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mackerel and a good assortment of reef fish. Secret Spot was another brilliant wall dive with dazzling corals decorating its walls. At this site we had some great shark action, with at least four grey reef sharks buzzing around us. Other marine life included batfish, snapper, pufferfish and humphead parrotfish. However the highlight was seeing a pod of spinner dolphins in the blue water. Two lovely hard coral dives we enjoyed were Mbigo Mbigo and Marlon’s Crack. Both start at the same entry point, you just go left or right to explore each site. These sites feature

Located in the Western Provinces of the Solomon Islands, Munda is a small town with a big reputation for wonderful diving. Situated at the western end of New Georgia Island, from Munda divers can explore dozens of islands and reefs, and see coral gardens, sheer walls, World War II plane wrecks, a Japanese shipwreck and even a cave. Taking divers to over thirty dive sites in the area is Dive Munda. Based at the Agnes Gateway Hotel on the waterfront, Dive Munda work closely with the hotel to provide package deals for groups or individual divers. Dive Munda have a fleet of

A highlight of our dive on the Japanese Zero fighter plane was seeing this writing still in place after 75 years underwater.

nice walls, but in the shallows are coral canyons, swim-thrus and small caves decorated with very healthy hard corals. At these sites we saw barracuda, trevally, reef sharks, mackerel, batfish and gropers. But the highlight was a group of five broadclub cuttlefish just hanging out. The most unique reef dives we did were at two newly discovered sites called Langarana and Belo Belo. These two limestone islands have dramatic walls where we encountered schools of barracuda, trevally and a good variety of reef sharks. There were also gropers, turtles and a respectable population of reef fish and invertebrates. Plus the corals were stunning, with the walls decorated with beautiful soft corals and row upon row of huge gorgonians. However, the most unique feature of these sites was found at the end of each dive, when we reached the inner sheltered side of the

dive boats, and depending on demand and the experience of divers, they can have several boats heading out each day to different dive sites. A typical day sees them offer a double dive in the morning and a single dive in the afternoon, with night dives when requested. But some of their dive sites are done as a day trip, which includes three dives and a picnic lunch on a palm tree studded island. We recently spent a week exploring Munda’s amazing dive sites with Dive Munda, but quickly found out that a week wasn’t nearly enough time to see all the brilliant and varied dive sites in the area. THE REEFS If you love beautiful healthy corals and colourful reef fish, you will be spoilt for choice in Munda. One of Munda’s most famous reef dives is only 15 minutes from the dive shop, the spectacular Shark Point. Featuring a dramatic wall and a current swept point, there is always lots to see at Shark Point. We started this dive descending down the wall, stopping at 30m, but it was so tempting to go deeper as we could see delightful corals below. Drifting along the wall we soon got busy photographing gorgonians and lovely red whip corals, while around us danced schools of fusiliers, surgeonfish and snapper. But this is a spot where you can’t spend too much time admiring the corals, or you miss the action happening behind you in the blue water. Cruising this wall we saw gropers, Maori wrasse, a school of barracuda, groups of batfish and several reef sharks. Scalloped hammerheads are sometimes seen at Shark Point, we didn’t see any, but did see a graceful mobula ray. Another wonderful coral site is Haipe Reef. This pinnacle reef has a top covered in lush hard corals and walls coated with soft corals, gorgonians, whip corals and sponges. We enjoyed a gentle drift dive on this reef and encountered reef sharks, large pufferfish, moray eels,

Helen inspects the engine and prop of the Japanese Zero fighter plane.

Wonderful hard corals are a feature at many Munda dive sites

www.divelog.net.au | ISSUE 375 | OCTOBER 2019 | DIVE LOG Australasia inc. Sportdiving Magazine | 25

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