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Guadalcanal, with capital Honiara, has been the stage of heavy WWII battles leaving plenty of wrecks and planes left for us divers to explore.
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: Although land and water temperatures are in the high twenties year-around, the best time to visit Guadalcanal is in the dry season from July to December.
Guadalcanal is one of the larger islands in the center of the Solomon Islands and home to the capital Honiara. It was heavily battled during WWII, especially in 1942 and 1943 when the Americans liberated Guadalcanal from the Japanese occupation that began in 1939. Some of the heaviest fights were fought just offshore Honiara in Iron Bottom Sound, named after the many resulting wrecks that are littering the ocean floor. Since Iron Bottom Sound is deep, many of the wrecks are too deep even for nitrox diving.
Honiara is the largest town on the Solomon Islands; often the first visit for tourists coming from Henderson International Airport. There are plenty of land based activities such as visiting some of the historic World War II sights including Vilu Village War Museum, the Japanese War Memorial at Poha River and Cape Esperance. You can also hike towards the Tenaru Falls and Mataniko Falls spotting birds on the way. You can stroll around the beautiful harbor Point Cruz or visit the National Art Gallery. The island offers in palm fringed white beaches, traditional villages (Moro Village, Kokumbona Village), lush tropical rainforest and a 2400 meter high mountain range. Other highlights are a huge clam farm, the pretty coral formations at Marau Sound and the spectacular islands Tavanipupu and Vulelua. From Honiara, many tourists commence their journey to Gizo, Uepi or Tulagi.
Wreck dives are very popular and at Bonegi Beach you can find the Hirokawa Maru and the Kinugawa Maru, two of Solomon's most interesting shipwrecks. You can dive at aircrafts, cannons, destroyers, warships, mine sweepers, oil tankers, submarines, tanks, guns and many other war relics. Besides all these add-ons to the already stunning underwater environment, you can explore healthy coral formations and pristine reefs all overcrowded with marine life. It is one of the best scuba diving and snorkeling destinations in the world.
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