SOLOMON ISLANDS SOLOMON ISLANDS SOLOMON ISLANDS SOLOMON ISLANDS SOLOMON ISLANDS SOLOMON ISLANDS SOLOMON ISLANDS SOLOMON ISLANDS SOLOMON ISLANDS YOUR DIVING HOLIDAY SPECIALIST SOLOMON ISLANDS SOLOMON ISLANDS Solomon Islands The Solomon Islands remain untouched by the influences of the mod- ern, western world and unspoilt by 20th century development and tourism. Rich in cultural diversity this exotic won- derland of varied landscapes offers the visitor a feast of adventures. Located north-east of Australia in the South Pacific, the coral island nation is fast gaining a reputation for having some of the worlds best diving, snorkel- ling and fishing. The main islands of Choiseul, Isabel, Guadalcanal, Malaita, Makira and New Georgia make up most of the 28,000 square kilometre land mass, with hundreds of smaller islands scattered throughout the group. During WW II the Solomons became the key turning point in the struggle by allied forces to repel the Japanese advancement in the South Pacific. One of the most fierce encounters in General Information : naval history “The Battle of Guadalcanal”, occurred here on the 13th of November 1942. The Japanese lost over 11 ships, with many more Passport: Travellers must hold a current passport with a minimum of boats and aircraft plummeting into the blue waters in the days surround- 6 months validity plus a return or onward travel ticket. ing the battle. Visas: A visa is not necessary for Australian citizens or for many other The area became known as "Iron Bottom Sound" and today the nationalities. Check with your travel agent. machines and relics of destruction, form artificial reefs with an abun- Health: Visitors are strongly recommended to take a course of anti- dance and diversity of corals attracting countless species of fishlife. The malaria medication. See your doctor for professional advise. Solomons also boast some of the most pristine reef diving in the world. Electricity: Where available 240 volts. 50 cycle AC. Dramatic outcrops of hard and soft corals, breathtaking drop-offs, excel- As the Solomons is vastly undeveloped many areas are powered by lent visibility and 28°C water temperatures, assures year round quality generators. Water in many outer hotels and resorts is not heated. diving. Other activi- Customs: The people are friendly but quite shy. The official language ties and tours with is English. Business hours are 8am - 12 noon & 1 - 4pm. Tipping is experienced not encouraged. guides include Currency: Solomon Island Dollar. Travellers cheques and monies can snorkelling, canoe- be exchanged at the banks in Honiara, Gizo and Munda. Visa and ing, fishing, eco Master Card is accepted at most resorts. tours, visits to Packing Hints: Light and airy clothing, preferably cottons. Long local villages, treks sleeves and pants are recommended for evenings. Sweater, comfy through pristine shoes, hat, insect repellent, sunscreen and torch. rainforests and visits to waterfalls NOTE: All wrecks in The Solomon Islands are National Heritage and volcanoes. listed and the removal of any items from them is strictly prohibited. WW II wrecks abound Honiara Honiara is the Kitano Mendana Hotel over capital and interna- looks the blue lagoon of "Iron tional port of entry to Bottom Sound" with palm-fringed the Solomon Islands. islands, in the distance. The hotel Located on the north- offers standard rooms with gar- ern coastline of the den views, deluxe rooms with island of Guadacanal, sea views and 3 luxurious suites. Honiara, is the main All rooms are air-conditioned and stop-over point for have private facilities, refrigera- travellers wishing to tor, TV, tea and coffee making Poolside “Mendana Hotel” - Honiara visit many land based facilities and room service. The WW II sites. The town hotel has a licensed restaurant and bar, coffee shop, beauty salon, tour is the centre for com- desk, gift shop, boutique, business centre, swimming pool with deck Waterfront markets - Honiara merce in the region chairs and pool side bar. with banks, restaurants, clubs, tourist information, shops and colourful, Diving: "Iron Bottom Sound" is host to hundreds of wrecks including outdoor markets specializing in local handicrafts. troop carriers, transport ships, submarines and planes. Some of the more popular dive sites: King Solomon Hotel is built on a terraced hillside in the heart of Honiara. B-17 Bomber is an excellent shallow dive. Lying on a sandy slope in The hotel offers 59 guest rooms and self-contained units, boasting spec- 10-18 metres the plane has gun turrets, props and motors intact. tacular views of Iron Bottom Sound and the