Bilikiki – space and comfort in a diver’s paradise
Bilikiki Cruises is the premier dive liveaboard in the Solomon Islands offering a wide variety of dive sites. The Bilikiki Liveaboard has a variety of itineraries from 7 to 14 nights, which can include the best dives sites in the Florida Islands, Russell Islands, Mary Island and Marovo Lagoon in the New Georgia Island Group.
Accommodation & Facilities
The MV Bilikiki Liveaboard is 40m (125ft) long and 24 ft. wide, making it a very large and stable ship, designed for South Pacific conditions. The Bilikiki is only one of only two liveaboards that offer trips in the Solomon Island waters. It offers a large sundeck, plenty of covered areas and air-conditioned cabins, as well as spacious dive decks, charging stations and plenty of camera areas.
The cuisine is superb, blending western recipes with Pacific island flavours and fresh fruits and vegetables are purchased daily from friendly villagers en route.
You’ll find the crew are very experienced and really enthusiastic.
Bilikiki’s very comfortable boat provides excellent service, a great cross-section of the different dive regions of the Solomon Islands and a fascinating introduction to the island cultures and their people. This cruise is well suited for beginner divers and anyone who enjoys traveling and diving in the South Pacific.
Bilikiki itineraries depart from Honiara. Their 7 night trips generally visit 3 main island groups within the Florida Islands and Russell Islands. Each of these island groups consists of dozens of islands and a great variety of dive sites. They also include dives at the isolated island known as Mary Island.
The longer 10-night trips may also include Marovo Lagoon in the New Georgia Island Group.
MV Bilikiki has 10 deluxe cabins, eight with a double bed below and single above and two with twin beds and no bunk. All have private showers and toilets, though none of the cabins has windows.
A well-trained crew of eleven plus two managers will load tanks and prepare all gear for the next dive. Diving is conducted from Bilikiki’s two 6m (21ft) aluminium dive tenders which drop divers exactly on the dive site and pick them up wherever they may surface, so there is never a need for long swims or fighting currents.
The dive sites are suitable for beginners as well as well as advanced divers, who can team up in buddy pairs or enjoy guided dives. There is plenty of space on board to store camera gear safely. Large tables are ideal photo workbenches. TV’s and DVD’s allow for quick viewing of your ‘harvest’. Power throughout the ships is 240V, using Australia style 3-prong outlets. There are also plenty of American style 110V 60 cycle outlets for charging cameras, strobes, dive lights, etc. Nitrox is available.
What makes Bilikiki’s itineraries unique are the variety of the seascapes you’ll encounter. Brilliant soft and hard corals, huge sea fans, and plenty of caverns and swim-throughs into and outside of island lagoons – some surfacing in freshwater pools.
If you want a first hand account of what a trip on the Bilikiki is like read our guest bloggers post. It’s brilliant!
The walls, reefs, pinnacles and coral gardens of Solomon Islands support an amazing variety of marine life. Within a small space, anemone fish, angel fish, butterfly fish, bumphead parrotfish and other reef dwellers can be seen individually or in schools, in in the nearby blue water, schools of barracuda, big-eye trevally and other pelagics cruise by. Bilikiki also dives the ‘Devil’s Highway’ which is great diving for manta lovers.
Though the Solomon Islands were the location of some of the most violent fighting during WWII and the wrecks of warships, freighters and planes literally litter its seabed, Bilikiki does not offer deep or penetration wreck diving, and visits just a few of the WWII wrecks in shallow waters. Most are now an artificial reef and offer something more akin to muck diving.
The 28-30°C (82-85°F) water temperatures, along with stable weather patterns contribute to excellent diving all year round.
On all its itineraries, Bilikiki visits local villages which offer the change to see a cultural performance, or the opportunity to purchase some of the beautiful handmade carvings (all without missing any diving).
The Solomon Islands has an amazing array of varied, rarely visited dive sites. Bilikiki Cruises does not have a fixed itinerary for dive sites but goes to the best spots possible for the conditions and the interests of our guests.
During a 7 night trip we visit the Russell Islands, Mary Island and the Florida Islands to dive the stunning reefs of these areas. We also visit a village to see custom singing and dancing and to see traditional life.
On a 10 night or longer trip we also visit the Marovo Lagoon area of the Western Province. On the longer trips the Bilikiki will stop at other villages to see the famous wood carvings of the area. Here you will have to chance to see and buy hand made carvings and other amazing traditionally made items.
