Snorkeling Uepi Solomon Islands
Psst, let me let you in on a little secret. Skip the scuba gear and simply grab a mask and snorkel. The shallow coral reefs around Uepi island are best seen from the surface.
Uepi Island is located in the Morovo Lagoon at the south end of New Georgia Islands. Morovo Lagoon is the largest saltwater lagoon in the world and has an impressive 130 kilometers of barrier coral reef. There are around 100 individual islands along its length and covers an area of 700 square kilometers.
Alongside this complex lagoon system is a deep wall, dropping past 2000m or 6000ft! This deep wall brings nutrient-rich upwelling currents which feed the many tropical fish and healthy corals reefs fringing the islands.
While visiting Uepi island we explored the reefs on scuba and snorkeling, both with their own advantages. However, we were truly impressed with the quality of snorkeling options available within a short distance from the resort.
Snorkeling For All Skill Levels
The shallow reefs around Uepi and neighboring Morovo lagoon islands are accessible to snorkelers of all skill levels. The dramatic deep blue drop-offs are exhilarating for more advanced freedivers, and the lush shallow corals and complex undulating reef scape offer a maze of snorkeling adventures which will keep everyone entertained for days.
Snorkeling allows you to see the bigger picture, and get an idea of the never-ending expanse of coral reefs. If you’re visiting Uepi Island and have to pick just one spot to snorkel, Secret Spot was recommended to us as the nonstop coral snorkel.
Aside from the never-ending reef what is unique about the Secret Spot is the different rock channels between coral bommies. Advanced snorkeler will enjoy diving down and swimming through the large open channels looking at the different corals. On top of the reef, snorkelers will enjoy coral spotting from a huge diversity of plating, encrusting and branching corals.
Secret Spot Corals
Along the top of the reef, we found some interesting colonies of Acropora robusta which break the surface of the water a low tide (pictured in the cover). If you want to see these corals head to the very top of the reef just be careful not to get to close to avoid damaging the corals.
You will also find some unique variety of Acropora abrotanoides. This coral has a similar thick branching form as the robusta, however, the branches are covered in small tube-shaped corallites of varying sizes. And, at the top of this wave swept reef, the abrotanoides grow compact almost gem-shaped branches.
Around the two distinct robust corals, you will find smaller hardy flow loving Acropora species, Acropora gemmifera and Acropora humilis. These corals have short compact branches shaped like cylinders (humilis) or cones (gemmifera). We found plenty of example of these corals throughout the reef and it’s quite fun to try spotting all the different color varieties.
Getting to Uepi
Fly into Segeh from Honiara Solomon Island. Regular flights with Solomon Airlines or private charters with Air Taxi. Stay at the Uepi Island Resort.