surrounding islands. All Submarine a large sub close to 100 metres length rammed and driven rooms are fan-cooled or on to the reef. The bow begins in 5 metres and the stern sits in 30 me- air conditioned with pri- tres. US John Penn for the experienced diver. American troop ship vate facilities, tele- lying on the sand at 60 metres covered in Black Coral Growth. phones, TV, in-house “Hirokawa Maru” (Bonegi I) Japanese transport ship, 6860 tons, video, refrigerator, IDD length 508 feet. Dive phone and tea and cof- starts at 3 metres fee making facilities. The plunging to 55 metres. hotel has a 24 hour re- “Kinugawa ception area, gift shop, Maru” (Bonegi II) Japa- licensed restaurant and nese transport ship, bar, swimming pool and length 436 feet, resting tennis court. Guests are partly above water with transported to their hill- the stern in 27 metres. side rooms, via a ground based cable car. King Solomon Hotel - Honiara Some of the wrecks in the “Iron Bottom Sound” Florida Islands The Florida Some of the more popular dive sites: Aaron Ward Islands is a small discovered in island group located 35 1995 is the only kilometres north of Honi- diveable de- ara, across “Iron Bottom stroyer in the Sound”. A boat transfer Solomon to Tulagi takes approxi- Islands. Depth mately 50 minutes. Tu- 53-73 metres. lagi was the original capi- Kanawha an tal of the Solomons until American oil being completely de- tanker of 14500 stroyed during WW II. Waterfront Tulagi tonnes sunk in The area offers incredible Tulagi Harbour WW II wrecks, pristine coral gardens, drop offs, tunnels and prolific on the same day marine life. as the Aaron Vanitas Divers Lodge is Ward, 7th April situated across the road 1943. Sitting Diver exploring the wreck of “Aaron Ward” - Florida Islands from Tulagi wharf. upright on a flat Ideally suited to the budget bottom the deck is strewn with artefacts and debris. Depth 40-60 me- conscience traveller, Vani- tres. tas offers clean, comfort- Sandfly Passage is a beautiful coral garden studded with big red and able, single or twin accom- yellow fans. A great diversity of coral and marine life here. Depth 3-40 modation. The lodge offers metres. Vanitas Divers Lodge - Tulagi dormitory style accommo- Twin Tunnels features ancient lava tubes starting at a patch reef and dation with shared bath- dropping down vertically to about 35 metres. The twin tunnels join into room facilities. There is one tunnel that exits on the reef wall. You are greeted by a mass of fish also two double rooms with that swarm around the reef including sharks, dogtooth tuna, giant tre- private facilities. All rooms vally and barracuda. Depth 18-40 metres. have power and ceiling fans but no hot water. Vanitas has a restaurant and bar offering indoor and outdoor dining, and a resi- dent dive shop. Activities include diving snorkelling, Some of Tulagi residents WW II tours, island picnics, and visits to local villages. Diving: Solomon Islands Diving, the local “Aaron Ward” dive operator, is based at the Vanitas Divers Lodge. They oper- ate a 7.5 meter Orca, ideally suited for divers demanding a good stable platform for deeper wreck dives. The main wrecks are only minutes away from the wharf. Nitrox and limited mixed gas facilities are available for the technical and more experienced divers. Magnificant corals “Sandfly Passage” - Florida Islands Dive Charter Boats Live-aboard Vessels Bilikiki Cruises operates 2 The ideal way to experience the diverse range of diving in the Solomon live aboard vessels "M.V Islands is aboard one of the 2 charter vessels operating out of Honiara. Bilikiki” and "M.V Spirit of In addition to the well documented world renowned diving, the Solomons". Both boats offer Solomons offer a hidden wealth of cultural and natural wonders. During unparalleled space and trips to villages you will be welcomed by the shy, friendly smiles of the comfort, immense sun local people offering hand made souvenirs for sale. In the evenings you decks, plenty of covered can fish for kingfish, wahoo, yellowtail or tuna, with assistance from the deck space and air- crew. conditioned accommodation. All meals Vessel Specifications are included during your M.V. Spirit of Solomons trip. A full range of hire MV Bilikiki MV Spirit of Solomon’s equipment is available, including underwater photographic equipment. Construction Steel Steel Each vessel has two 21 foot aluminium dive tenders, which transfer Main engine 350 HP 3406 Turbo Charged 350 HP 3406 Turbo Charged Caterpillar Diesel Caterpillar Diesel divers to the dive site and picks them up again when they surface. There is no need for lengthy swims back to the vessel. Voltage 231W 50HZ 231W 50HZ Accommodation 10 staterooms all with private 7 Deluxe cabins with private shower and toilet shower and toilet. 