Coconut Crab Walk
The baits are set ... and we walk into the jungle by torchlight to see a threatened species. You will be intrigued by these large and spectacular creatures.
The baits are set ... and we walk into the jungle by torchlight to see a threatened species. You will be intrigued by these large and spectacular creatures.
The Marovo Lagoon and Uepi are a photographers delight. A camera is a must. Subjects abound ... hand feed the coral fish, tropical sunsets, palm trees and white beaches, tropical rainforests.
An extensive library comprising local interests, marine and terrestrial natural history, periodicals, fiction and board games.
The island itself is covered in rainforest right down to the high water mark. There is a system of well prepared and mapped out walking trails which are sign posted at strategic points. Maps are available at the resort.
We currently adopt a low-key approach to fishing around Uepi. The reluctance to become involved with large boats and the professional fishing scene is tied to the development of Uepi as a tourist resort in the Marovo Lagoon, where an attempt to grow at a pace which is in keeping with the local changes throughout the lagoon has been part of the Resort’s philosophy. We have deliberately resisted the lure of commercial gains from high profile game fishing. The resort development plans have not included fast tracking around the lagoon in superior looking boats while the Marovo people are using the traditional dugout canoes with paddles or fiberglass canoes with outboard motors.
The other issues are conservation of the fish stocks and protection of reef areas. We are actively involved in both of these areas and are currently working towards marine reserve status for Uepi reefs.
As a result of the above, fishing at Uepi is done from outboard powered aluminium or fiberglass boats. The resort provides good light game rods and reels. If you are very serious or particular about your equipment we suggest you bring it with you. The fishing areas are relatively untouched in terms of fishing pressure. Large schools of yellow finned tuna and bonito are still sighted, despite the pressure from professional fishing fleets. Wahoo, barracuda, trevally and mackerel are most commonly caught. Generally speaking fishing is done using the trolling method which provides a great opportunity to enjoy the magic scenery of Marovo Lagoon. We can also organise throwing “poppers” in the early or late times of the day usually with good results. We do not encourage line-fishing as it damages the reefs and is best left to those familiar with fishing amongst coral, the local fishermen.
The “Slot” which runs along the ocean side of Uepi, is a deep water (2,000m) canyon and in that amount of water virtually anything is possible, including sightings of sailfish and marlin. We do not target these species and they must be released if caught. Fishing parties may be fortunate enough to be visited by a small pod of orcas, Dolphins are regularly sighted and hump backed whales pass by on odd occasions. Wheeling groups of gulls and frigate birds indicate the presence of tuna.
The Resort policy is based on treating Uepi reefs as a sanctuary and keeping those areas as fish breeding zones so that the fishing potential of the surrounding areas will be increased. This has been proven in other parts of the world and is one reason why we are encouraging the catch and release style of fishing (which will not deplete fish stock) as a possible industry for local people. Such a plan supports our renewable resource strategy for development of local industries. We do not fish the reefs of Uepi Island itself.
The absolute adventure of going fishing can be experienced at Uepi because of the underdeveloped nature of the area and the potential of the waters to produce literally anything and everything. Slowly cruising along the jungle fringed barrier reef islands with 2,000m of water beneath and the sun either slowly sinking or rising is indeed a most satisfying experience. The thrill of sighting the birds, finding the school and watching the sharks cruising through is surely not easily forgotten. Watching the fisherpeople hook up and reel in a fish for dinner brings out the Family Robinson instincts and the excitement of the catch is no doubt something that every fisherperson can relate to.
The old adage of “spend the hours in/on the water and see the sights” is true anywhere in the world. Without putting their heads beneath the surface, Uepi visitors have seen dolphins leap, somersault & play, fish fly, rays bask and flip, sharks cruise and feed, and fish of all shapes and sizes boil in the water. Others have seen marlin tail walk, whales and orcas playing, fish synchronising tail stands. These are just some of the stories, which have been told.
