For our second leg with guests of the Oceanic Society, Bilikiki started her return journey to Honiara from Gizo. 17 ocean enthusiasts joined us for 10 days of snorkelling, diving, land excursions and whale watching.
Our visit to the protected island of Tetepare in the Western Province was once again very informative. The rangers walked with us through a part of the protected forest and explained the medicinal uses of some of the plants. The island is also a refuge and breeding ground for loggerhead and green turtles. In the lagoon, the rangers caught a female green turtle, the animal was then measured, checked for any injuries, the tags were noted and then it was weighed before being released back into the sea. It came in at an impressive 60kg!
During our crossings we looked for whales and were rewarded with sightings of a huge pod of pilot whales, as well as melon headed whales, different species of dolphins and even a pair of the elusive beaked whales which showed up briefly in Marovo Lagoon.
Our guests enjoyed the extensive snorkel sessions on pristine reefs and were rewarded with sightings of blacktip, whitetip and grey reef sharks and cuttlefish, along of course with a huge variety of reef fish. All our guests were amazed by the extensive hard coral gardens and all their inhabitants.
In the carving markets in Marovo Lagoon, beautiful souvenirs were purchased. Our guests also enjoyed the multiple fruit and vegetables being sold from the locals' canoes. A spectacular village visit in Small Hae in the Russell Islands rounded off a very diverse trip. The villagers performed their traditional singing and dancing for us, and we were then taken on a walk through the island hills to the school, where we were warmly greeted by students and teachers alike. Our very varied trip finished in the Florida Islands with some more beautiful snorkel sessions before we headed back to Honiara.
We would like to thank all our guests for joining us on this trip, some even stayed for both of Oceanic Societies trips! We hope you have enjoyed the huge diversity of the Solomon Islands, in the water and on land. A very big thank you also goes to our incredible crew, who make these trips enjoyable and safe every time.
We wish you a safe trip back to your hometowns!
Tina & Oli
Photos thanks to Tina.