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scuba diving in solomons-best and easiest to get to places

seattle
Level Contributor
47 posts
29 reviews
11 helpful votes
scuba diving in solomons-best and easiest to get to places

My dive buddy and I are considering a liveaboard to russel islands and florida islands for 7 nights in the solomons with bilikiki. We will have several days after to dive. any suggestions? Going mid July 2011.

Brisbane, Australia
Level Contributor
72 posts
19 reviews
7 helpful votes
1. Re: scuba diving in solomons-best and easiest to get to places

I'm not a diver, but my husband is, Uepi offers fantastic diving if you like fish and coral - and there are also some wreck dives if you're interested.

seattle
Level Contributor
47 posts
29 reviews
11 helpful votes
2. Re: scuba diving in solomons-best and easiest to get to places

i read your post and we are looking into uepi but they are pretty expensive.

How do you get to the place from Honiara? What is the name of the airline?

Brisbane, Australia
Level Contributor
72 posts
19 reviews
7 helpful votes
3. Re: scuba diving in solomons-best and easiest to get to places

We went to Gizo as well -staying at Sanbis - so we flew to Gizo from Honiara, then to Seghe where Uepi resort picked us up for a boat ride to the resort (approx 40 mins). The airline is Solomon Air. We found that we couldn't book on line, we had to call to get the flights we wanted as the website only has some flight options not all of them!!

Gizo was good too, I really enjoyed Sanbis (especially the wood fired pizzas!!) and there are more accomodation choices, but for diving hubby thought Uepi was much better.

seattle
Level Contributor
47 posts
29 reviews
11 helpful votes
4. Re: scuba diving in solomons-best and easiest to get to places

I appreciate your help. I think we are off to Uepi!!! Thanks. Any other tips? What about mosquitos? malaria etc.

Brisbane, Australia
Level Contributor
72 posts
19 reviews
7 helpful votes
5. Re: scuba diving in solomons-best and easiest to get to places

I must admit that I didn't notice too many mosquitos when we were there, however, Solomon Islands have one of the highest Malaria rates in the world so we did play it safe and take Malaria tablets.

Depending on what (if anything) you like to drink it is worth taking duty free in with you. The airport is very minimalistic - so don't rely on buying duty free there. We enjoyed Sol Brew (local beer) which was reasonable but wine and spirits are a bit expensive. Soft drinks aren't too bad either.

I don't know if you will be spending time in Honiara before your liveaboard, we spent our first night there and hated it (mainly due to a bad choice of hotel) but I can assure you that the rest of the country more than makes up for it!

seattle
Level Contributor
47 posts
29 reviews
11 helpful votes
6. Re: scuba diving in solomons-best and easiest to get to places

we have decided to stay the whole time at uepi. I hope we will have enough dives to do there. Do you recall what type of malaria drug you used?

Did you wear long sleeves and long pants? we go in July. I see you are from Brisbane. We will overnight there coming and going at airport. Any hotel suggestions? Has your husband dived GBR the ribbon reefs on that 5 day boat trip north of GBR? We may do that next...any other suggestions for Solomons. No we will fly into Honiara and fly to seghe that day -same on way back. You are not alone with disappointment in Honiara...we will avoid the place. Buy duty free before we leave in Brisbane, then.

Brisbane, Australia
Level Contributor
72 posts
19 reviews
7 helpful votes
7. Re: scuba diving in solomons-best and easiest to get to places

Does that mean you aren't doing the liveaboard anymore?

There is plenty of diving around Uepi to keep you occupied. Most of the dives Keith did were around the island but there are also other dive sites further away. While we were there they did two full day trips - one to some wrecks a fair distance away (Keith didn't do that one) and one to a mix of sites - a WW2 plane just off Seghe, a Taiwanese boat which has sunk vertically, a sink hole and a reef - if you get a chance Keith said that was aspectacular day of diving. We were there for 7 nights and Keith did 12 dives.

We took Doxycycline - mainly because it is so much cheaper than the other drugs. I was fine with it but Keith had a bit of an upset stomach and nausea for a couple of days at the start.