Kayak throughout the Marovo Lagoon,
described by James A Michiner as the “Eighth Wonder of the World”.
Kayak Solomons expeditions throughout the Marovo and Nono Lagoon are tailored to suit each group of kayaker’s level of expertise and fitness, and their interests.
The Marovo Lagoon is the largest saltwater lagoon in the world. The waters are calm and the sea-life abundant. Turtles, dolphins, rays and the occasional whale, magnificent coral gardens and prolific tropical and pelagic fish life abound, all surrounded by magnificent beaches and rainforest. Add to this the opportunity to sample genuine Pacific Island hospitality and culture whilst staying in Eco-lodges within villages dotted throughout the lagoon. This will ensure that the experience of kayaking in this pristine and unspoilt environment will be truly unique.
Expedition costs include fully guided expedition, all food, accommodation, taxes, kayaks and equipment. Expeditions are for a minimum of 3 nights.
Each kayaking expedition begins and ends at Uepi Island Resort (3 nights total - charged at Uepi Island Resort accommodation rates).
The first full day will be spent at Uepi and kayakers will have plenty of time to meet their kayak guide, become familiar with equipment and safety procedures, review skills and be introduced to Solomon Island culture, customs and natural history. The expedition commences on the second full day.
KAYAK SOLOMONS offers Uepi Resort guests the opportunity to experience kayaking at its best.
NO PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE REQUIRED
KAYAK SOLOMONS kayaks are easy to manage and you will be fully instructed in their use before your trip. Choose from the different trips offered and speak with the Dive Instructor or Uepi Managers to finalise details. All trips are guided.
Starting as the sun rises, circumnavigate either Uepi or Charapoana Islands. This is a wonderful time of the day to interact with nature, with a real possibility of dolphin pods, flying fish & turtles being sighted.
Orientation 1 1/2 hours (evening prior to trip). Paddle 1 1/2 hours.
This trip can also be done at other times of the day if dawn is not suitable.
Situated on Vangunu Island, this river is a beautiful place to visit for a number of reasons. It's leafy coolness surrounds you and the bird life is prolific, especially kingfishers with their exotic colours flitting through the dappled sunlight. Occasional small rapid areas give the kayaker an opportunity to experience a safe but exciting ride. The people of Michi village use some of the river banks for subsistence farming. Kayakers have the opportunity to meet some of these people and learn about their culture. Can be done as either a half day or full day trip.
Kayak to Raruso Keoro, a sandy beach lining the fringing lagoon of an untouched barrier reef island. Snorkel the shallow adjacent coral gardens or venture to the deep water reef edge.
The availability of trips is subject to weather conditions and local factors. If these trips are not available, substitute trips will be offered.
The wonderful thing about snorkelling at Uepi is that you can simply fall off the edge of the island and have access to some of the most fascinating underwater ecosystems to be found anywhere in the world.
Uepi Island drops off into 50 metres of water at the Welcome Jetty and 2,000 metres at The Point. A fringing reef extends along Charapoana Passage and the ocean side of Uepi. Coral “gardens” are found at Uepi Point and Divers Bay. Charapoana Passage is a deep passage allowing water movement to and from Marovo Lagoon and the open ocean called “The Slot”. Despite this movement of water, the Channel provides a very safe area for snorkelling. Snorkelling access places are at:
1 The wooden jetty (“Welcome” Jetty)
2 The Dive Jetty
3 The Lagoon
An experienced snorkeller can easily snorkel from Inside Point to Uepi Point. All of the reef along the Channel is first class snorkelling. Hover amongst huge schools of fish, cruise past large gorgonian fans, check out the vase sponges, nudibranchs, feather stars, octopus and the never ending array of colourful tropical fish. Of particular interest is the clam garden at the wooden jetty (Welcome Jetty), lion fish and pink anemone around the Dive Jetty and beautiful coral gardens at Uepi Point. All of the above Uepi jetties have resident fish schools, each quite different from the other.
