Scuba Diving the Solomon Islands
18 February 2019
The diving in the Solomon Islands is excellent. Their remoteness means that the dive sites are unspoilt. WWII wrecks, caves, coral gardens and immense biodiversity of marine life, coupled with hardly any divers, make or a great trip. You can dive from a liveaboard or from one of the few dive centres in the islands. In 2019 the main dive operators created a formal representative body: Dive Operators Solomon Islands (DOSI), in part in order to develop tourism.
Where are the Solomon Islands
The country comprises over 900 islands in Oceania, to the east of Papua New Guinea and northwest of Vanuatu. Some islands at the northwest end of the archipelago belong to Papua New Guinea rather than to the state of Solomon Islands.
When to Go?
When is the best time to dive Solomon Islands? You can dive year round but cyclone season is normally between November and April. Sea temperatures never fall below 27oC and can reach 30oC September to March.
The most popular diving areas are Tulagi, Munda, Guadalcanal and South Marovo Lagoon.
Fresh and salt water crocodiles and sharks are common.
Most visits to Solomon Islands are trouble-free, but take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel. Medical facilities are very basic throughout Solomon Islands. Your passport should be valid for a minimum period of six months from the date of entry into Solomon Islands.
From 28 December 2019, you will need to show proof of vaccination against measles if you have travelled from or via (including transiting): Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Tonga, the Philippines, American Samoa or Samoa. You must be vaccinated at least 15 days before arriving in Solomon Islands. Failure to show documentary proof of vaccination may result in you being unable to board your inbound flight or even deportation.
In February 2020 restrictions were put in place in response to the coronavirus. Travellers originating from affected countries and regions travelling through Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Kiribati, Vanuatu and Nauru will not be permitted to enter Solomon Islands, unless travellers are able to provide evidence that they have not travelled from or transited through any affected country at any time during the 14 days immediately before the day on which they arrive in the Solomon Islands. This includes that any person who has travelled from China or transited through China at any time during the 14 days immediately before the day on which the person arrives in Solomon Islands.
Swearing is a crime in Solomon Islands and can lead to large compensation claims and even jail. Dress codes, particularly for women, are modest. In certain areas there are "tabu" sites only visited by men.
Mary Island, or Mborokua, is famous for schooling jacks, barracuda and sharks. Huge bumphead parrotfish are also common.
"Cliff face dive with one of the largest bigeye travally schools ever seen. Baracudas, grey reef sharks and tuna. "
Richard Banks, 2019
"This area has got the best all-round diving I've ever done. Walls, pelagics, lots of big stuff - sharks, mantas, schools of eagle rays, a great wreck, several plane wrecks and no crowds . "
Munda is the largest town on the island of New Georgia
"Got it all: walk in, drop down 10 mins through cave onto wall "
Ian Gilding, 2014
A shelving reef that gets progressively more vertical where two currents meet. The currents bring the big fish - sharks, devil rays, batfish.
"Enter in what seems like open sea to hit a 1 km deep wall and cruise along in the company of giant leatherbacks, huge pelagics, black, white and grey tips, plus a few oceanic white tips and hammerheads. The best feeling I've ever had."
The Toa Maru was a World War II Japanese transport ship. She was sunk in 1943 by an American submarine. She lies between 12 and 40 m. A very good wreck dive
"55 minutes of penetration. Tons of life, Japanese tanks."
Kyle Folden, May 2016
A pinnacle rising to 5m from the oceans depths - a channel of over 300 m. This off-shore site attracts sharks and other pelagic fish to feed on shoals of fish. Turtles are also common.
"More fish species than I realised existed, let alone had ever seen."
"Loads of fish, sharks, tuna, everything all at once - couldn't see the surface of the water there were so many fish. "
"Tiny Island on the edge of the worlds largest lagoon. Clearest water, best visibility, friendliest staff. Highlight was diving with hammerheads."
Zac Sarnecki, 2009
Tulagi is a small island off the south coast of Nggela Sule. The Japanese occupied Tulagi in 1942 and there are several WWII wrecks in area.
"Solomon Islands, deeper dive, destroyer sitting upright on the sand, largely intact as she sank very quickly in the battle for Guadacanal in WW11, penetration possible for the properly trained and experienced."
Jackie Bone-George, Australia, 2013
"Depth of 35m to descend to the bottom of lava tubes. You then exit through a opening at approx 35m, circle the reef and slowly ascend. Spotted a Manta ray throughout the dive. Amazing. "
Shayla Osborne, 2017
A destroyer, the USS Aaron Ward sank stern first in 70m of water at Tinete Point of Nggela Sule, in April 1943. She was located by divers in 1994 and has been dived since then.
"Deep and those guns, wow "
Ian Gilding, 2014
"Silvertips that chase you away, make the turn and you will see 20 ft gorgan fans, sponge corals hanging down 120 ft. Light shinning through the trees make this dive site one of the best ever "
"Dive into huge crevices and experience crayfish propelling themselves in all direction. Imagine a hundred crayfish going in every direction at high velocity. It is something to see."
Kyle, Canada, 2011
Accommodates 20 divers in 12 cabins with four different room classes. On the upper deck, there are both Deluxe and Premium staterooms all with en-suite bathrooms. On the lower deck, there are standard twin bed and double bed cabins. Departs from Honiara - 7 and 10 night trips.
Equipped with large carpeted camera table for photographers. Up to 4 dives can be made through the day. Bilikiki has 10 staterooms, all are equipped with private facilities. Cabins are located on the lower deck. Takes up to 20 divers.
PO Box 239
Republic of the Solomon Islands
Tel (692) 625-2525 ext.141 / (692) 625-1796
Point Cruz Yacht Club
PO Box 21
Run by British instructors, Graeme Sanson and Jen Wil.
Tel: (+677) 789 6869
"Dive Munda is located in Munda, Solomon Islands,inside the Hotel Agnes Lodge. They didn't really let me choose what kind of dive to do. I went with 3 locals, nice BUT JUST. It was a 2 dives trip from 9am till 1 pm with an hour stop in a beautiful little island. I WOULDN'T DIVE WITH THEM AGAIN, MORE EXPENSIVE THAN OTHER PLACES AND NOT REALLY PROFESSIONAL... OLD GEARS TOO. "
Marco, Italy, 2011
- Coral Reef Fishes, Indo-Pacific and Caribbean
- by Ewald Lieske and Robert Myers, Harper Collins, 400 Pages, Paperback
An excellent, comprehensive guide to reef fishes, which is small and light enough to pack regardless of amount of diving equipment. Highly recommended for anyone wanting to identify the fish they see whilst diving the tropics.
Read the full review...
Please send us your comments on diving Solomon Islands. Do you want to recommend a diving centre or dive site?