Another 10 day trip (November 27-December 7, 2023) has just finished onboard Bilikiki, this one was the last of the three whale watching trips we had this season with Dr. Charles Anderson. Mark Carwardine was also onboard again and their guests came from different parts of the world: France, Australia, Dubai and the UK.
During this trip we had some very different weather conditions. We started off with sunny days and flats seas, and got amazing encounters with sperm whales those days. However the last days of the trip were impacted by the appearance of tropical cyclone Jasper providing us, unfortunately, with heavy rains and strong winds. It was a tropical adventure!
Despite the last days of bad weather we had several great encounters with spinner dolphins, Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins and pantropical spotted dolphins. In the Western Province, Risso's dolphins were happy to play hide and seak with us, and we even got lucky and spotted a shy pygmy killer whale and an even shyer dwarf sperm whale. The highlights on the whale watching side were definitely the sperm whale encounters and the sight of the very rare and special Blainville's beaked whale.
Also up in the Western Province we took our guests on a wee walkabout around the village of Peava and the carving and fresh markets were a big success! Visiting Roderick's Bay, in the Floridas was also a hit, the ladies performed a great show and interacting with the locals was really nice.
We had several guests into bird watching again, they were able to account for 33 different species! Here's few of them that we hadn't seen on our previous trips: eastern reef egret, metallic starling, eastern osprey, beach stone curlew, red footed bobby, white terns and the Sahul sunbird.
And of course the water sessions were, as always, a great experience for everyone! Divers and snorkelers were happy to learn about (and see) the different species of anemone fish that can be found in the Solomon Islands. Watching the archer fish in the mangroves was a hit too, as were the moray eels, the octopuses, the squids, the soft coral crabs, the bumphead parrotfish, the long jaw mackerels, the barracudas, the grey reef sharks, the mobula rays, the blue spotted rays, the butterfly fish and the 5 ornate ghost pipe fish, amongst many others! No wonder everyone loved it so much!
We would like to thank all our guests for choosing to spend their holidays with us, it was really nice to have all of you onboard and we hope to see you all again soon! We would also like to thank Charles and Mark for joining us and bringing their groups, we look forward to having Charles back onboard next year for more whale watching adventures!
A big thank you, once again, to our amazing crew for their continuous hard work, for taking such good care of all of us and for making this Bilikiki experience an incredible one!
A hitchhiker after the strom