Other things to look for at the jetties are moray and snowflake eels, plus many small invertebrates in the cracks and holes. Because of the water movement there are times each day when the visibility will be less than perfect, however because of the water movement the variety of marine life is spectacular.
The Divers Bay area, also known as KOPI TAPE (Bay of Rays) is an excellent area for snorkelling and just a short boat trip from the dive jetty. Divers Bay is a small lagoon with an outer reef including four large bombies, a sandy bottom and an inner reef area. The inner reef has some interesting topography with cave/crevice areas, overhangs and bombies. Hard coral species are found and the bombie tops are home to many colonies of anemones and associated fish. It is easy to snorkel to the outside reef bombies which have shallow reef tops but drop off to 2,000 metres on the outer edge.
As indicated by the name, Kopi Tape (Divers Bay) was a traditional home for a school of pygmy manta rays (devil rays). Pre 1996 it was common to see 10-20 rays gliding together. After a severe dose of coral bleaching, caused by an increase in water temperature (the effect of “El Nino”), the rays disappeared. However the rays are coming back and coral at Kopi Tape (Divers Bay) has since regenerated or regrown back to its spectacular best.
Marovo Lagoon - the sandy bottomed lagoon area has some bombies and reef areas, which are quite different to Charapoana and Kopi Tape. Being a sandy bottom, the tunnelling type molluscs are common (particularly in very shallow water) and of course the shrimp/gobie combos. Some fan worms, crabs and anemones also live in these waters. Larger spaces exist between discoveries leaving you more time for reflection.
Other dive sites great for snorkelling include Tamalivi, Deku Dekuru, Roma & Kuru Kuru.
Uepi is surrounded by a truly remarkable marine environment and every effort is made to protect it.
The Wickham wrecks are back!
WWII Ship Wrecks
These wreck dives are located at Wickham Harbour approx 50 km South West of Uepi Island Resort, a boat trip of around 75 - 90 minutes. Note that the taking of souvenirs from any WWII site above or below water is illegal & there are severe penalties. These dives can potentially be dived as inexperienced, advanced or even very advanced dives, so divers will be expected to dive within their qualifications and experience.
Wickham Harbour (no actual harbour facilities, just the name) is actually the southern entrance to Marovo Lagoon from the Coral Sea. Exposed to a moderate amount to southern swells, the outer reaches of Wickham can be affected by rough seas, so there may be days when we do not offer this excursion.
Because these sites are custom sites they may be withdrawn at any time.
Japanese Freighter used in WWII, wrecked in 1942. It is 540 tons and is up to 50 metres long. Lying in approx 30 - 40m of water sitting upright in good condition with the deck starting at about 32m and the bottom of the holds in about 38m, with the stern in about 40m.
The wreck has two main cargo holds one of which holds a large amount of various calibre machine-gun ammunition, mortars, field artillery shells, unopened boxes, bicycle tires and various unknown articles. The other hold contains coal, 44 gallon drums, cables etc. The forward storage lockers
contain kerosene lanterns, mantles, floodlights, sake bottles, colognes, a shaving kit, beer bottles and various other items. The engine room can be seen from the rear cargo hold and above the gangway at the rear of the boat. The engines, gauges, dials and various other equipment is still intact and can be easily seen in this area. Crockery, glassware and other items have been found throughout the various cabins at the rear of the ship. The deck superstructure consists of winches, spare anchors, the main mast (complete with a large brass masthead lantern) and other scattered debris. Fish abound around the wreck including mangrove jack, cod, schooling arracuda and trevally. The wreck is covered in corals including gorgonian fans and black coral. This wreck is appealing to both experienced wreck divers and reef divers looking for something different.
There are areas which can be penetrated by the more experienced wreck diver such as the engine room and front storage locker, however an great overview of the ship can be obtained by encircling the wreck, swimming through the ammunition cargo holds and over the decks taking in the superstructure.
