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Dive Review of Bikini Atoll Divers in
Micronesia/Bikini Atoll

April, 2006, an Instant Reader Report by William Ungerman, CA, United States
Sr. Contributor   (24 reports, with 2 Helpful votes)
Report Number 2403
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
Over 1000 dives
Where else diving
Caribbean and Pacific
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

Water Temp
82   to 86    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
60   to 125    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Hit the ascent line with 1500 PSI/100 Bar  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  1 stars
Tropical Fish
2 stars  
Small Critters
  1 stars
Large Fish
3 stars  
Large Pelagics
  3 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
3 stars  
Boat Facilities
4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
2 stars  
Shore Facilities  
4 stars  
Not specificcasly set up for UWP but do their best to accomodate.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
4 stars
3 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  
2 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
1 stars   
5 stars    
My wife Fran and I had dreamed of coming to Bikini ever since it opened up
to diving in 1996.  We decided it was time.  We booked the trip through
Layne Ballard of Central Pacific Dive Expeditions and I give my highest
recommendations to this operation.  We overnighted in Oahu at the Honolulu
Airport Hotel.  No Aloha spirit here.  The accomodations were terrible and
overpriced.  Next day we flew Continental to Majuro, capital of the
Marshall Islands.  We stayed at the Hotel Robert Reimers.  Nice, but
defining it as basic is understatment.  The staff and people however were
grand.  Next day we flew on an Air Marshall Islands de Havilland Dash-8 to
Bikini Atoll via Kwajalein ("Kwaj" to the old hands).  Actuually
you land on a dirt strip on the Atoll island of Enue and take a 30-minute
boat ride to Bikini Island.  Accomodations are spartan but located on a
pristine beach right out of your most romantic tropical dreams.  The head
divemaster is Jin Akroyd, assisted by his wife Gennifer, Chad Smith, Edward
Maddison, and Ronnie Lokiar.  Chad and Gennifer are Americans, Jim is a
Brit, and the other two native Bikinians.  All great people.  (Ask Jim, aka
"Sparky", to tell you his electric fence story).  I won't go into
the dives other than to say they are breathtaking and awe inspiring.  You
can learn about them through any number of books and the Internet  Rather,
let me share some information to help you plan and anticipate.  Baggage
limit is forty pounds on Air Marshall Islands with a $1.50 surcharge for
each additional pound.  THIS IS THE TOTAL COST, NOT $3.00 AS REPORTED BY
OTHER SOURCES including an article in the May 2006 Undercurrent.  Tanks are
HP steel 85's with isolation manifolds for doubles divers and HP steel
119's for singles, either DIN or yoke.  No pony bottles are available. 
There is no "alternate" dive itinerary.  The wrecks are the
thing.  All dives are decompression (to a maximum 185 feet).  Expect to
comply with a detailed dive plan.  Decompression times run from a low of 24
minutes to as high as fifty minutes and this assumes you have multi-gas
computers to switch gases on the deco trapeze.  Note:  Jim's website lists
some computers that are "just okay" for Bikini.  He plans to
change this.  YOU NEED TWO MULTI-GAS COMPUTERS.  The Cressi-Sub Archemede
II is being added to the list and it works great as do most Dive Rites. 
The Suunto D-9 will also probably work here but so far it is untested.  Jim
says not to bring a safety reel and lift bag and/or SMB unless you have
experience deploying these, his website notwithstanding.  No Jon lines
either.  By the way, Bikini is no place to learn to dive doubles.  If you
haven't before, take some training or go with the single 119.  Diving is
off a landing craft type boat with a front ramp.  It's powered by twin
Honda 130 HP engines.  Water conditions in the 27 by 15 mile lagoon can be
anything from flat to four foot swells.  Exits are an undignified flopping
onto the ramp and being drug aboard after doffing your rig and swimming it
in.  Penetration is allowed for qualified divers with cave certifications,
etc.  Jim calls dive time "run time" and there are checkpoints
you must be at that correspond with your remaining air supply.  THIS IS
ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY under the circumstances of this place.  The planned
deco stops are a deep stop at 80' for two minutes with the next stop
(computer willing) at 40' for two minutes then a swim across to the deco
trapeze with parallel bars at 30/20/10 feet for MINIMUM stops of 2/5/10. 
Scubapro R190 second stages hang from the boat providing 75% Nitrox.  If
you were to be diving an air-only computer, by the end of the week you'd be
spending an eternity on the bars even though you were actually breathing
75% oxygen.  A couple people found that out when they forgot to set their
computers to the second mix.  I was comfortable in a 3 mm suit with hood
and gloves as was my wife.  Others added vests and one diver wore a 5 mil
semi-dry suit.  The food was outstanding and even moreso when you consider
that all food is brought in just twice a year.  Dive season is March
through November.  The Bikinian government owns the dive operation and Gen
opined that the true cost of diving Bikini would be near 10 thousand
dollars if it weren't de facto subsidized by the Bikinians just to keep
Bikini in the news.  There is a full blown electrical power plant and
desalination facility.  The DOE has a facility and they do soil and coconut
samples checking for Strontiun 90 and Celsium 231.  As of this writing we
are not glowing.  There are no chitinous bugs or mosquitoes.  The Akroyds
run the most professional and competent dive operations we have ever
experienced.  Belive me, here it's needed.  Daytime temperatures ran from
high 80's to low 100's.  The white sand beach is littered with millions of
collectable shells which are okay to take.  No night diving.  Fabio Amaral,
the previous head divemaster tried it.  He lasted seven minutes before the
sharks chased him out.  No swimming before the first or after the last dive
of the day.  Sharks are in the shallows.  

I have a wondeful wife and three great children.  I fought in Viet Nam and
survived.  I have been to Bikini and dove on the Saratoga.  I guess you can
take me Lord.
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All Micronesia Dive Reviews and Reports
Diving Guide to Micronesia
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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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