Diving in the Solomons offers a wealth of different experiences.
As we all know, everyone’s scuba diving bucket list keeps growing. You keep ticking them off, but then you hear a whisper as a group is talking while on a trip and then, all of a sudden, there’s another destination you need to see that hasn’t hit the travel radar yet.
Right now there is a new whisper on the radar and Solomon Islands needs to be the new destination on your list!
Arguably one of the least investigated and dived destinations on the planet, the Solomons offer some of the world´s most pristine diving spots, including beautiful reefs, macro, big animals, wrecks, and caves. Add to that the history, the friendly people, and the most beautiful beaches you will ever see and you have a truly amazing diving destination.
The Solomons are part of the Coral Triangle which, as every diver knows, has a staggering diversity of marine species. Even so, Solomon Islands diving is one of the South Pacific’s best kept secrets!
The country is relatively new to tourism, which is one reason why the reefs are pristine. In general there will be almost no other divers to share your sites with on a liveaboard trip. The sheer number of species of hard and soft corals, as well as the general diversity, rivals the best in Asia, including places like Raja Ampat and the Philippines.
So what’s so special about the diving there?
Well, here is a little information on some of the most popular dive sites in Solomon Islands…
Leru Cut is one of, if not THE, signature dive site of the Solomons. This canyon cuts almost 100m into Leru Island. Above the water line, the walls of the canyon rise high above making this one of the more dramatic dives you can imagine.
As the sun shines through the trees and cracks in the rocks, the beams bounce around the chasm creating hypnotic patterns that are a boon to underwater photographers. Outside of the cut is a fabulous wall teeming with fish life.
Twin Tunnels, another unique site crafted in the rock, is one of the best reef dives in the world. These 2 huge lava tubes, tunnels of 120m in diameter, are covered with fans and whip corals. You can explore the inside of the tubes down to around 36m, at which point they open up to the ocean on the side of a reef wall. This is where you are met by scores of baitfish, which attract the large pelagic feeders – kingfish, tuna and shark.
Amazing Reef Diving
Devils Highway is a more traditional site compared to the ones above and is well-known for its population of resident manta rays. Washed by racing, nutrition-rich currents, these wonderful creatures perform their magical feeding dance over a shallow reef. The odds are good for spotting other pelagics here too, such as sharks. Just hook into the reef and watch the action!
Mary Island is notable for an underwater point that commonly hosts schools of barracuda, jacks, trevally, and sharks. Bumphead parrotfish are also in attendance. As if that’s not exciting enough, there’s an underwater volcano nearby that gives off the occasional rumble! If you like big stuff, you are going to love it here!
Just off Hai Island, during WWII, a US military base code named ‘White Beach‘ used to sit behind the mangroves. When the troops departed at the end of the war, they simply pushed everything they no longer needed, or that was too expensive to transport home, into the sea. This included trucks, jeeps, tractors, bulldozers, and large amounts of ammunition.
More than 70 years later, while there isn’t a beach in sight, the name has stuck. White Beach is now a great dive site for history, wreck, and macro lovers alike! Plenty of mandarin fish, harlequin shrimp, nudibranch, jawfish, pipefish, millions of juvenile fish to see here, as well as the fascinating archer fish that shoot insects above the water with water jets in order to feed!
The Wrecks of Iron Bottom Sound
And while we are on wrecks, the Solomons was, of course, the centre of one of the fiercest naval battles in the Pacific…Operation Watchtower, better known as the Guadalcanal Campaign.
During six months of brutal fighting, some 67 ships and almost 700 aircraft were lost. This is why the waters to the north of Guadalcanal island are still known to this day as Iron Bottom Sound.
In this area there are WWII artefacts of all kinds for divers of all abilities. In Wickham Lagoon alone, there are several Japanese cargo vessels that haven’t yet been identified. There are multiple aircraft like Japanese Mavis seaplanes and US Catalinas in the Florida Islands.
White Beach and Ghavutu Wharf, where materials were just dumped into the water, are hives of interest for enthusiasts. All the sites on this list can be dived with Master Liveaboards on the Florida and Russell Islands and Best of Solomons itineraries.
They also offer dedicated WWII wreck trips where you can see other wrecks such as USS Minneapolis, RNZN Moa, and Hirokawa Maru, among many others.
Does Anything Compare With Solomon Islands Diving?
‘Something for everyone’ is a term that is often overused. It is, however, certainly appropriate for Solomon Islands diving. Wrecks, reefs, and caves. Rec and tec. Macro and pelagic…all in the coral triangle.
Does it really get any better?