White Beach is a spectacular dive site in the Solomons. It will certainly be one of the highlights of your trip as it was for Shaz Kozak.
After a long journey, from points all around the world, we have finally landed in Solomon Islands. There are 16 of us on board and we are tired and hungry. But most of all we are excited to begin our exploration of the Solomon Islands. At dinner, the captain announces that we are off to the Russell Islands and will begin our diving tomorrow morning. Our first dive in the Solomon Islands is at a dive site called White Beach! I, for one, can’t wait!
All night, I dream of pristine dive sites with bright blue turquoise waters and white beaches with miles and miles of sand. The sun on the water is so bright and the sand is so white that it makes my eyes hurt. I can’t wait to get there!
In the morning, I am up early and out on the deck of the boat watching as we approach our dive site. As we get closer, I see that the beach is not white at all. Instead, White Beach is actually a small cove edged by mangroves. I can smell the smoke of nearby fires which indicates we must be near a local village.
Out of the water are 8 large poles that look like they must belong to an old dock or pier. There are also several large rectangular-shaped wrecks in the water just in front of the beach. I can’t help but wonder what they are. They are clearly metal and very big.
The boat anchors offshore and I and my fellow divers gather on the back deck for our dive briefing.
History of White Beach, Solomons
It turns out that White Beach was the code name for the military base set up by the Americans during WWII in the Solomons. They built a small supply base near the local village and six large wharves. They then joined them together to create a massive pier. Nearby ships could come into the calm waters and resupply with food, ammunition, and other required supplies.
At the end of the war, rather than pack up the supplies and ship them back overseas, the military simply pushed them into the water and onto the nearby reef. The pillars and metal boxes are all that is left of the original pier. While Solomon Islands is home to many WWII wrecks, we are told this site includes a surprising array of trucks, jeeps, bulldozers, and cranes along with countless landing barges and other remnants of the war. It is all evidence of the importance that the Solomon Islands and the South Pacific played during World War II.
We line up on the back deck of the dive boat and make our giant stride onto one of the most pristine dive sites I have visited in all my years as a scuba diver.
The water is teeming with tiny reef fish including damselfish, anemone fish, and cardinalfish. Colorful reef crabs are scurrying about in the sand and among the soft corals. My dive buddy and I swim down the slope of the reef where we find huge schools of trevally circling overhead. Already, I’m impressed by the diverse marine life.
We drop down along the reef wall to the sandy bottom to explore. This is one of the most interesting wreck dives I have been on as the wrecks are all vehicles. I can see a jeep, a large truck, and what I think is a bulldozer; all within a few meters of each other. Each of the transports is now covered in life and forms part of the coral gardens. It is difficult to tell where the metal ends and where the coral reefs begin.
Upon closer inspection, it is clear the vehicles are now home to a wide variety of marine life and reef fish. We are surprised to see a juvenile fish, a favorite of many scuba divers, a graceful spadefish (batfish) swimming in and around the steering column. In the distance, we can see three small reef sharks swim by. So far, the Solomon Islands are delivering on their promise to be a top diving destination!
After spending about 30 minutes at depth, we move up into the shallow reefs. The hard and soft corals continue to impress and the reef wall includes many large sea fans.
As we hit the shore reef, we see a completely different kind of fish life. Underneath the mangroves, a school of pajama cardinals swim lazily around. Nearby, there are archerfish hunting at the surface and spitting streams of water into the jungle canopy. They use this technique to bring down small mosquitos and other bugs to feed. Among the rocks, we find hairy squat lobsters and a variety of crabs and nudibranch.
White Beach was the highlight of our dive trip in the Solomons
Diving at White Beach in the Solomon Islands is an unforgettable experience. The turquoise water and pristine coral reefs make for perfect diving conditions, and the array of marine life on display is simply astounding. This was one of the top spots on our dive trip.
Whether you’re a seasoned diver or just starting out, this is an excellent place to begin your Solomon Islands diving adventure.
Other Dive Sites in the Russell Islands
Looking at the map, we can see that there are a number of other dive sites among the small islands of the Russells. We are happy to see they are all only a short boat ride away.
Rainbow Reef is home to a big oblong saddle-shaped seamount covered with fans, soft corals, and sponges. On the edge of the Russell’s, it’s an open-ocean location similar to Mary Island with magnificent sightings of sharks, manta rays, and schooling milkfish. Underwater photographers love to shoot wide-angle here and have no problem finding incredible setups of the coral reef.
Leru Cut is one of the most iconic dive sites in the Solomon Islands and perhaps in the coral sea. The gorgeous Leru Island has a 100m-deep chasm that cuts deep into the island. It gives amazing picture possibilities as the light bounces off the walls above and below the surface. Imagine surfacing in the jungle, listening to the frogs croak, before diving into this one-of-a-kind cave. It is only accessible by joining one of the liveaboard cruises in the Solomon Islands.
Nearby Island Groups – Florida Islands
The Russell Islands are located midway between the Florida Islands and Mary Island in the Central Province of the Solomon Islands. Both of these locations offer additional opportunities for pristine reefs and wreck diving.
The Florida Islands are one of six major islands in the Solomon Islands and offer many excellent dive sites including:
- Twin Tunnels: a huge reef with large lava tubes that drop down through the island. The tubes are lined with whip corals and divers often see schools of trevally and reef sharks hunting on this coral head.
- Devil’s Highway: home to a feeding channel where manta rays congregate under the full moon to feed
- Maravagi Beach: One of the best dive sites in the Solomon Islands, Maravagi offers both muck dives and reef dives and is one of the most accessible shore dives in the Solomons. The bay contains coral bommies, patches of rubble and white-sand muck, boat wreckage, and a large bed of seagrass, all of which are inhabited by tiny creatures.
We could not have described the beauty of White Beach in the Solomons better than Shaz. Contact us for more information on the best way to dive this part of the Solomons.