About the Solomon Islands
Vibrant reefs and cultures of the Solomon Islands
The Solomon Islands are a NW-SE chain of islands located east of Papua New Guinea and north of Australia. Born of fire, the mostly volcanic islands were formed when the smaller Solomon Plate subducted under the larger Pacific Plate. As part of the cultural sub-region of Melanesia, people of the Solomons share their origins with people of New Guinea, Vanuatu, Fiji, and New Caledonia. Evidence suggests that some of the earliest settlers arrived in the islands over 40,000 years ago, and that the Austronesian-speaking people who arrived roughly 6,000 years ago are direct ancestors to the present-day people of the Solomon Islands.
Most of the islands, like few other places in the world, are beautiful examples of quiet, unaffected island life. Many of the villages throughout the islands exist in semi-isolation but are full of vibrant activity. Fishing, the primary source of food is performed by the men while the women tend to the family and home. Smiles are easy to come by, especially from the tireless children. The charm of the people is engaging for sure, and is equal only to the magic of the sea that surrounds them.
The reefs around the Solomon Islands are some of the healthiest and diverse in the world. The islands define the entire eastern tip of the Coral Triangle, a geographic term to describe the area that possesses the world’s highest levels of marine biodiversity. Each island group showcases a wealth of habitats and the beauty of the islands only add to the pageantry of reef life below. Furthermore, because of its geographical location, the islands have a variety of endemic or range-restricted fishes. White bonnet anemonefish and hybrid butterflyfishes are often a treat to see amongst the thousands of varieties of reef fishes that are common within the Coral Triangle. There is no hesitation when we say that the Solomons Islands continue to wow us each and every time we visit. It is why we keep going back!
Nov 7 – 17, 2020
Click on a tour date below to read about trip details including accommodations, pricing, and how you can join us!
Our snorkeling tour begins and ends in Honiara, Guadancanal, Solomon Islands. Historically, daily flights arrive and depart in afternoon, thus a night in Honiara is not required. Our snorkeling journey takes us to the Russell Islands, Mary Island and, Florida Islands. Please note that weather plays a significant role in determining the overall itinerary, and that the sample below may change slightly as a result of weather considerations.
Day 1: Honiara / MV Bilikiki
Meals provided: L,D
Arrive in Honiara and transfer to our expedition boat, the Bilikiki. After our boat orientation, we begin our cruise to the Russell Islands. Overnight MV Bilikiki
Day 2 – 3: Russell Islands
Meals provided: B,L,D
The Russell Islands consist of two main islands with dozens of smaller satellite islands. The reef types vary from sheltered, shallow coral gardens to exposed fringing reefs. All of the reef types have several things in common: an amazing diversity and abundance of coral and reef fish. Some of the patches of coral are a mesmerizing cobalt blue while others are electric yellow. Overnight MV Bilikiki
Day 4: Mary Island
Meals provided: B,L,D
Tiny Mary Island, located in open ocean between the Russell Islands and New Georgia Islands (Morovo Lagoon), provides us with a great opportunity to snorkel over exposed seaward reefs. Though the island does not have a true barrier reef, the fringing reefs, in some places just a few meters from shore, plunge quickly into the depths forming vertical walls that are completely covered with marine life. The reefs will easily capture our attention as we search for tiny nudibranchs or special treats like a species of coral hermit crab (right) known only from the Solomon Islands or the red-spotted blenniella. Looking out into the blue, we will see large schools of bumphead parrotffish, barracudas, and snappers. Several different species of sharks are also common. Overnight MV Bilikiki
Day 5 – 6: Russell Islands
Meals provided: B,L,D
We are back to the Russells to spend the day snorkeling two areas that offer a unique setting to our activity. Leru Cut is located on a small limestone island. The cut is a fissure, forming a canyon-like feature in the island is about 2 meters (6 ft) wide, meanders into the island for about 40 meters (130 ft), and is about 15 meters (45 ft) deep. The jungle above filters sunlight that creates a surreal snorkeling environment. Some of the highlights are the abundance of lace corals at the entrance and cave-dwelling fish such as sweepers and cardinalfishes. Our other snorkel site is White Beach, a code name used by the US military during the war. The water in front of the beach contains a variety of military objects that were abandoned after the war. Though not easy identifiable as anything more than scrap, all of the items are encrusted with life. This is a great spot for invertebrates and unusual fish like pipefishes and scorpionfishes. Overnight MV Bilikiki
Day 7 – 10: Florida Islands
Meals provided: B,L,D
The Florida Islands are separated from Guadalcanal by Savo Sound, or Ironbottom Sound as it was called during the war because of the dozens of ships and planes that sank there during the Battle of Guadalcanal. The islands are stunning and the reefs, simply spectacular. We will spend at least one day around Maravaghi Bay where no less than six distinct marine habitats converge into one area. Mangroves, sand flats, coral reef flats, seaward reefs, fast moving channels, and a ship wreck. Sharks, rays, including the chance for manta rays, schools of tiny reef fish like anthias and damsels, cryptic critters like scorpionfishes, amazing coral coverage including all of the usual reef fish associates, and six different species of anemonefishes. Maybe a full day isn’t long enough? Some of the other areas we will also visit are postcard-worthy Anuha Island, Petrol Point, and Kombuana Island for a chance to snorkel in a lush sea grass community. Overnight MV Bilikiki
Day 11: International flights
Meals provided: B
Disembark in the morning for our international flight connections.
What to Expect
Our village visits will usually take place in the morning when temperatures are a bit cooler, and will not involve any significant walking or hiking around the island. Though they are usually a dry landing, having any type of foot protection that can get wet is recommended.
Please click on our page About our Tours to read about what a typical day of snorkeling looks like on most of our tour programs.