Solomon Islands Dive Expeditions

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SIDE_LOGO-100.jpgTaka-at-Point-Cruz.jpgTaka-II-Vessel-Layout-Web.jpgMaster-C.jpgDeluxe-Cabin-F.jpgLounge-1.jpgFood-5.jpgDive-Deck.jpgSchooling-Jacks-at-Mary.jpgNudibranch-1.jpgIsland-3.jpgFisherman.jpgChildren-1.jpgBeach-Walks-1.jpg

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2 reviews

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May 16, 2017

I have just returned from my 2nd trip with SIDE as the first trip was so great I had to come back! And I must say this trip was even more amazing than first time round!

The diving is the best I have experienced in the world with crystal clear water and so much healthy and spectacular coral and fish life. The soft and hard corals are so healthy and beautiful and I saw very little coral bleaching. The abundance and variety of fish life was fantastic. On a 10 night trip, 9.5 days of diving, we managed to get 38 dives. We saw sharks on most dives, we estimate on this trip we saw 100+! More than 20 turtles, huge schools of barracuda, trevally, some huge tuna and some amazing schools of big bumperhead parratfish which were pretty cool. Add to this moray eels, squid, crayfish, octopus, crocodile fish, the list goes on… (I dont get super excited by nudibrach but others on the trip found these and heaps more of the macro amazing..) On top of this we also did a few WW2 wreck dives, with a really cool plane dive and a couple of wharf dives with so much interesting stuff to see, vehicles, barges, munitions etc.. And above the water on a few occasions pods of dolphins surfed the bow wave.

Life onboard the MV Taka is great with very comfortable accomodation and the crew do an amazing job at making everyone’s trip feel special whilst ensuring everything always runs on time. Food is great and there is sooo much of it! I would’ve liked a bit more local food. As a group we requested some local curries and the chef happily accomodated with a couple of great dishes. The boat also has its own onboard desalination plant so I did enjoy a few long showers after dives.

On our trip we did 2 village visits which was a geat way to break up all of the diving we got done. Its a special experince as these communities have very little western influence and they really appreciate the interaction. This being our second trip we brought some small gifts to give to these communities to help with their schooling and also some balls and other things for the kids to play with.

I’m already looking for when I can get back to this amazing and pretty much untouched part of the world! Thank you SIDE and all the amazing crew onboard the MV Taka!

October 28, 2016

SIDE is a new operator in the Solomon Islands. This review is ofr a trip I made in 2015. I liked it so much that I am returning for Xmas 2016! Looking forward to checking out their new boat Taka.

We were greeted at the airport by a driver with a van and taken to the yacht club to await the boat’s departure. Luggage is secure there if you want to explore in town. They accept USD at the yacht club.
The staff on the boat were all fantastic. They are amenable to feedback, and even changed the meal schedule at our request.

Diving – abundances of tropical fish, super healthy coral, interesting swim-throughs and channels, some emerging in the midst of the jungle! Was disappointed that we saw only a few small sharks. I wonder if they are being overfished for the chinese market. Despite bad weather the staff managed to give us 3-4 dives every day.

The food – was plentiful and very good – mostly stirfrys. They buy the fruits and vegetables from islanders who come out to the boat in canoes to sell there produce. The staff catch fresh fish for dinners. The cook did an amazing job of accommodating special diets – on our trip we had gluten-free, vegetarian, lactose intolerant, and egg allergy.
Alcohol – they run an honor bar and you pay up with the final bill at the end of the trip. Solomon Islands beer is good. Wine selection was poor but I heard from a friend who went on the same boat in November that the selection has improved (in response to my feedback)

Accommodation: I was in a room for four people – on my own. I think it would have been crowded with four. They have just bought a new boat so this part of the review will be obsolete soon!
One of the highlights of the trip was village visits. It is the most undeveloped parts of the world that I have been to. The villages have no electricity or indoor plumbing.but best of all you can buy amazing carvings for very reasonable prices. 100-5,000 SBD

tips:
1) If you would like to buy a carving buy Solomon Island Dollars at the exchange in Honiara airport or withdraw from an atm in town before the boat departs. There are atms within two blocks of the meeting spot
2) outside of the big city there is no cell service and only Solomon Island Dollars are accepted – but the only thing to buy is carvings.
3) on departure the only place in the airport with air conditioning is the duty free store post security. There is a nice bar in there to drink one last Solomon Islands Beer (very good) There is some artwork and souvenirs to buy but not a huge selection

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