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I've been asked to get some info on this boat and the diving. Would appreciate any input good or bad.

Steve B)

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(Third time trying to reply to this, so its getting shorter ;P)

 

Did a fantastic trip on the Spirit of Solomons, sister ship to the Bilikiki, .... and loved it :lol::lol:

 

Great mix of unspoilt dive sites, with wide and critter subjects. Big boat with lots of spots to spend non-diving time. Plenty of room inside and out for cameras. Friendly, helpful crew (assistance with gear, cameras etc).

 

Go again without hesitation (if the bank balance allowed :D )

 

cheers

Leander

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Julie and I have done a lot of trips on the Bilikiki in the last 3 years or so. It's one of the most relaxed liveaboards around. I can really not think of anything bad. And so much good that i cant write it all. They did recently change managers though. The previous managers were there for a long time, but the new ones should be ok as well, they came from the Spirit.

 

You'll find plenty of tripreports on our website.

 

Cor

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LNDR..thanks for the info, I wonder why you had to try it 3 times. Maybe the server was down or something.

Steve B)

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I've done 2 trips on the Bilikiki. The crew, food and ship are excellent.

Great diving, lots of macro, reefs, wrecks and caves/cuts.

They are also very well organized with their bookings and airport arrivals/departures.

 

You'll have a great trip if you go.

 

Todd

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We ran a trip there in September, and I think only one person was unhappy (out of 18). I love that boat, and love the Solomons. The boat is run as smoothly as it could be.

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I've been on the boat on five trips, and I too love the boat and the Solomons. I've seen three sets of managers come through there, and they were all excellent. We loved Monte and Michelle (as well as Scott and Diane before them), but the new ones, Sam and Kellie, are great as well, and have two seasons behind them on the Spirit. We had them on the Bilikiki on our last trip there.

 

The boat is extremely well run, and the routine and the food are utterly satisfying and relaxing. You will undoubtedly have a good time. Eric, I'm surprised that someone on your trip didn't like it. I always think "What's not to like?" about the Bilikiki and the diving itinerary. But everyone is entitled to their own side.

 

The Solomons are especially satisfying for those who like to go their own way, and find their own critters. I think people get a bit spoiled going to places like Lembeh, where the guides point out everything. When I go to the Solomons, I not only get to find my own subjects, but I get to relate to them on my own, in my own approach, with no other pressures. I have heard alot of places talk about "diving freedom", but it really comes to fruition in the Solomons. And there is nothing like the champagne cruise on the last night..

 

Linda

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Thanks Leander, Eric, Todd, Cor and Linda for your feedback. I have passed the info on. I do feel however, that when the goal is filming macro critters having a good spotter is essential. -Steve

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If you expect to be pointed to critters on every dive, by multiple divemasters, the bilikiki isnt for you. You;d be better off in Indonesia someplace. If you want the most relaxing and easy liveaboard around, then go to the bilikiki :)

 

Cor

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I was going to go in May but could not make it work out. It is most likely on my 2009 hit list. Subject to this and that.

 

Cor if you are going in 2009 PM me and let me know when. Maybe we can hook-up.

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I've got a freebie voucher for there too... When is the best time to go?

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I've been diving for 10 years and have been all over the world and the Bilikiki is hands down the best. Everyday I think about my trip there and I can't wait to get back. The food was great, the crew was fantastic and the diving is the best I've done. You can't go wrong by going on this boat!

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Following are my thoughts regarding Spirit of Solomons.

 

First the good, which was most every aspect of the trip.

 

Excellent email and phone contact with Rick from Bilikiki . Extra baggage allowance is given to Bilikiki passengers. The special Bilikiki expedite baggage tags are nice touch. Excellent airport transportation, including the assist through the airport on the departing flight.

 

Fantastic dive crew, unparalleled service. True dive freedom. A Dinghy was always present upon surfacing or shortly thereafter. Great care exercised by staff when handling camera equipment. Gear was well rinsed and dried at end of trip.

 

I concur with not much pointing out critters for divers, but some was provided especially if you asked for it.

 

I can only think of two areas that could be improved:

 

Lunch and dinner were excellent, but breakfast left room for improvement. A nice touch would be setting coffee out for early risers.

 

Our cabin was adequately sized, but there was no area for working with a computer. There was adequate space to place a small table and small chair in the cabin. This would have been a nice improvement.

 

Nothing to do with Bilikiki, but the deforesting happening is a very sad affair. The dirt washing off from the bare hillsides had accumulated in our regulators to the extent I had to twice do a quick cleaning of each regulator.

 

Would I do the trip again? Absolutely if my bank account allowed.

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