Dec 5 - Dec 15, 2017 - One of the newer divers on our latest trip commented to me that it was funny how everyone spends hours looking for little slugs and shells underwater when no-one ever crawls around their garden looking for things in a similar fashion. While we are used to the variety of life on land, coral reefs offer an amazing array of new things for us to see. One of the things I love about diving is how it can bring on a child like sense of wonder about even the smallest things, I guess seeing a spectacularly coloured tropical fish at 60 is much the same kind of experience as seeing a butterfly at 5!
As I guess everything can be interesting if viewed in the right way a list of highlights could get long so here are a few of the more conventional highlights of the trip….
It is great to see the coral so healthy in so many spots! Lologhan, Kicha, Mbulo and Karumolun were among some of the really amazing spots for hard corals. Karumolun was especially great to see for me having seen it badly damaged by crown of thorns just 5 years ago! The fish life there is also even more amazing there now that Chief Raymond has not allowed fishing for a couple of years.
Leru Cut was as beautiful as ever. Mary Island offered a couple of fantastically fishy dives with the barracudas out in force. Twin Tunnels had walls of fish and patrolling sharks. Malemale was a blur of yellow soft coral and schooling fish. A couple of us even saw a crocodile swimming under the mooring line at Mary, I am not sure wonder was my most prominent emotion there though.
There were some good critter sightings too with robust ghost pipefish, some great nudis, mantis shrimp, archer fish, black ribbon eels, some fun cleaner shrimps and even a species of pipefish I had never seen before hiding under a WW2 landing craft.
The village visits were fun with Karumolun village putting on quite the show with their new PVC panpipes! The carving villages were popular too and some of the detailed work was just amazing. I was lucky enough to get “staff” prices on the couple of things I bought, that seemed to be about 50% more than normal.
The only negative was Deirdre and Andy having to leave us early but it was great to see Deirdre fully recovered on our return to Honiara and the evacuation was masterfully handled by Tina, Oli and the crew.
A big thanks to the 18 American and 1 French guest who joined us for this trip, it was fun spending time with you all and we hope to see you back soon. A big thanks to Charles for his singing, Deirdre for the helicopter excitement and Karen for the extra yuan income from the sun lounger hire.
And finally a big thanks to Tina and Oli, all the crew and the wonderful land support team for making such a great trip happen, it is highly appreciated.