Diving in Solomons
During WWII, the
Solomon Islands, the island that make up this nation saw some of the fiercest fighting of the war. The Battle of Guadalcanal left the seafloor littered with warships of all descriptions. So, the diving among the 922 islands that make up the Solomon’s is a heady mix of incredible shipwrecks, and a reef eco-system that is nothing short of dazzling on the color and diversity scale. You’ll dive on pinnacles, caverns, long and dramatic lava tubes, shallow gardens and walls, all of which literally swarm with marine life. Anemone fish are everywhere, sharks, big schools of tuna, trevally, and barracuda, bumphead parrotfish, and an incredible array of macro critters such as ghost pipefish. The reefs are crowded with soft corals that reach almost up the surface in places. This is definitely an underwater photographer’s dreamscape.
To get the best overview and variety of Solomon’s diving, a live-aboard the best way to go, but each of the six islands from which you can dive will fill several logbooks worth of adventures.
From Honiara, which is on Guadalcanal, you’ll want to explore the wrecks of what is now called, “Iron Bottom Sound,” for sheer amount of total wreckage. Most divers head to Tulagi (Florida Island). You’ll want to get nitrox and tri-mix certified to fully explore the deeper wrecks. The most impressive in these dive depths is the Aaron Ward, an American destroyer that sits upright, 5-inch deck guns aimed to the surface, in 170-230 feet. Another deep beauty is the Oil Tanker, Kanawha in 130-190 feet. However, not all dives are deep wrecks, the reefs here shudder with heaps of marine life.
Gizo is probably dive-central for land-based explorations. You’ll find everything from WWII wrecks to renowned muck diving to seafan and soft coral crowded passes. Among the top dives, is the 442-foot Toa Maru, littered with artifacts from sake bottles to ammo, and covered in substantial hard and soft corals. Kennedy Wall, which is off Plum Pudding Island where President Kennedy escaped to when his PT boat was sunk, is a great place for pelagic action, and Grand Central Station for a potpourri of marine life in every niche.
Another trip of lifetime Solomon’s stopover is Uepi. Here, you will be awestruck at the variety of marine life at places like Uepi Point, General Store and Uepi elbow, where colorful vertical walls provide a backdrop for dramatic pelagic action.
Water clarity in the Solomons varied from 60 – 150-feet depending upon tide, and the water temperature rarely dips below 80°F. Check the
Passport and/or Visa Requirements
All U.S. citizens are required to present a passport, and do not need to obtain a visa. All persons leaving the Solomon Islands, pay a Government Departure Tax.
Vaccinations are not required for entry into Solomon Islands. Check with your doctor and the Centers for Disease Control on recommended vaccinations for travel at
Culture and Customs
A traditional culture with knowledge passed down by ancestral spirits, from generation to generation, forms the primary cultural identity for the islands, a culture that began with pre-Polynesians, the Lapita, and evolved with the arrival of the Melanesians. Tribal customs rule in the more rural areas, where the modern age has had minor influence in the daily lives of its people. Traditional fishing and agriculture make each village self-sufficient, and most intra-island contact is via hand-hewn outriggers. Most of the islands see very few foreign visitors, and they were sufficiently remote from each other through history that more than 60 distinct languages are spoken in the Solomons. Each village has its unique expression of dance and music, as a way of telling stories. Pan flutes, chants and a distinctive bamboo percussion instrument played by slapping old flip-flops against the open ends form the core of the music. Women, men, boys and girls alike chew betel nut. Locals are welcoming everywhere you go.
Electricity, Telephone and Internet Access
Electricity in the Solomons is 220/240 volts, 50 cycles, so an adapter will be needed for US visitors. The
country code for the Solomons is 677 and direct dial service is fast and clear. Check with your service provider for long distance/roaming information and costs.
Internet service is infrequently or sporadically available, even in the major towns.
Bottled water is recommended throughout the island nation.
Language & Currency
English the official languages, however most Solomon Islanders speak their local language and pidgin. The local currency is the Solomon Islands Dollar (SBD), check the currency rate.
The Solomon Islands utilize SBT which is Solomon Islands Time. It is 11 hours ahead of Greenwich mean Time. They do not observe Daylight Savings Time.
History, Art, and Culture
The first people to settle in the Solomons came from Papua New Guinea approximately 30,000 years ago. The seafaring Austronesian people first populated the Solomon Islands, coming to the island about 4,000 years ago. The Spanish explorer Alvaro Neira first saw the Solomons and thinking he’d found King Solomon’s gold named them the Islands of Solomon. Subsequent visitors we met with hostility by the natives. WWII put these strategic islands on the map and some of the fiercest fighting the Pacific Ocean Theater took place here. Today each of the inhabited islands is ruled by traditional methods that originate in ancestor spirits. The woodcarvings from here are world-renowned. The inlaid canoe prows figureheads called Nguzu Nguzu, depicting whether those onboard were coming in peace or war, are highly prized, as are the mother of pearl inlaid bowls and ancestor spirit carvings and totems. Sharks and other marine life are prominent in the mythology. Read more about Solomon Islands here.
Current Scuba Diving Specials.
Location and Size
The Solomon Islands are located in Oceania, to the east of Papua New Guinea and northwest of Vanuatu. The encompass 11,156 square miles and consist of 6 major islands and over 900 smaller islands. Honiara, the capital is approximately 8.5 square miles.
The population of the Solomon Islands is 583,591 (2015).