Text By: Michael Zeigler
Photos by: Michael Zeigler and Todd Winner
A quick internet search on ’Solomon Islands' will quickly reveal the rich world history of this sovereign archipelago. What it will not reveal are the tales of flawless hard coral gardens of unimaginable beauty intertwined with abandoned war machines on the ocean floor. These are the untold tales that add to the mystique of the Solomon Islands and entice divers and underwater image-makers alike to this island nation in Oceania. Rich in world and natural history, the underwater seascape is, in many ways, a reflection of its storied past.
The sponge-encrusted wrecks of World War II are just some of the many draws to the Solomon Islands. Stunning topside and underwater topography quickly dominate the creative imagination of visual storytellers. Lush jungles keep the senses piqued as melodious songs fill the air courtesy of brightly colored birds hidden deep in the hillsides. Lapping at the shoreline are the clear blue waters of the Solomon Sea, full of the dynamic biodiversity one would expect from a tropical destination positioned in the Coral Triangle. From tiny hermit crabs that make their homes in the corals to swirling schools of fish, the Solomon Islands offer unforgettable encounters and endless fodder for the creatives. Flowing currents of nutrient-rich waters deliver sharks, rays, and turtles along the steep walls, while colorful anthias dance in unison above the untouched reefs. In the distance, an underwater volcano can be heard, and felt, only adding to the allure and excitement of the once-embattled islands.
On the picturesque lands above, the generous indigenous peoples of remote villages offer a glimpse into a seemingly much simpler way of life. Their gracious hospitality and willingness to share their culture enhances the journey in a way that is challenging to put into words. Local island markets offer a display of succulent fruits and vegetables adjacent to intricately carved sculptures made of kerosene wood and nautilus shell. Their pride in their work and in their place in history is not lost in translation, and their welcoming spirit only enhances the Solomon Islands experience.
From iconic sites like Leru Cut and Mirror Pond to the vast array of maritime wrecks, schools of predatory fish, brilliant soft corals, and anemonefish along with their colorful hosts, the Solomon Islands offer not only an image-maker’s paradise, but a life-changing experience for anyone who is fortunate enough to visit.
Ready for your own Solomon Island adventure? Join Nauticam ambassadors Todd Winner and Michael Zeigler on the Bilikiki in August 2019. Click on the link for more information. Solomon Islands 2019