Custom Trip - November 8 to 15, 2016

Welcome on board to our new guests from Cross Fit Albert Park in Melbourne. Weather looks good, so we should be in for a good week.

We begin our adventure in the sunny Florida Islands. Check out dive this week was at Ghavutu Wharf. For divers like Sarah and Cassie this was the first time outside of cold Port Phillip Bay waters and boy did they love the 29 degrees of the Solomons. Meyric took Imogen for an intro dive checking out the old colonial wharf. Mike briefed up intro divers for their first underwater experience, while Jax and John took the certified divers on a cruise of the fishing boat and landing barge wrecks. Shona spotted a few interesting crustaceans including two baby mantis shrimp. For the second dive of the day skipper Dan jumped in for a dive on the Mavis with our certified divers, while our intros took the plunge at the Ghavutu Wharf. They were off in just a few minutes, Gordon racing around checking out the WW2 artifacts, with Caitlin and Leah hot on his heels. On the way to Kovahika we stopped by Tulagi to pick up a speed boat for more fun later on! At Kovahika we jumped for a dive at Ed’s Wall. James and Nick loved the amount of fish there and Glenn even saw a shark. Lauren and Mel also did their first intro dive of the trip. After the dive it was time for Mel to do her thing and give everyone a water-skiing demonstration, while others like Lauren went for a snorkel around the tiny island. Thanks Floridas for a great first day.

Welcome to the Russells everyone. This week we begin our Russells adventure at the WW2 supply base; White Beach. Snorkel and ski boating was the order of the day for Gordon, Meyric and Imogen, while the rest of the group went for a dive among the wreckage left by the US after WW2. The intro group of Mel, Caitlin, Leah and Lauren caught up with the certified divers underwater just in time for some selfie action among the fish and coral of the beautiful shallows. Next up was time to head to an old favourite; Rainbow Reef. Divers like Hans and Kristie were amazed by the amount of fish life on the bommie and spotted barracuda, grey whalers and even a well camouflaged scorpionfish. After Rainbow we headed to the beach for a relaxing afternoon at Funnel. The crew and guests alike had a great time on the stand up paddleboards and our keen intro divers went for another dive along the beautiful reef. Mel and James showed us all how to waterski, with Lauren, Caitlin, Imogen, Meyric, Jax and Mike all having a go as well. Great fun in the sun. Shona missed diving so much she convinced instructor John to jump in with her for another explore. We steamed around to Karamulon Island to anchor and watch the beautiful sunset. Another day in paradise.

We began Saturday with a village visit to Karamulon where we were welcomed by Heorge; a senior member of the community who was hosting festivities in Chief Raymond’s absence. Guests were treated to a floral lei before sitting down to watch the show. The men and boys performed custom war dances and the women lullabies before the whole village came out to sing for us. We went for a tour around the village where everyone made some friends with the local children. After that we went for a dive around the edges of Karamulon along the beautiful protected fringing reef. Sarah, James, Kristie, Cassie, Meg and Nick were ready for some deep diving skills as they began their advanced course with Jax. Go team Advanced!! Team Intro jumped in again with Mike and were delighted to get some great go-pro footage of nemo and friends. Next up was the newly discovered and spectacular Stencils at NW Mane. Team Advanced was on a drift dive, cruising along the wall, while Glenn and Hans went looking for sharks. The intro girls went flying over the top with Mike, everyone having a great ride with the current. Spectacular dive! We headed around to Mane for anchorage where Meyric, Imogen and Gordon had a SUP challenge; to jump the mooring line without face planting. Gordon showed us what a pro he is and Imogen quickly followed suit. Night time came around and team advanced was off again to show off their night diving skills. Meg even found an octopus to check out.

And we are off to mysterious Mary Island. Jumping in for their navigation dive was Team Advanced. But never mind that, with some careful co-ordination Leah and the Intro group were able to meet up Dan and Shona. Everyone snuck away and left Leah to pop the question to Shona. And she said…YES!!! Woohoo congratulations Leah & Shona. Barracuda Point was up next and it lived up to it’s reputation delivering a massive school of trevally right in front of Meyric, Hans, Kristie, Cassie and Glenn. Mel, Leah, Lauren and Caitlin descended right into the middle of it. Amazing. There were even a few sharks down deeper for Sarah and James to check out. For Dive 3 Team Advanced completed their Peak Performance Buoyancy dive, practicing all kinds of skills with differing weights Good fun and learning, while the others went off to repeat Barracuda Point. If all that diving wasn’t enough Glenn, Cassie, Sarah and Krisite went for another once we had returned to Mane. They were blown away by the amount and variety of life at NE Wall on their dusk dive with John. Con

NE Mane was up again for the morning dive, thanks to the recommendation from last night’s group. Turtles were hanging around for some of our lucky divers and even a shark or two. Dive two was at Mirror Pond where everyone was enthralled surfacing in the middle of the island with jungle on all sides. The current was running so Team Advanced got to put their newly learned skills into practice drifting all the way along the beautiful wall to NW Mane. Current was also running on dive 3 as we exited the stunning Leru Cut. Gordon became the first man in history to SUP into the cut while the others followed below on scuba.  The beach was the next stop for some friendly cricket, where Hans took a spectacular catch. Kristie went off exploring on her SUP and even the crew joined in the beach action. Finally we headed back to White Beach for a night dive filled with interesting critters to finish off another great day.

A day of exploring. We headed down South of the Russells steaming through the Sunlight Channel checking out the spectacular scenery. We headed to the unexplored Victoria Shoal, now nicknamed Fish Tank by Meyric and Dan. Fish everywhere. Thousands of fusiliers, rainbow runners, trevally and oceanic triggers circled the mound of lovely corals. A mild current to hook into and we were happy. For the final dive of the trip we headed to Lavinia Shoal where some big sharks cruised past James, Sarah, Hans and Kristie who were hooked in on top of the reef. Meg was overjoyed to finally see the turtle she had been wishing for all trip. A perfect trip was finished off on a remote tropical beach where local kids (and Glenn!) climbed palm trees to bring down fresh coconuts. What more could you ask for!!!