Solomon Islands (June 2-11, 2024)

Solomon Islands (June 2-11, 2024)

  • Author: Adele Grunberg
  • Date Posted: Jun 5, 2024
  • Address: Solomon Islands

Juliet and I fly from Fiji to Honiara, the capital of the Solomon Islands, a country comprised of hundreds of remote islands, a three hour flight west of Fiji in the South Pacific. The Solomons, particularly the province of Guadalcanal, was the site of a critical battle during World War II in which American troops served successfully to defeat the Japanese military to keep them from expanding their reach further across the Pacific.

We meet up with a group of 18 others for an eight-day snorkel trip aboard the Bilikiki, an old cargo ship converted to a vessel suitable for snorkeling and diving. The boat managers of the ship sell seeds to the local indigenous islanders who in turn sell the fruits and vegetables grown from those seeds back to the ship for consumption by the guests.

Before we leave home, Juliet gathers many of her childhood stuffed animals to distribute to the children. She is pleased to share them, having meant so much to her.

Unlike in Fiji, the weather is sublime, toasty warm with calm seas and brilliant water clarity. Sadly, our first morning out, my camera breaks. Needless to say, I’m distraught about this. But I am cheered by a fellow traveler who reminds me how liberating it can be to observe without a camera, enjoying every moment without thinking about composing the perfect photo.

So, because I’m unable to take underwater photos, I must do the best I can to paint with words what I observe. The reefs are healthy, and teeming with a constant riot of fish, millions of them in various hues: aquamarine, cornflower, royal blue; teal; lime; lilac; taupe; orange; yellow; champagne; orchid; silver; black; rainbow; striped. Some mosey along in ones or twos, others dart along in large schools. The sun shines brilliantly through the clear water dappling the scenes below.

The various reefs can be as shallow as a few feet to a depth of hundreds with invertebrates cascading down the reef walls in all shapes, sizes and colors into and out of which the multitudinous fish swim and feed off the coral. There are hard and soft corals: sponges, sea fans, sea anemones, jellies, sea stars and more. Some resemble tables, mushrooms, brains, tree branches, huge heads of lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower, chimneys, elephant ears. On some reefs, the landscape is epic, dense and richly textured, magnificent underwater gardens. We snorkel through canyons, the warm water clear as crystal. I find it to be a meditative place where I take long deep breaths and dwell on the incomparable natural beauty.

One day, the boat anchors off volcanic Mary Island. The lava flows are still evident deep into the azure sea. These are starker in appearance than the reefs we’ve seen elsewhere but they have nevertheless developed invertebrates growing on them over millenniums. Juliet and I snorkel to a school of jackfish in the open ocean. There are hundreds of them, one to two feet long, light bronze on the top, silver on the sides and underneath, sometimes looking bronze, other times appearing silver as they swim, a phalanx, moving in tight formation in the shape of a ball, a triangle, a line. Is there a leader?  A means of communication between them? We watch for over an hour, swimming along directly above them, awed by their choreography.

As the ship plies the Solomon Sea, anchoring at various islands, we see only one boat other than the hand carved wooden canoes paddled by the local people. The views from the ship are spectacular, the islands sumptuously green, the sky expansive, filled with dramatic clouds.




  1. Omg, what joy at getting stuffies! What a great idea. You have me reminiscing about our trip to Raja. Can’t wait to hear how it compared to the Solomons.

  2. I feel as if you have brought me to enchanted islands. The joy the children show for the gift of Juliet’s stuffies brings us all smiles. Incredible descriptions of the visuals you are seeing while snorkeling. Love!

  3. You are really an amazing woman with you courage to snorkel at Solomon island and what a joyful experience to see those kids smile with their toys it’s precious ! Be safe always and have a wonderful time with all your amazing adventures..

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