Diving in the Solomon Islands
Diving in the Solomon Islands with its unspoiled and undiscovered reefs, caverns, walls, wrecks, pinnacles, coral gardens, lots of macro and the varieties of fish will surely amaze you. The Solomon Islands consist of nearly 1000 islands and this paradise remains largely unexplored, yet it holds many WWII wrecks including ships, aircraft and submarines.
World-class scuba diving awaits you in the Solomon Islands in this true divers paradise and one of the Pacific's best kept secrets. Sailing 1,500 miles (2,400 km) west of Fiji and 1,200 miles (2,000 km) northeast across the Coral Sea from Queensland, Australia. With neighbors like Fiji, Australia and Papua New Guinea, you can imagine the Solomon Islands would have some pretty good diving. The Solomon Islands is an island nation, located in the southwest Pacific and remains relatively untouched by influences of the modern world. Located on the western fringe of the Pacific, the Solomons comprise of 992 islands and coral islets spread across 1,000 miles. Only 147 islands are actually inhabited.
There are six major islands: Guadalcanal, Malaita, New Georgia, Santa Isabel, Makira and Choiseul. As impressive as the Solomons Islands may be in terms of topside beauty and cultural attractions, the real attraction lies along the shallow coral reefs and shipwrecks. The estimated population of 560,000 are predominately Melanesian, while some outer islands are home to Polynesians and Micronesians. The local people appear shy but are very friendly. Off the beaten path, village life in the Solomon Islands remains much as it has been for centuries. Traditional culture is alive in leaf-hut villages with scenery reminiscent of a Discovery Channel documentary: huge lagoons, volcanic islands, emerald forests, croc-infested mangroves and tropical islets.
Diving in the Solomon Islands FAQ
What marine life can I expect to see in the Solomon Islands?
The untouched reefs are generally covered in a variety of hard corals and home to mandarin fish, eels and masses of reef fish. Within a few yards of each other, in schools or individually, butterfly fish, anemone fish, angelfish, humphead parrot fish and other reef dwellers can also be spotted.
Are you a scuba diver with a keen eye for the small and unusual critters or an underwater photographer? "Muck dives" are very popular too. Mantis shrimp, nudibranchs, ghost pipefish, and pygmy seahorses are only a few examples of what you may find.
And don't forget to take a look, just a short distance away, in the blue waters for schools of barracuda, big-eye trevally and other pelagics.
Many of the islands are surrounded by deep walls which allow divers to interact with schools of pelagics. Magical manta encounters and unforgettable shark dives are just a few of the awesome scuba diving experiences that await you in the Solomon Islands. The diversity is hard to beat.
What are the best dive sites in the Solomon Islands?
Diving the Solomon Islands offers incredibly healthy pristine reefs, dizzying drop-offs, awe-inspiring WWII wrecks, exceptional marine biodiversity and the best part: the absence of crowds. Imagine yourself scuba diving Solomon Islands and exploring not only pristine reefs but also wreck diving ships, aircraft and even submarines.
After WWII, the water in between the Florida Islands (Tulagi) and Guadalcanal was renamed to Iron Bottom Sound due to the 200 ships, 690 air crafts and countless landing barges that sunk there during those many months of battle. Wreck diving abounds.
If you expect to scuba dive unspoiled and remote locations, be introduced to new marine life and explore the culture of the local people of the Solomon's, then it shouldn't disappoint. With dive areas such as Mary Island, Russel Island & Morovo Lagoon there are plenty of options for all divers.
The remote location here means there are not many divers to put pressure on the reef and fish. Scuba diving in the Solomon Islands will show you some of the most pristine dive sites in the world. When you decide to scuba dive the beautiful blue waters of the Solomon Islands you'll notice not only a stunning variety but also a great number of sea creatures.
What's the best time to dive in the Solomon Islands?
These welcoming, laid-back islands are often surprisingly untouched and offer year-round scuba diving. Water temperature will be in the 28C - 30C (82F to 85F ) range. We recommend to plan your exposure gear appropriately. Many divers find they need a bit more than they expect, only because they are spending so long in the water every day. Most diving staff wear 5mm full suits and many divers find 3mm full suits, shorties or even board shorts plenty warm enough!
Visibility will range from 75 to 125 feet, with occasional dive sites with much better visibility, and you can have dives with visibility less than 75 feet. In some cases, visibility may only be 10 or 15 feet, because of all the fish blocking your view! The Solomon Island waters are very nutrient rich. They support the entire food chain from microscopic creatures to major predators. Because of this, visibility may be less than that of some other world famous dive sites, but for this same reason, you will find a multitude of large and small critters to observe and photograph.
What's the recommended experience level for diving in the Solomon Islands?
Without the limitations of large diving groups and with the support of flexible operators, scuba divers at the Solomon Islands currently have an opportunity to tailor an itinerary to their own experience and desires. Beginner divers often marvel at exquisite landscapes of wall dives, experienced divers investigate wrecks and caves, underwater photographers enjoy both wide angle and macro opportunities, and all divers absorb the rush of getting close to sharks.
The reefs start very close to the surface which means there is little need for deep dives. Often the reefs drop off gradually allowing you to explore extensively at relatively shallow depths. You will find walls, however, often in close conjunction to a reef, making it excellent for computer assisted diving. Computers are mandatory for all divers.
How do I get to the Solomon Islands?
The best way to go scuba diving and explore the Solomon Islands is on a liveaboard. Air travelers can reach Honiara, the capital of Solomon Islands, and the home port for the ships of Bilikiki Cruises Ltd. via Nadi, Fiji; Brisbane, Australia or Port Moresby, Papua - New Guinea.
There are now two prime areas of departure for the Solomon Islands liveaboards of the Solomons, Honiara for the Russell and Florida Islands, and Gizo for tours to Choiseul and the Shortland Islands.