6 Twin cabins sharing two toilets and three showers. Length/beam 125ft/24ft 125ft/24ft Air-conditioning Fully Air-conditioned Fully Air-conditioned Charging facilities Fully equipped Fully equipped Special Features E-6 Colour processing, Nitrox, E-6 Colour processing, Multi- Multi-format video DVD sys- format video system, Evening tem, Evening slide shows, slide shows, Large camera Large camera tables, Separate tables and Separate rinse bins rinse bins for photo gear and for photo gear. M.V. Bilikiki in the Florida Islands Uepi Island Uepi Island Due to the remoteness, a com- Photo - Andy Belcher is a two and a pulsory, pre-paid meal package half kilometre is required. Meals are based barrier reef is- around fresh, local seafoods, land, located on fruits and vegetables which are the edge of prepared by talented local Marovo Lagoon. chefs. This remote and The resort has a fully equipped stunningly beau- dive centre with a limited Great snorkeling - Uepi tiful island, com- amount of hire gear. A qualified prises some 100 instructor is available for resort courses, full open water certificate hectares of courses and specialty courses. Courses are on a request basis and a raised coral reef, Aerial view of Uepi Island. covered with Photo - Eric Cheng lowland rainforest. A 60 minute flight from Honiara, brings you to Seghe Airport, originally a WW II fighter air strip. From here you will be met and transferred across Marovo Lagoon to your accommodation. Transfer is by a 22 foot open canoe, powered by an outboard engine. The canoes are very sturdy and safe but the journey across the lagoon can be a little bumpy at times and you may get wet from the sea spray. Sharks - a common site at Uepi The pristine environment of Uepi is very much in its natural undisturbed state. The island is approximately 10km from the nearest local village medical certificate is required. For the non diving visitor Uepi offers swimming, snorkelling, day and overnight sea- kayaking tours, fishing, volleyball, bush walking and cultural trips to nearby islands. Secluded picnic and snorkelling areas can be accessed by boat or walking tracks through the rainforest. Diving Uepi is renowned for its world class Photo - Peter Lange diving. All dive sites have exciting ma- rine life at all depths, allowing for multi- level diving. The dive sites along the Photo - Robert Rinaldi Uepi Island passage, barrier reef drop- offs and bays are exclusively coral reef ecosystems. The 10 main dive sites offer differing structure and bio- Kayaking over magnificent coral drop-offs. assemblage including shallow (15m) and deep (30m) coral gardens with mag- and 150km from the nearest port of supply. Although there is a wet and nificent drop-offs, ledges, gutters dry season it is not easy to notice the difference. Uepi has approxi- featuring an enormous diversity of reef mately 3000mm of rain per annum , falling mainly in the evenings and fish, light game fish and sharks. Turtles, evenly distributed, throughout the year. There is no monsoon and tropi- mantas and eagle rays are fairly cal cyclones are very rare. common sights, as well as the friendly Uepi Island Resort Uepi hammerheads (in season). Many sits on a small penin- of Uepi's dives are conveniently located within a 5 to 10 minute boat ride sula at the eastern from the resort. There are no wrecks in the immediate area but excur- end of the island. sions to wreck sites can be arranged. Excursions to the wreck of P38 Photo - Peter Lange Catering for up to 34 fighter plane, 2 WW II Japanese supply ships and a fishing boat are guests the resort is approximately a one hour boat trip away. set on its own sandy beach, with the tran- Some more popular dive sites: quil waters of the The Elbow (24M) an incredibly steep drop-off. The sheer wall drops to lagoon on one side depths in excess of 600 metres Photo - Peter Lange and fringing reefs and ocean drop-offs and is covered Snorkeling on Uepi’ s doorstep on the other. with colourful Six bungalows, each hard and soft sleeping up to 4 guests, are widely spaced amongst the jungle-like gar- corals. dens, providing maximum privacy. Each bungalow has private ameni- Uepi Point (30m) ties, tea and coffee making facilities, refrigerator and a deck overlooking this passage the lagoon and distant New Georgia Mountains. Other accommodation meets The Slot at includes 2 spacious, twin-share units with views over the lagoon, and Uepi Point, where two guest-rooms