Julia and I are avid underwater photographers. We do around 100 dives a year, mostly in St Croix. We had never done liveaboards before so we decided to try one out. Our first choice was Cocos, but when we saw Cathy Church was going to the Solomon Islands we decided to go with her since she's a lot of fun to be around and you get professional advice on top of that.
For us the Solomon Islands are on the other side of the world. It takes more than a day to get there. We fly from Amsterdam to Singapore, then to Brisbane, and finally to Honiare where you board the ship the Bilikiki. We were a bit worried about jetlag. A friend of ours, Kasey, had told us to check out Sipadan. Sipadan is located on the Borneo side of Malaysia. It's not that far out out of the way from Singapore so we decided to make a side trip and visit Sipadan for a few days and break up the trip. We also stayed a few days in both Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. I can highly recommend doing this since a few extra days before you go diving 4 times a day gives you some time to adjust. During the 3 days in Sipadan and the 10 days in the Solomons we did 59 dives. My dive computer leaked and crashed (but was repaired), my domeport got scratched, I got stung by a Lionfish, I had the worst case of jetlag. But it was worth it. This was the best diving we have ever done. I would do it all again anytime.
Read our Trip Report for Sipadan
Read our Trip Report for Solomon Islands