Central & Western Province - Sept 6 to 16, 2016

Taka’s off for an exciting 10 day trip to the Florida’s, Russell’s and Marovo Lagoon! 

Happy divers getting ready to jump in!

Happy divers getting ready to jump in!

Day 1 – Kicking off an exciting trip with an explosive dive! Garbage Patch littered with its many shipwrecks and unexploded ordinance made for a awesome dive as we plunged below, exploring the sites many mysteries. Some divers explored the Japanese plane dubbed Mavis while others like Nazia and Niclas went to Ghavutu Barge. Nazia and Niclas had a great dive hunting around for wrecks, finding a landing barge in about 10m of water and loads of pipefish. Divers on the Mavis descended to 30m to see the WWII sea lane made for awesome photographs for keen camera operators Roger & Stan. Next up was Ghavutu Wharf, a muck dive paradise with everyone out hunting for the small treasures. As if it wasn’t already a perfect day, the day finished with a beer overlooking rainforest-covered mountainside on a bar stool at the famous Tulagi ‘Raiders Hotel’.

Day 2 - After a well rested night, divers got up and into their dive gear to go explore the colorful waters of Switzer, where David saw a fleeting glimpse of a Hawksbill turtle. Tanavula Point was the next site with local experts James and John leading the way, Roger coming up amazed of how much macro the two boys found. Mbesiri Point had a special surprise in mind as a Hawksbill Turtle and 4 Devil Rays zoomed past Nazia and Niclas. Amazing! Stan also managed to see an octopus crawling inside a hole. Fourth site of the day was Baby Cakes for an afternoon and dusk dive. The afternoon yielded some rare nudis for Nazia and a few dogtooth tuna and black tips for Stan. David sought out a couple of scorpionfish and Roger took a few great shots of the masses of schooling fusiliers, antheas and damselfish.

Day 3 – An overnight steam to the Russell islands later, and divers awoke to find themselves at a historic WW2 site White Beach. With numerous unexploded ordnance, overturned jeeps and forklifts slowly being overgrown by coral it was truly a spectacular start to the Russell’s. Stan ‘The man’ had a great eye at our next site The Funnel where he spotted a 1.5m bull ray photogenically sitting at 25m. Karamulon Point was truly a fish soup! 16 baby grey whalers 1 hawksbill turtle and countless pelagics all converged around divers. The shallows toward the end of the dive made for an exciting swim through at fan-covered walls. Mooring at Mane Island made for a relaxing afternoon in the turquoise clear waters.

Local pikikinis at Karamulon Village in Solomon Islands

Day 4 – An early wake up for the spectacular NE Mane wall where fish life was booming and grey whaler sharks were still out to get a meal. Sunlight lit up the colorful coral as divers like Nazia and Niclas explored the pristine shallows. It was off around the corner to Mirror Pond our spectacular freshwater pond, accessed by a swim through. David and Stan were a bit worried by the possibility of the resident crocodile being home, yet only the beams of sunlight circled them in the cave. David did some pioneering with Jax, as they discovered new hidden swim throughs and passages. Leru Cut had everyone excited, with its pristine walls and spectacular blue water, made for a dive no one will easily forget. Back at Mane Bay it was time for dive four of the day at Blue Wall where there were nudis galore and even a grey reef shark or two. The final act for the day was glorious Mane Bay. Divers headed out under the canoe market off into the shallows, where Niclas managed to find himself a rather large reef resident: a saltwater crocodile. Quick on the camera Roger managed to get a clip or two of the night time visitor, before they headed back to the boat to tell the tale to the waiting Nazia.

Day 5- Isolated Mary Island was up next on the dive menu. Steaming through the night away from the Russell’s to reach Mary was well worth it as a friendly octopus came out to greet divers. Spectacular swim throughs and pristine coral made for a great first dive. Barracuda Point was up next and as always with the possibility of using a reef hook and strong currents near, excitement was high. Big eye travalley, Barracuda and Tuna all in massive schools circled the point as divers watched in awe. It was time to steam off to Marovo Lagoon!  A mild crossing later, Taka arrived at Mbulo Island.  John lead the team on twisty maze of caverns at Cathedral. Stan and Nazia experienced the full effect of the tide coming into one of the open air pools. The day was finished off with a fantastic night dive at Mbulo Coral Garden, Nazia’s first ever night dive. And Mbulo put on a show: turtles, squid, conspicuous sea cucumber and two huge cuttlefish. Welcome to Morovo!!

Day 6 – The day kicked off to a rumbling start! The boys; Jackson, Zonnie, James and Rob all caught Wahoo off the back deck, hauling in their morning catch with tremendous speed. Kavachi ensured divers that there are plenty of fish in the sea by producing 16 x Bump Head parrotfish, Barracuda schools, and hundreds of Batfish all while Kavachi, the neighboring underwater Volcano roared at its loudest. Shark Bay had divers on edge as 8 black trip reef sharks circled them during their dive. The sharks did get a chance to sink their teeth into something fleshy as we threw fresh fish into the water with Stan, Nazia, Roger, Niclas and David all holding onto the mooring line, taking pictures. Sharks thrashing left and right made for a spectacular heart pounding show.

Day 7 – Taka sheltered in the calm waters of Shark Bay while the divers went out exploring some new sites. First up was Karanjou which was nudi-lovers’ paradise. 36 nudis in the first half an hour. David had a close encounter with both a white tip reef shark and a green sea turtle while Nazia met a Hawksbill and Stan snapped away at the macro life on the shallow sloping lagoon. Second dive and our intrepid explorers headed out to Karanjou no. 2 where some turtles seemed to made their hiding place from sharks. Seeing a green turtle and a hawksbill turtle, James and David had a cracking dive. Our third exploratory dive at a Njapuana once again came back with positive results. It was Kokoanna Passage which took the days winning prize as Jackie amongst other divers spotted 2x eagle rays, 3x devil rays and a massive fish-nado of Jacks along the 30m deep soft coral walls.

Local Solomon Islands children sing a song for our guests on board Taka!

Local Solomon Islands children sing a song for our guests on board Taka!

Day 8 – The seas rough and Neptune moody made for a rocky crossing from Marovo Lagoon to the Russell islands. Bat Cave was first up and Niclas was lucky enough to see a Hammerhead. We then journeyed on to Karamulon where we dived the lagoon, which was a great new site. Roger got some excellent nudi footage. The highlight of the day was the village visit to Karamulon, where Roger was adopted by some happy locals. The afternoon dive was at Ta island which David particularly enjoyed for its gentle current pushing us out towards the point and a beautiful eagle ray which glided past him. Trigger fish galrore on this dive. Night dive was at White Beach where some happy octopus’ came out to see David, James and Roger.

Day 9 – for the final diving day of the trip we braved rough seas at Rainbow Reef, but it was well worth it. Nazia was thrilled to see so much marine life, and Stan got snap happy with his huge camera. Next up we headed to the beautiful island of Kau Kau for two dives. Stan was in wide angle heaven chasing a huge school of big eye trevally, swirling in a fishnado beneath him. The final dive was a more serene affair where we saw plenty of nudi and little critter action. What a wonderful trip of diving and experiencing Solomon life. Back into Honiara before departure tomorrow.

Trip Directors: Jax and Mike