Heading northwest from Guadalcanal and Honiara, the bustling capital city of the Solomon Islands, we sailed overnight to the world’s largest atoll, Marovo Lagoon. Here we had a casual afternoon of SCUBA diving and snorkeling in pristine waters away from the few villages on the atoll. The sunset was tropical perfection – we had drinks on our deck and were thankful for the opportunity to explore such wonderful, remote areas of the planet on the ship.
“The Marovo Lagoon has been proposed as a world heritage site and has received praise from a Pulitzer Prize winner. No wonder, says Elio Stamm, considering the many miracles on offer, above the water and under the surface of the biggest saltwater lagoon in the world. This is not a place where you need to look twice to realise its beauty. No, the Marovo Lagoon, more than 100 kilometres [60 miles] in length, is the biggest saltwater lagoon in the world and is awe inspiring upon first sight. As your small plane slowly emerges from the white clouds, you can see islands scattered across the horizon. The intensity of the colours is outstanding. The green of the more than one hundred small, and mostly inhabited islands, the blue of the deeper parts of the sea and the white of the shallow coral reefs make you understand where the Solomon Islands flag got its colours from. The Marovo Lagoon is a double barrier reef enclosed lagoon, which in practise means a chain of coral reefs and islands that encircle the big Vangunu Island. The 12,000 people living in Marovo’s 70 villages refer to Vangunu as the ‘mainland’, while the chain of islands and coral reefs forming the border to the deeper sea are known as the ‘barrier islands’. The lagoon is part of Solomon Islands Western Province… [as] the total number of visitors to the Solomon Islands is still rather small, large parts of the Marovo Lagoon are nearly as untouched as in 1946 when American Author James A. Michener in his Pulitzer Prize winning book Tales from the South Pacific described it as the eighth wonder of the world. Michener’s description refers to the outstanding diversity and richness of life, both above and below the water. Once you snorkel or dive the waters of the Marovo Lagoon, you will understand Michener and also why the lagoon was … proposed for World Heritage listing. It is brimming with an impressive variety of fish and corals, numbering more than 1,000 and representing every colour of the rainbow.” – http://www.pacificislandliving.com