyons, Kicha, Kisan and Lologan were too beautiful for words with an amazing array of colourful coral and tropical fish. At Maravagi Bay divers were treated to a real show by 13 mobular rays swimming slowly in formation right past everyone. After that it was difficult to concentrate on the numourous macro subjects at the dive site but we saw headsheild slugs, nudibranchs, angry panda anemone fish, razorfish, juvenile batfish and cuttlefish. Not to be out done by the mobular rays at least 5 different mantas turned up at the Devils Highway to entertain the divers for over an hour too!
We had some amazing cuttlefish action on this trip with lots of activity at Karanjou, males were fighting over females while the females laid eggs in the surrounding corals. Other dive sites saw a variety of marine life including banana nudibranchs laying eggs, numerous robust ghost pipefish, a few differently coloured spearing mantis shrimps, octopus, pygmy seahorses, crocodile fish and various beautiful tropical fishes.
We were joined by Cathy Church for her second straight trip, she helped everyone onboard improve their photo skills by giving short lectures and personal photographic advice. On the last night Cathy put together a slideshow of everyone’s top shots and the results were stunning. Well done everyone!
A big thank you to Tina, Oli and all of the hardworking Bilikiki crew for looking after us and showing us around the Solomon Islands. I can not wait to be back!
On our last 11 day trip we were joined by 14 photo enthusiasts under the expert guidance of Cathy Church, one of Bilikiki's favourite guests for many years! Cathy advised her guests on improving their photo skills by giving short lectures and personal photographic advice.
The photographers were especially interested in the small critters around the different dive sites and they were not disappointed. We saw enormous banana slugs, hairy squat lobsters, pygmy sea horses, beautiful headshield slugs, cuttlefish displaying their colours, mantis shrimps, signal gobies, elegant squat lobsters, ribbon eels and robust and ornate ghost pipe fish. And that is only to mention a selection of what we saw!
Mbulo Caves in Marovo Lagoon was magical with light beams coming in at different angles, it gave plenty of photo opportunities for wide angle shots. The stunning hard coral in Mbulo Canyons left our guests in awe, as did the magnificent giant sea fans along the walls. Mary Island impressed again with a school of bumphead parrott fish and a big school of jacks, all under perfect sunny conditions.
There was again something for everyone! It was a beautiful trip, blessed by wonderful weather and calm seas. We would like to thank everyone for joining us here on the Bilikiki and are looking forward to diving with you all again! A big thank you goes again to the hard working Bilikiki crew for their professionalism and great spirit. We are happy that Cathy will stay with us for another great trip, so stay tuned for the news!
With best fishes,
Tina and Oli
Bilikiki has returned to Honiara after another exciting 11 days of diving the Solomons. 19 divers from Undersea Expeditions joined us on this trip, and they brought us luck. We had beautiful weather and good visibility throughout the trip. In Mary Island we swam with big schools of jacks and barracudas, and in Kicha we encountered schooling snappers, jacks, bat fish, huge turtles and a curious sea snake. We also saw quite a few sharks along the way, and Taikulum surprised us with two manta rays and four spotted eagle rays. The macro lovers enjoyed the multitude of critters from pygmy seahorses to signal gobies, mantis shrimps, nudibranchs, pipefish, and ribbon eels.
Some of our guests celebrated diving milestones with their 300th and 500th dive respectively, and on the 31st August we had a fun "South Pacific" party to celebrate 3 birthdays! Once again, congratulations to Christopher on his 50th, to Lance on his 60th, and to Bill on his 64th birthday!
Our thanks go out to all of our guests and to all the Bilikiki crew for their hard work and professionalism.
See you all next time.
With best fishes
Tina & Oli