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In 2003, I won the EPIC Photo Contest's digital category and was awarded as a prize a trip to the Solomon Islands aboard the Bilikiki! What a perfect excuse to go to the Solomon Islands, which is one of the least visited areas in the world by tourists. I took advantage of the trip to visit Uepi Island Resort as well, and the photos found in this travel journal are from both the Bilikiki and Uepi island.

The Solomon Islands are one of the least visited tourist destinations in the world, with anywhere from 1,000-5,000 tourists visiting each year (the number changes depending on who you talk to). As a result, many of the dive sites feature pristine reefs with plenty of fish life. However, fishing (and logging) is affecting the local environment in the Solomons, and tuna boats frequently come in to take entire schools of bait fish. A small custom fee is paid to each of the local reef owners per dive/diver, and hopefully this financial incentive will encourage chiefs to protect the reefs under their control.

Trip Dates:     August 11-31, 2004
Vessel/Lodging:   M/V Bilikiki (the boat) and Uepi Islands Resort (the resort), Solomon Islands
Visit Sites:
  Brisbane (Australia), Florida Islands, Russell Islands, Mary Island, Uepi Island

Bilikiki Managers: Craig "Monty" Sheppard and Michelle Gaut
The Crew: Frank, Peter, Andrew, Norman, Tim, Michael, Wilson, Max, John V, Ben, John Lee
Uepi Island Resort: The Kelly Family - Grant, Jill, Wesley, and Jason

  Bilikiki: Eric Cheng (San Francisco), Greg and Wendy Kime (Michigan), Haines and Jennifer O'Neil (Alabama), Jon Fellows & Judy Hemenway (San Diego), Stephen Peters (Alaska), Lesley and Ian Patterson (Adelaide), Joe and Heidi Jonovic (Los Angeles), Olga Ramalho (Lisbon)

Uepi: Eric Cheng (San Francisco), Stephen Peters (Alaska), Olga Ramalho (Lisbon), Ocean (South Australia), Carmen (Western Canada), Jenny (Scotland), Piero and Paula (Italia), John and his wife (Ft. Lauderdale), Tony and Debbie (Honiara and Australia), Sam and Susan (Australia), and some more that I didn't get to meet properly.

Our route on the Bilikiki in the Solomon Islands

Disclaimer: PLEASE do not ask the managers of the Bilikiki or Uepi Island Resort to dive the specific sites you come across in this travel journal. Sites chosen for your particular booking will take into consideration scheduling and current site conditions, and may not match this specific itinerary. Each trip is unique in its chosen dive destinations!

Also, in an effort to get these photos up quickly, I haven't had a chance to proof-read and of the text. I'll get to it eventually, but in the meantime if you find any typos, brain-farts, or other errors, please let me know. :)

Note on gallery photos:
Unfortunately, in the gallery import process, my locations were somehow corrupted (a bug in Exhibition Engine), so nearly none of the images you will see in the gallery will show the proper location. However, the locations are coded accurately into the image keywords, and all of the links from the travel journal will show the proper images from that section or dive site. So look in the image keywords for the dive site name, which will typically be in the form: "solomons2004_[dive site here]"

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Solomon Islands 2004
- Solomons Home
- Photographic Notes
- Best of: Photos
- Leave a Message!

- Getting There: Brisbane
- The Bilikiki and Staff
- The Passengers
- Local Villages (Aug 18)

Diving: Florida Islands
- Tanavula Point (Aug 13)
- Kovohika Island (Aug 13,15)
- Velvia Reef (Aug 13)
- Anuha Island (Aug 14)
- Tulagi-Switzer (Aug 14,15)
- Njanjalakalonga (Aug 15)
- Nembelau Rock (Aug 15)

Diving: Russell Islands
- Karumolun Point (Aug 16)
- Leru Cut (Aug 16)
- Bat Cave (Aug 16)
- N/E Mane (Aug 16)
- Rainbow Reef (Aug 23)
- Wreck of the Ann (Aug 23)
- White Beach (Aug 23)

Diving: Marovo Lagoon
- Kokoana Passage (Aug 17)
- Lumalihie Passage (Aug 18)
- Lagoon Point (Aug 20)
- Mbulo Island Canyons (Aug 20)
- Wickham Island (Aug 21)

Diving: Mary Island
- Barracuda Point (Aug 22)

Photos by Subject
- Clownfish/Anemones
- (links coming soon!)

Uepi Island Resort
- Uepi Island Resort

More Eye Candy and Stuff
- Travel Journals Home
- Photography Home

External Links
- Bilikiki Cruises
- Uepi Island Resort
- Reef & Rainforest
- Wetpixel - UW Digital Photo

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