A Japanese freighter used in WW11. It is 775 tons and estimated up to 55 metres long. It was sunk 26th December 1942. It is upright and in good condition although the stern has been subject to an explosion and is moderately damaged. The wreck was sunk near a Japanese base at Wickham harbour in 1942. She lays upright in 38m of water with the bow slightly raised. The masthead is at about 15m and the top of the superstructure about 28m. The ship is believed to have been skip bombed: this is evident through holes in the starboard side, just above the water line near the bow. The ship has two cargo holds, one large hold towards the front of the ship and one smaller one amidships. The forward hold contains two large artillery pieces each approximately 5m long. They lay on their sides and the wheels, barrels and sighting apparatus are all visible. 44 gallon drums can also be found in the hold. This cargo was possibly bound for the head base at Guadalcanal but the position of the vessel suggests that it may have been nosed into the reef to unload stores for the nearby land-base holding approximately 300 troops. Alternatively once hit it may have been deliberately driven onto the reef in close proximity to the military base.
A main feature of this wreck is the easily accessible engine room, various deck equipment including anchors & winches. Marine life is reasonably abundant with a resident and very curious school
Located about 1 km from the other two wrecks this wreck sits upright in 40m. There is a gun mounted on the foredeck but the holds are barren having been emptied by salvagers. The stern of the vessel has been blown by explosives. But this wreck often has very good visibility. Very large fish such as giant trevally & huge cod live in the open superstructure & huge schools of fish swarm over it. This makes it a very popular dive for photographers. Various opinions as to the origin & nationality of this vessel have been offered ranging from Japanese freighter to USA troop carrier.
Another Unidentified wreck
The fourth wreck, the latest addition, is the largest and shallowest (15m to 27m) with the deck at 15m, making it the obvious last dive. It is upright and in good condition. It also has very prolific fish life, a wheeled artillery piece on the bow and four cargo holds. Great for photos.
Most of these dives are some distance from Uepi so are offered as excursions. In Marovo Lagoon, Uepi Island Resort has negotiated with the local reef owners a ‘Custom Fee’ to dive on their reefs. This recognises local ownership & customs. The ‘Custom Fee’ is an additional charge to the standard dive rate. In some cases additional trip fees also apply as an add-on to the normal dive price, collectively called ‘Custom Fees’. Dives on Uepi Island do not attract Custom Fees.
Because these sites are custom sites they may be withdrawn at any time. Charapoana Point:
On the other side of the channel to Uepi Point. A very exciting dive where many fish congregate to feed where two currents meet. Many sharks, schools of barracuda, trevally, tuna and many other pelagics can be seen swirling around in the currents. There are several convenient places to ‘stop’ and check out the action. Then up into the shallows to see excellent fishlife & corals, maybe see huge numbers of pipefish or the very large basket sponges also in this area. Deku Dekuru:
25 minutes from Uepi. This dive includes a series of shallow cave and cavern systems. For the ‘Hidden Cave” you need an experienced guide just to find the cave & then lead you thru a bewildering twisting maze of a cave. The “Open Cave” is a spectacular canyon with beautiful coral reflections framing the overhead green jungle against the blue sky. The “Dark Cave” is a comfortable enclosed tunnel emerging you from the darkness into the bluest of blue water. Deku is different & provides outstanding, unique but demanding photo opportunities. The walls between the three cave areas also offer some interesting overhangs and very pretty corals with a fair chance of seeing rays & turtles. Lumalihe Passage:
Thirty minutes from Uepi. Lumalihe leads from the Marovo Lagoon into The Slot. Best on an incoming tide. This is an impressive, wide & long, deep-water passage with prolific fish life, large fans, craggy overhangs & sharks. Ideal for multilevel diving, with the shallow depths just as fascinating as the deeper. Diverse & big. General Store:
