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Dive Review of Bikini Atoll Divers in

October, 2006, an Instant Reader Report by Patrick Wikstrom, NC, USA
Contributor   (14 reports)
Report Number 3154
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
501-1000 dives
Where else diving
Bahamas; Belize; Bonaire; California Channel Islands; Cancun; Cayman Brac
& Little Cayman; Cocos Isl; Cozumel; Costa Rica; Dominica; Florida-
springs, west coast, & keys; Indonesia; North Carolina; Massachusetts;
Palau; Puerto Rico; Roatan; Socorro; South Africa; Thailand; Truk; Turks
& Caicos; TVA lakes; Yap; Yucatan Caves;
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

Water Temp
84   to 86    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
60   to 120    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
mandatory decompression schedule, follow the leader  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  2 stars
Tropical Fish
2 stars  
Small Critters
  2 stars
Large Fish
2 stars  
Large Pelagics
  3 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
5 stars  
Boat Facilities
Overall rating for UWP's  
3 stars  
Shore Facilities  
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
3 stars
3 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  
1 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
1 stars   
5 stars    
Bikini Atoll  Bikini Atoll Divers  -Oct 2006

Expensive, but worth it!!

Bikini itself is only 586 acres. One plane a week arrives on Wednesday
morning from Marjuro. Just a handlful of folks live on Bikini and most of
them leave in November at the end of the dive season. Today the island
looks absolutely beautiful with gorgeous white sand and shell covered
beaches surrounding the island. The military chopped down most of the
foliage in the 40s but today lovely tropical vegetation has taken back the
land. Today the US Govt conducts studies on well organized stands of
coconut palm trees to see how to stop the unacceptable uptake of
radioactive cesium. No one is allowed to eat anything that grows on the
island. Therefore all food is brought in a few times a year on a barge and
in coolers aboard the once a week plane. Little terrestrial life is seen on
the island. A few bird species, several different lizards, 30 or so feral
cats, the lapdog dive shop mascot, and a family of mice that brazenly ran
across the kitchen counters were the only animals I saw.

Accommodations on Bikini consist of an assortment of well maintained wood
framed plywood sheathed structures. Our rectangular shaped four room
housing unit had a long covered deck running the length of the building
with a stunning view of the white sand beach and the lagoon. Each two bed
unit had a separate bathroom, individually controlled A/C, a dresser,
bedside table, lamp, and alarm clock. Room keys are not issued because
crime isnt a problem. Daily maid service included fresh towels and linens.
Everything had been freshly painted inside and out with rooms a variety of
pastel island colors. Each guest house had its own rinse tank and gear
drying station. 

The dive briefings were presented in a separate lounge building. The
interior walls were covered in wreck photos and schematics of the ships
sunk in the lagoon. A long folding table, well worn couches, chairs, a ping
pong table, library, and a 15 seat film screening room rounded out the
accommodations. The dining hall and kitchen are housed in the old church
building. A good sized commercial kitchen turned out a variety of bland but
voluminous stick to your ribs meals.

The diving, however, was spectacular. The dive op was competently organized
by Jim Akroyd, an ex-British Special Forces veteran, and his American wife,
Gennifer. Assisting them was an expert staff of native Bikinians and
imported dive professionals. Diving was somewhat regimented with a daily
serving of two planned decompression dives which rarely vary  from week to
week. This was not a place where they let you dive your own profile. You
dive their plan with three divemasters leading the dives and support divers
helping out on the deco bar. 

Double steel 85s or single 104s were pumped up to 3400psi. Two well
designed 26 ft aluminum launches with drop down landing craft style bows
took a maximum of six divers to the wrecks. During my visit there were only
five customers and we had ample room to stash our gear and set up our rigs.
A substantial three tiered decompression trapeze hung below the dive boat
with 33, 23, and 13ft deco bars. Surface supplied oxygen (74%) was fed to
all participants via hooka lines and Scubapro R190 second stages. My bottom
times ranged from 22 to 35 minutes ascent and deco times ranged from 31 to
52 minutes, total dive times were up to 90 minutes. Water temps were
86degrees, I was comfortable in a 1mm skin suit and a 3mm full suit should
be enough for anyone. Every diver had to carry two decompression computers,
dual gas models are almost essential. Check the web for recommendations. 

Our first dive was on the afternoon of our arrival and we did the check out
on the deck of the USS Saratoga at 110ft.  Three divemasters were in the
water with an additional couple of support crew watching like hawks at the
deco station. Follow the dive plan, and perform the minimum required deco
stops (2 min @ 80, 40ft, 30 then 5 min @ 20  and 10 min @ 10ft, or until
your computer clears plus 5 min).  As the week went on the hang time
increased significantly. 

Visability was spectacular during our week with several days of 120ft+ of
horizontal vis. But some of the wrecks had murky silt clouds rolling about
both inside and out from recent collapses and other violent disintegration.
In the 60 years since the nuclear tests these wrecks have slowly
deteriorated. Their reinforced armor plates were often perforated and sheet
metal thin. A combination of the atomic blasts and the ravages of the sea
have caused major collapses on many of the vessels. 

On our day of arrival the dive staff was literally in mourning. Two days
before major sections of the bridge of the Saratoga had begun to buckle.
Structural support beams crumbled on the flight deck and the top most gun
director on the bridge hung out over the deck looking like a marble about
to roll down a Rube Goldberg contraption. At first they told us theyd be
no penetration of Sara this week but a couple of days later they relented
and let us explore inside. 

The chance to dive such a variety of warships in one place is a real treat.
There wasnt a bad dive in the bunch. The chance to dive such a variety of
warships in one place is a real treat. Penetration was conducted on
particular ships on specific dives. There wasnt a bad dive in the bunch.

Id been dreaming about diving Bikini since 1997. Although approx $5 Grand
for twelve dives seems like an awful lot of money. Believe it or not it was
worth it. Better go now before old Sara really falls apart.
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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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