Village visits are arranged during the surface intervals so as not to effect the number of dives offered per day.
We offer 4 day dives and a night dive and although there is no fixed itinerary here is an example of some of the dive sites which we normally do if the conditions allow.
A channel back into Leru Island forms a breathtakingly beautiful reef formation which when dived at the right time of day has amazing beams of light and fantastic photo opportunities. Surface at the end and see the vine covered cliffs and jungle before descending and exiting onto a sheer wall of fans and soft coral.
The site of an American WWII base where trucks, bombs and ammunition was dumped into the sea. Both a fascinating historical dive and a fantastic macro site in an unusual mangrove location.
A stunning pond reflecting the jungle overhead. Outside on the reef is a sheer wall where snappers and travelly hunt and pygmy seahorses hide in gorgeous gorgonian fans. The shallows host a stunning coral garden where crocodile fish, cuttlefish and anemone fish live.
The chief of Karumolun Island has banned all fishing and collecting on this dive site for five years creating a local marine protected area. This point has great soft coral, a big school of jacks, barracudas and lots of sharks, often eagle rays are seen here too. The macro side of this dive site is fantastic as well with disco clams (electric file shells), nudis, cuttlefish, crocodile fish and ghost pipefish among the things seen.
Divers often refer to Mary Island as the “best” dive of a trip. It is an uninhabited island with a stunning amount of hard corals and fish life. The schools of fish are amazing here especially when joined by sharks, turtles and bumphead parrot fish. We usually stay here for the whole day.
This large sea mount, in the middle of the channel between Guadalcanal and the Florida Islands, has two tunnels which drop vertically straight down from 12m and exit in a cave at 35m. Swimming out of the cave to the sheer wall there are schools of fusiliers with grey reef sharks cruising by. It is also home to some amazing coral, cuttlefish, octopus and mantis shrimp plus schools of snapper, tropical fish and an amazing array of anemone fish.
The best place in the Solomons to dive with manta rays. A channel between two islands funnels water to form a strong currents and an adrenaline filled dive. Drift along the reef top, duck under the reef wall and watch as up to a dozen mantas swim close by in formation to feed. They are often joined by sweetlips, jacks and bumphead parrotfish.
A macro divers delight! A calm protected bay offering all sorts of great macro subjects such as nudis, demon stinger, scorpion fish, cockatoo wasp fish, various pipefish, cuttlefish, juvenile batfish, various anemone fish, shrimps and crabs. Plus a few of giant clams and a small wreck packed with batfish and bream.
Japanese Mavis Seaplane
A Japanese seaplane sunk during WW2 which sits upright on the bottom at 30m, it is an impressively large, mostly intact plane. This site is also excellent for macro subjects with reef top pipefish, twin spot gobies and spine check anemone fish.
Marovo Lagoon Area
Not only is this dive site a truly stunning example of hard corals and sea fans, it is teeming with fish life. Friendly batfish follow divers around, schools of jacks and barracuda circle around the point while giant bumphead parrotfish chomp on coral. All this amazing colour and beauty passes by to a sound track provided by the underwater volcano Kavachi which is only 15 miles away.
A series of interconnecting caves and swim throughs with beautiful sun beams and a magical atmosphere. There is also staggering hard coral and tropical fish on the reef out side.
There are a lot of amazing dive sites around this island. It has something for everyone with soft coral points, huge sea fans, sharks and rays. Plus great places to look for the small stuff such as pygmy seahorses, cuttlefish, crocodile fish, snake eels and many different species of anemone fish.
Japanese Maru #2
A Japanese cargo vessel sunk by American bombers in WW2 this is a a stunning photogenic wreck covered in black corals. A deck gun lies hanging over the side of the ship and trevally and groupers hunt the decks.
Trip dates & Availability
Bilikiki Honiara Extras Payable Locally
|BCD, regulator and computer hire (7 nights)||180||USD|||||180|
|BCD, regulator and computer hire (10 nights)||270||USD|||||270|
|BCD, regulator and computer hire (14 nights)||390||USD|||||390|
|Nitrox fills (per day)||20||USD|||||20|
|This resort's prices are in USD. The AUD prices shown are based on the current exchange rate. The price paid in AUD will be based on the actual exchange rate at the time any payments are made.|
|Note: Bilikiki has no special price for non-divers; they are offered snorkelling and village visits.|
|Special payment and cancellation terms apply for this operator.|