Fifteen minute boat trip from Uepi. The dive commences on a stunning drop off festooned with invertebrates including colourful sea fans. Nudibranchs are common. Eagle rays & the occasional hammerhead glide past. After checking out the wall divers reach a large bombie perched on the dropoff edge. Profusely covered in rich life from the depths to the crest at 5 metres divers traverse the various depths. Leaving the bombie by crossing a hard coral garden, divers enter an extensive swim through area that takes them into shallow hard coral gardens. The variety of corals in this area is amazing – excellent photographic opportunities with interesting light effects. Noted for close encounters with families of bumphead parrotfish and the endemic Solomon Island anemone fish. A swim along the wall takes you back to the crest of the bombie for your exit. Named General Store as it has a bit of everything. Binusa & KuruKuru
Just along from General Store are both typically good wall dives. Mongo Passage:
A renowned deep water passage dive half an hour from Uepi. Best with an incoming tide & strong currents. The mid depth wall is carpeted with a glorious, golden, soft coral. Streaming fish and the outside facing wall is stunning. Very varied fish life. Billy Ghizo Point:
Ten minutes from Uepi. A triple combination of good dropoff wall diving, swim thru riddled coral gardens & a brilliant point. The point is small but covered in colourful invertebrates. The soft corals are outstanding & several gorgonian fans are home to the exquisite pygmy seahorses. A whole dive can be spent exploring or photographing the point. Like other sites cuttlefish are often seen. Mateana Reef:
This extensive reef lies straddled across a wide but shallow passage between two islands. There are millions of small reef fish living all over this hardcoral reef. A maze of colour & movement. No need to dive deep but the topography from below is impressive. Eagle rays frolic off the wall at mating times. Babata Sinkhole/Taiyo Fishing Boat Wreck/P38 wreck & Dauntless Dive-Bomber Aircraft wrecks:
These 3 dives are done together in a full day excursion, “The Bapita Trip”. From Uepi Island Resort past Seghe through Nono Lagoon to the “Canoe Passage”, a narrow man-made canal connecting Nono with a backwater nestled between the mainland and a vegetated fringing reef. Often described as an everglade. The waterway deepens into a substantial lagoon confined by an impressive high cliff & a vegetated fringing reef. Where a narrow channel leads into the open sea the boat is tethered under a wave-cut platform.
The ‘Sinkhole’ directly under it in a few metres of water is a vertical shaft allowing comfortable descent to 28 metres. A horizontal cave then traverses about 20 metres seawards where the ceiling ends and the cave develops into a canyon with widening vertical walls. The floor terminates at about 50 metres depth where the broken remains of a USA barge rests, right on the lip of a deep drop-off. The marine life is nice especially the flashing file shells. The topography is spectacular above & below water.
Taiyo Fishing Boat Wreck The “TAIYO” boat is a wrecked 35 metre tuna fishing boat. Run aground on its maiden voyage, a salvage attempt has left it completely vertical, perched precariously bow up stern down against a sheer dropoff face. The bow is in 1 metre of water and the stern rests on a narrow coral ledge. Below it the drop-off plunges downwards into the blue.
The boat is completely intact and is fully equipped. A surreal sight. Silvertip sharks cruise by at times.
P38 Fighter: This aircraft wreck is situated off the airstrip at Seghe, in about 8 metres and is in excellent condition. Being intact, divers can easily see the many features of this huge, twin fuselage, single seater WWII fighter. The surrounding reef is a great spot for soft corals, nudibranchs, colourful elephant ear sponges & a bit of ‘mucking’.
Dauntless Dive-Bomber Aircraft Located in 13m & close to the P38 these two wrecks are normally combined as the shallow water final dive of the Bapita Trip. Upside down but intact except for the cockpit cowling the unique features of this very successful dive-bomber can be easily seen; radial engine, bomb in the cradle & perforated air brakes amongst them. Imagine yourself being the rear-gunner as this amazing flying machine dives vertically down at a target, release the bombs at close quarters, brakes so hard you momentarily black-out then flips upwards to escape whilst you shake away the G-force effects & spray the target with 50 cal to keep the enemy gunners sheltering.