offering share-basis accommodation for 2 to 4 guests. a near vertical Colourful marine life All accommodation is modern, clean and comfortable with insect reef corner is coated profusely with hard and soft corals. At 30m a coral screening and connected rainwater. There is no running hot water peninsula juts out into the deep blue, and the walls plunge into the service available. abyss. This provides the stage for a spectacular procession of pelagics including schooling barracuda, jacks, runner, rays and sharks. At vari- ous times and tides the point area becomes a hunting/feeding ground. As a result the underwater action can be very exciting. Photo - Matt Guest Uepi Welcome Jetty a wall dropping off to 50m crammed with gorgoni- ans, soft and hard corals and pro- Photo - Peter Lange fusely growing amphora sponges. The range of colourful marine life in- cludes trevally, mackerel, sharks, rainbow runners, tuna, barracuda and smaller reef View of the Morovo Lagoon Wreck of P38 WW II fighter fish. Gizo Gizo is a Diving tropical treas- Gizo is re- ure trove of nowned for sun drenched having the lagoons, coral most diverse cays and pris- and exciting tine waters. diving to be Situated in the found any- Western Prov- where in the ince, sur- world. It offers rounded by WW II wrecks, hundreds of numerous small tropical offshore reefs, islands, Gizo Pacific Islands charm - Gizo spectacular is the ideal base for exploring this fascinating region. This colourful, coral forma- WW II aircraft wrecks abound in the waters around Gizo rustic island has a population of only 4000 people with a mixture of tions, plum- friendly native cultures. Embedded in the history of Gizo are memories meting walls, manta rays and an abundance of marine life. of the heavy fighting that occurred in the region, during WW II. Stories Adventure Sports (Dive Gizo) located in Gizo has been exploring the about the rescue of waters around Gizo since 1985. Their experience and the variety of dive John F Kennedy, (who sites available will satisfy most divers skill levels and interests. Adven- later became President ture Sports is a complete tourist facility providing services for diving, of the United States), snorkeling, bush walking, as well as information for WW II history enthu- and the PT 109 crew, siasts. Nitrox facilities are available for qualified divers. the aerial battles over Vella Lavella and of the Solomon Wa- "Tokyo Express", tersport is based steaming down the at Sanbis Resort "Slot." abound. and caters to all Fatboys Bar & Restaurant overlooking JF Kennedy Isl. The quality of the diving levels of diving and snorkelling in 28°C water temperatures with excellent visibility, is skills and experi- spectacular and diverse. Dive WW II wrecks, off shore reefs, drop-offs ence. They offer and caves. Trek to waterfalls and volcanoes, visit unspoilt villages, or wreck, reef, wall get “marooned” on your own island for a day. and muck diving. Gizo Hotel is Their custom only a 5 minute built dive boats boat ride from are powered by the airport. 100hp 4 stroke Situated on the Colourful corals - Gizo motors kitted out main street with First Aid and DAN oxygen kits. The eco friendly dive store offers a overlooking the full range of courses with a good range of rental equipment and in- harbour, the house photo pro. Solomon Watersports also offer snorkelling, fishing, hotel offers a island trips, beach BBQ’s and water skiing. variety of ac- Some of the more popular commodation to dive sites: suit most budg- Toa Maru a 6700 ton 140 ets. The stan- metre Japanese transport dard rooms are Aerial view of Gizo Hotel ship lying on her starboard fan-cooled with side, sitting in 10-37m of private facilities, refrigerator and tea and coffee making facilities. The water. This dive site is worth poolside and sea-view rooms feature private facilities, air-conditioning, several visits as you can refrigerator, IDD phones, tea and coffee making facilities and a balcony explore the ships holds with views overlooking the harbour or pool area. containing ammunition, saki The hotel has its own private jetty, a restaurant specialising in fresh bottles and even a two man Japanese Tank on the deck of “Toa Maru” seafood, bar, tour desk, gift shop and dive shop. The saltwater swim- tank. ming pool is an ideal setting for pre dinner drinks or a relaxing swim. Plum Pudding Island is historically interesting as the late U.S. President, The hotel tour desk can arrange various other activities from sport fish- John F Kennedy and his crew of the PT 109 were shipwrecked here. ing, island tours, romantic picnics on deserted