For our last 7 day trip the Bilikiki transformed from a dive liveaboard into a busy research vessel thanks to an international team of 17 scientists from the University of Utah and the Solomon Islands National University. We were blessed with good weather and had sunny days with a refreshing breeze, the occasional rain showers were short.
All we talked about during this trip was sea grass, tunicates, molluscs, and shipworms. The dive deck quickly filled up with samples of wood, sample buckets and lab equipment. The salon and restaurant transformed into a laboratory with test tubes, microscopes and computers. While the divers of the group were collecting and photographing according to their field of interest, others were busy cataloging, dissecting and preserving the found specimens.
We heard a lot of science talk during this trip, along with some English, Portuguese, German, Filipino, Nepalese, Japanese, Chinese and Pijin - what a great crowd of people from all over the world! The village visit to Karumolun gave a welcome and beautiful break to the hard daily science work and on our cruise back to Honiara we encountered a group of sperm whales - one of them breaching! What a way to finish this trip!
The group was extremely satisfied with their findings and rated this special expedition a complete success. Hopefully some of the chemical components they found in the collected animals will one day help to cure the diseases of the world.
A huge thank you to this enthusiastic and fun group, and of course to the Bilikiki crew for catering to all their needs.
With best fishes,
Tina & Oli