Another great diving adventure has come and gone. This time I hopped a plane to the Solomon Islands and had a fabulous 10 days of diving on the Bilikiki dive boat. It was amazing! My dive trip starts the minute I am at the Phoenix airport ready for my new adventures. Once in the Terminal 4 Sky Harbor Airport I was jonesing for that Starbucks coffee. With that in hand and my Kindle in the other hand I was chilling on vacation mode for the next month of travels.
Solomon Islands is an island nation located in the southwest Pacific, 1,500 miles (2,400 km) west of Fiji and 1,200 miles (2,000 km) northeast of Australia. After a 2 night stay at Brisbane, Australia I flew into Honiara airport ready for great diving. The MV Bilikiki is a 125 foot long ship and has a 24 foot beam making it a very stable ship ship for the South Pacific conditions. Bilikiki offers 10 deluxe cabins with a full double bed and a single above which I took the single. By the way, the word “Bilikiki” is the name of a large sandpiper bird in the Western Solomon language located in the Solomon Islands. It is somewhat a mythical bird and there is even a Bilikiki song and Bilikiki dance.
This 10 days was special for me since it was my first trip diving for the soul purpose of underwater photography. Thus, everyone on the boat was all about taking great pictures. It was amazing to see all the cameras and housings. One could buy a few Lexus vehicles with all that gear. I am a novice underwater photographer and was glad to learn tons from other divers. My dive trip ended too soon and I was back on the plane to Australia. But my dive vacation wasn’t over yet. I flew over to Bali to meet up with past friends and dived the Komodo Islands in Indonesia again. After that I dived Bali for 3 days of chill time.
It is so much fun to dive not just because of the diving but because all the new and great dive friends I met up with. But I also was grateful to meet up with other fellow travelers who weren’t diving but were on their own vacations or working for NGO’s. Finding expats in far flung places, like the Solomon Islands and Indonesia, is so much fun especially when it is at a local cafe drinking that awesome coffee. If the word “hello” is universal I think the word “coffee” comes a close second. All in all it was a fantastic month of diving. On the plane ride home I was figuring out what my next diving adventure would be. I think PNG and for sure back to Indonesia to do Raja Ampat (Four Kings in Irian Jaya).
Diving Doug / Doug Gulleson