Mbigo Mbigo Snorkeling Solomon Islands
From the moment our head slipped beneath the waves, we knew we made the right choice to snorkel Mbigo Mbigo. Skip the scuba tank and instead experience Mbigo Mbigo from the surface! The scale of this reef is something you can only experience from above.
Mbigo Mbigo is a 45-minute boat ride from Dive Munda, one of the further sites to visit while staying in Munda Solomon Islands. Mbigo Mbigo reef is off the coast of Parara Island and is characterized by canyons and ridges.
Snorkelers can experience the full range of bathymetry this reef has to offer from steep drops offs to never-ending shallow reefs. Whether you’re an experienced freediver, or just starting out, Mbigo Mbigo is one reef you don’t want to miss.
What To See
The reef extends from a rocky cliff face, and depending on the daily condition there can be some swell as your approach the wall. As you swim away from the wall toward the deeper reef the water surface becomes calmer. The deepest corals are around 10m (30ft) in depth with shallower corals leading right up to the surface.
We were intrigued but the encrusting Isopora corals covering the canyon walls near shore. We recommend being an advanced swimmer or experienced snorkeler to venture into the shallower reefs.
Less experienced snorkelers might find this area challenging because of waves and surge. However, don’t let this discourage you. It was quite easy to stay in place as the waves tend to gently push you away from the cliff.
Further out past the cliff toward the deeper reef is where the grandeur of Mbigo Mbigo is revealed. Ridge after ridge of coral. We were truly in awe of the size of this reef. Every available rock is covered in coral! Even older dead corals were being colonized by half a dozen baby corals, a sign this reef is in good health.
We found lots of hardy Acropora species, like the cone-shaped Acropora gemmifera and cylindrical Acropora humilis. These corals were mostly on the ridge crests, and easy to spot as they were often the corals closest to the surface.
One Coral To Rule Them All
Along one of the ridge tops around 7m deep, we found an impressive colony of Pocillopora eydouxi. This is a unique coral species which we’ve only seen once before. This is one coral we wish we had a scuba tank so we could spend more time admiring and photographing this rare coral gem.
It might be hard to tell from this image but the coral colony was at least two meters wide, with flattened branches stretched over a meter from the base. This mature colony is of top priority when it comes to protecting corals!
Once a year during corals spawning this mature colony is a vital resource which helps to repopulate the surrounding reefs. The same goes for all mature coral colonies.
Snorkeling Mbigo Mbigo was for me the best way to experience this expansive coral reef. Our only regret, as with most reefs in the Solomons, was only getting to spend an hour documenting and exploring this reef.
When we get the chance to return to Munda, Mbigo Mbigo will be on the top of our list. A must see reef. And hey, even if you’re scuba diving we’re sure you will enjoy the reef as much as we did!
We went diving with Dive Munda. This trip was sponsored by Visit Solomon Islands, Tourism Solomon Islands. Now you can arrive in Munda direct from Brisbane Australia with weekly Solomon airlines making it easier than ever to visit Munda and the Solomon Islands.