Bilikiki just returned from another 10 day trip, however this trip was a different one - we went not only diving but also snorkeling, bird watching and whale searching! Our guests were from the UK and they were all led by cetacean expert Dr. Charles Anderson who has been onboard the Bilikiki many times before!
Unfortunately we didn't really have the weather on our side this time for lots of the time, Cyclone Mal was forming when we started the trip and that had an impact on the weather and the sea conditions. However we got to travel up to Santa Isabel province, which was a new area for Dr. Anderson and some of us! During this trip we also visited several villages in the Florida and Russell Islands, where our guests enjoyed traditional singing and dancing, saw some carving artists and fresh produce at the food markets. We also had the chance to do a nice walk around in Buala, Santa Isabel, what a beautiful place!
On our search for cetaceans we had several encounters with spotted dolphins, spinner dolphins and Indo-Pacific and common bottlenose dolphins. We were also able to have a glimpse of two beaked whales, several Omuras, an elusive pygmy killer whale and a couple of dwarf sperm whales. The most special encounter though was with three killer whales, with whom we stayed for more than 45 minutes. It was just magic!
Our bird watchers also had a great time, they were able to spot 50 different species of birds! Some of the birds they saw were quite special and included the moustached treeswift (editors note - there’s a picture below if you are curious, not as Tom Sellick as I was hoping but still pretty impressive), Nicobar pigeon (perhaps more Tom Sellick like really), the red knobbed imperial pigeon, the providence petrel (extremely rare in these parts of the world!), the nankeen night heron, the Sanfond's (Solomon's) sea eagle, of course the Blyth's Hornbill, the beautiful beach kingfishers, the eclectus parrots, the white billed crow (only known from Guadalcanal, Choiseul and Santa Isabel!), the long tail myna, the brown winged starling and the singing starling! What a show!
The diving and the snorkeling sessions were also very much appreciated by our guests. Who cannot fall in love with the beautiful underwater world in the Solomon Islands? All those reef fish everywhere! And those super healthy coral reefs and gardens!
What a trip it was!
It was really nice to have everyone onboard and we hope we will see you again soon for more adventures! A big thanks to Dr. Charles Anderson for bringing another group and for all his knowledge!
A big thank you, once again, to our incredible crew for their continuous hard work, for taking such good care of all of us and for making this Bilikiki experience an unforgettable one!