World-class diving awaits you in the underwater realms of the Solomon Islands.
The marine biodiversity is exceptional, incredibly healthy reefs look like a Garden of Eden and the absence of crowds is a prime draw.
Another clincher is the mind boggling array of WWII wrecks – ships, aircraft and even submarines.
Best of all, the Solomon Islands are diveable year-round!
Located on the island of Guadalcanal, Honiara was built on land that saw some of the bloodiest battles of WWII.
Now the capital and base of tourism to the beautiful Solomon Islands, this city offers something to satisfy the desires of history junkies, nature lovers, shoppers, and everyone in between.
Guadalcanal is the largest island in the Solomon Islands, the third largest archipelago in the South Pacific, with 992 islands and a total area of 28,450 square kilometers.
The capital of the Solomon Islands, Honiara, a picturesque seaport with a population of 54,600, is located on the northern coast of Guadalcanal.
The island of Guadalcanal is mountainous and covered in tropical rainforests and its coasts are lined with palms and white sandy beaches.
Guadalcanal is well-known for its pivotal role in World War II, with the Battle of Guadalcanal turning the tide in favor of the Allies in the Pacific theater.
Guadalcanal today is still filled with many World War II relics and monuments.
With world-class sunken WWII vessels lying close to the shore, Guadalcanal is the obvious place to start your diving adventures.
Most sites can be reached by car from the capital, Honiara. Some top draws:
about 12km west of Honiara, a giant-sized Japanese merchant transport ship, also known as the Hirokawa Maru, lies just a few fin strokes offshore.
also known as Kinugawa Maru, the upper works break the surface a towel’s throw from the beach, about 500m west of Bonegi I.
a big ship that lies upside down, east of Honiara.
Tulagi, less commonly known as Tulaghi, is a small island (5.5 km by 1 km) in Solomon Islands, just off the south coast of Ngella Sule.
The town of the same name on the island (pop. 1,750) was the capital of the British Solomon Islands Protectorate from 1896 to 1942 and is today the capital of the Central Province.
Easily accessible from Honiara, Tulagi is a must for wreck enthusiasts, with awesome reef dives as well.
Try one of these remarkable dive spots:
USS Kanawha & USS Aaron Ward:
a 150m-long oil tanker sitting upright, and a 106m-long US Navy destroyer noted for its extensive arsenal. The catch? They lie deep, very deep (the Kanawha in 45m and the Aaron Ward in 65m), and are accessible to experienced divers only. Visibility is not the strong point here; expect 15m on average.
boasts regular sightings of huge manta rays.
Munda is the largest settlement on the island of New Georgia in the Western Province of the Solomon Islands, and consists of a number of villages.
It is located at the southwestern tip (called Munda Point) of the western end of New Georgia, and the large Roviana Lagoon is just offshore.
(See Solomon Islands Map).
Munda offers a good balance of wreck and reef. The wildlife highlights for divers are:
a 25-minute boat ride from Munda, this sloping reef seldom fails to produce sightings of grey reef sharks, silvertips, devil rays, snapper, batfish and turtles. You’ll have to go deep (around 50m) to see the marauding sharks.
a relaxing dive, this lively reef sits in less than 20m – perfect for novices.
features beautiful hard and soft corals and, quite often, Galapagos sharks.
South Marovo Lagoon
Marovo Lagoon is a large saltwater lagoon located in the New Georgia Islands, north of Vangunu Island. It is part of the Solomon Islands. It encompasses 700 square km and is protected by a double barrier reef system.
The Marovo Lagoon World Heritage Area in located in the Marovo Lagoon. Sightings of Indo-Pacific Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops aduncus) have been confirmed in the lagoon.
There are many islands in the lagoon, some of which are inhabited. The people speak the Marovo language and live mainly by subsistence agriculture and are skilled at fishing.
The lagoon is a popular destination for diving.
South Marovo rewards divers with a host of very scenic sites off a cluster of three lovely islands – Kicha, Mbulo and Male Male Islands
– accessible by 15- to 30-minute boat rides from the village of Peava.
Kavolavata Treasure (Gatokae Island):
a unique combination of muck diving and reef diving, with rare species of fish and invertebrates.
Toana (Mbulo Island):
a scenic drop-off dripping with luscious corals and sea fans. Another highlight is the dramatic underwater terrain.
Picnic (Kicha Island):
a constant parade of reef tropicals, dramatic drop-offs and scenic ridges.
With the outbreak of the Second World War most planters and traders were evacuated to Australia and most cultivation ceased. Some of the most intense fighting of the war occurred in the Solomons. The most significant of the Allied Forces’ operations against the Japanese Imperial Forces was launched on 7 August 1942, with simultaneous naval bombardments and amphibious landings on the Florida Islands at Tulagi and Red Beach on Guadalcanal.
The Battle of Guadalcanal became an important and bloody campaign fought in the Pacific War as the Allies began to repulse Japanese expansion. Of strategic importance during the war were the coast watchers operating in remote locations, often on Japanese held islands, providing early warning and intelligence of Japanese naval, army and aircraft movements during the campaign.