islands, nature hikes and Japanese Zero and cultural tours. Float Plane are two Sanbis Resort easily accessible is an exclusive wreck dives in Gizo property set Harbour. amidst a tropi- Grand Central Station cal jungle of is one of the best fish coastal trees, dives in Gizo. Just exotic flowers park yourself on a 18 and coconut metre deep "bench" palms, over- and watch a multitude looking a tran- of fish life pass you Sanbis Resort quil lagoon. by. Rays, sharks, The 6 individual kingfish, porpoises private bungalows have modern ensuite bathroom, a private verandah share the area with an with views over the lagoon and it’s own private beach, where you can abundance of snorkel in 30°C waters. Enjoy pre dinner drinks or a delicious cocktail colourful corals. from the shady platform while watching the magnificent sunsets over Hot Spot is a deep Simba Island. Dining at Sanbis is a lavish affair, breakfast on tropical water pinnacle the top fruits, wood fired oven bread and fresh coffee. Lunch and dinner con- of which is at 5-6 m. A sists of cheese platters, home made soups, exotic seafood delicacies, concentrated fish dive. spicy island BBQs and a variety of western style meals cooked with an Home to 7 species of island touch. Strongly committed to preserving the environment, the Anemone fish found at lighting throughout the resort is powered by solar energy and waste is the safety stop. recycled. Kayaks, windsurfers, waterskiing and wake boards are avail- able for hire. Amazing macro photo opportunities - Gizo Munda Munda is the ideal Accommodation is in very basic traditional thatched huts destination for the travel- powered by generators. ler seeking adventure in Shared bathroom facilities are a unique environment, housed separately nearby. off the beaten track. The property has a restaurant, Located on the main dining and bar area. For island of New Georgia groups staying at Zipolo diving one hours flight from can be organised on request. Honiara. Munda lies close to the junction of Diving - Adventure Sports Local village - Roviana Lagoon the Roviana and Vona (Dive Munda) is based at Agnes Lodge and offers pro- fessional services catering for Vona lagoons. Culturally all levels of divers from begin- Munda was the centre for ners to the most experienced. the headhunting Roviana people and eerie remnants Some of the more popular from that era, are still visi- dive sites: ble today. Diving is still Mushroom Island (Tomba- largely unexplored with Tuni) is perched on an extinct majestic wall dives and volcano with soft coral virgin reefs a specialty. overhangs, fantastic visibility Munda is also strewn with and big fish action. Relics on “Skull Island” - Munda historic reminders of the Custom Shark Cave is an Great wall diving - Munda heavy fighting that oc- amazing cave system that curred in the region dur- extends from a fresh water ing WW II. pool at the centre of the island, to a cavern that Agnes Lodge overlooking opens onto an 800 metre the Roviana Lagoon, reef-wall, ablaze with soft offers a range of corals, whips and sponges, accommodation, from with a myriad of fish life. budget guest rooms with Rainbow Passage a very shared facilities, to indi- colourful dive with an im- vidual cabins with private pressive array of corals, facilities. Each room Agnes Lodge - Munda gorgonians and inverte- offers fridge and hot and brates teeming with fish life cold water. A traditional leaf thatched building on the waters edge including sharks and turtles houses the lounge bar and restaurant specialising in seafood. Activities Douglas Dive Bomber this available on the island include diving, snorkelling, canoeing, fishing, historical wreck lies intact in trekking, island picnics, 12 metres of water. cycling, visits to local vil- Casi Maru a 700 ton, Japa- lages and WWII sites. nese freighter lying at 16 Zipolo Habu Resort is metres. located on the Vona Vona Lagoon, a 30 minute boat trip from Munda. With its white sandy beach and classic "desert island" location, Zipolo is popular with surfers and fishermen. Thatched huts - Zipolo Habu Resort Exploring WW II wrecks - Munda SOME OF OUR OTHER POPULAR ADVENTURE DESTINATIONS Visit us on the web Your Agent: www.diveadventures.com.au SYDNEY - 9th Level, 32 York St. Sydney 2000 - Lic. No. 2TA 003537 PH:(02) 9299 4633 FAX:(02) 9299 4644 TOLL FREE BOOKINGS: 1800 222 234 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org MELBOURNE - Unit A 5.2, 63-85 Turner St Port Melbourne VIC 3207 - Lic. No. 31669 PH:(03) 9646 5945 FAX:(03) 9646 8589 TOLL FREE BOOKINGS: 1800 242 724 e-mail: email@example.com Travel Compensation Fund No. 04589.