Clothes wise I wore swimwear and sarong during the day (I spent a lot of time in the water just sitting and watching the fish swim past!!) and shorts with teeshirt or sundress in the evening. Keith spent most of his time in a wetsuit during the day with shorts and teeshirt for the evening. We went October/November. You can really pack light staying at Uepi - no need for anything dressy at all.

Yes, buy duty free at Brisbane. The airport is good for spirits, if you want to take wine you'd be better off at a discount liquor barn if you have the chance (that does mean packing it in your checked luggage though).

Hotel - do you want to stay close to the airport or in Brisbane itself? I can't personally recommend anywhere as I haven't stayed in any Brisbane hotels but I can give you some ideas. What sort of budget were you looking at?

No, Keith has not dived the GBR yet although I know he would love to do a liveaboard at some point. He has only been diving for 6 years and a lot of his diving has been on holiday (Fiji, Vanuatu and Solomons) with Byron Bay as his home dive site.

seattle
Level Contributor
47 posts
29 reviews
11 helpful votes
8. Re: scuba diving in solomons-best and easiest to get to places

where did he dive in FIji? Did he like Vanuatu? No we are not doing the liveaboard as you only get 5 dive days and have to dive like mad (4-5 dives a day) to make it work. We would rather take all the time at one place. We are signing up for 20 dives (it is really only 10 two tank dives which is not a big deal but they count each dive as a "dive".)

Do you start taking the malaria meds before you get there or when you get there? So I do not really need any long sleeved tops and pants (to ward off the bugs)? Did you stay in beach or garden bungelow? How were meals? You have helped me a lot.

I love the S. Pacific. Just wondering how he liked Vanuatu compared to Fiji or Solomons.

We would stay close to airport as flight to Solomons is next day. Comfy but moderately priced hotel is good.

Atlanta, Georgia
Level Contributor
20 posts
491 reviews
419 helpful votes
9. Re: scuba diving in solomons-best and easiest to get to places

I just got back from Guadalcanal and tried various times to get on with Bilikiki Cruises Ltd.... however, they could not guarantee that there would be trip out (weekend or live aboard) if they did not have a full rooster. Thus, I was left in limbo and ultimately did not dive with them... soooooo, if you are planning on using Bilikiki Cruises Ltd. make sure that they have guaranteed that they are going out... it is expensive to get the Solomon Islands and to have them say "so sorry" just isn't good enough. FYI.

Brisbane, Australia
Level Contributor
72 posts
19 reviews
7 helpful votes
10. Re: scuba diving in solomons-best and easiest to get to places

In Fiji he's dived Mamanucas, Yasawas, Bligh Passage, Rainbow Reef, Savusavu and Benq. In Vanuatu, Espiritu Santo (Coolidge and a couple of reef dives), Tranquility Island, Port Vila and Hideaway. I don't think he's had a dive he hasn't enjoyed in over 250 dives!! Solomons (especially Uepi) would have to be the best diving he's done - he certainly raved about it at the time. In Fiji his favourite spots are Bligh and Rainbow although he has a thing for sharks so really liked the Benq experience. He isn't really a wreck diver - fish and coral are more his thing - but the Coolidge was fantastic. He also really enjoyed Hideaway (in Vanuatu).

The Malaria meds we took we started two days before we went, every day we were there and four weeks after. I don't know what the weather's like in July - it's winter -but I would say no need for long sleeves to avoid bugs.

We stayed in a beach bungalow - number 1. It was great, I'm not a diver and a nervous snorkeller but I spent hours in the water just watching fish - the water is unbelievably clear.

Food - not gourmet but you won't go hungry!! Breakfast is cereal, toast and a variety of cooked food (usually eggs, sometimes bacon, baked beans, hash browns - you can choose some, all or none). Lunch is served to your bungalow and is a main course, desert and fruit. Dinner is eaten communally and is soup (pretty ordinary), a buffet which usually includes crab or lobster (occasionally both), a couple of other meats and vegetable dishes, and a dessert. you have tea and coffee in the bungalow plus biscuits in case you need a snack!!

I'll have a look a hotels in Brisbane and get back to you.