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Dive Review of Bikini Atoll DIvers in
Micronesia/Bikini Atoll

Bikini Atoll DIvers, Oct, 2006,

by Jeanne & Bill Downey, PA, US . Report 3074.

No photos available at this time

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 3 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 1 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 1 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments This was our second time making the long trek to Bikini Island; last year there were just the two of us, this year there were five—three Americans and two Brits. From the U.S. it’s time-consuming but fairly simple as long as the planes fly—overnight in Honolulu, catch a 7am flight that arrives in Majuro before lunch, overnight again and catch one more early flight to Bikini Atoll on the once-a-week Air Marshall flight, also arriving before lunch and in time for your first dive on the deck of the Saratoga. Arrival is actually on Eneu Island with a 20 minute boat ride to Bikini Island. This year we were a bit concerned because there was a 6.6 earthquake that hit Hawaii on one of our travel days, but luckily it didn’t affect our flights. We were in the water diving by 3:00pm the day of our arrival.

The operation was pretty much the same this year—Jim, Gen, Edward, Ronnie, and the rest of the dive staff are still there, along with newcomer Rich, who previously spent 8 years operating a dive shop in Okinowa. Gen is the same and Jim is still very safety conscious, but also seemed more relaxed this time around. We did a total of 12 dives on the same wrecks as last year—the Saratoga, Nagato, Anderson, Apogon, Carlisle, Lamson, and Arkansas, but there is now more damage to the Saratoga. Evidently the Hawaii earthquake caused some unusual swells, or there was additional seismic activity closer to Bikini, causing the Saratoga bridge to start leaning and the hanger deck to further collapse, which eliminated our dives through and around that area. We also noticed the stern deck is more collapsed. There was additional movement of the Saratoga bridge while we were there, causing low visibility; there was also some collapse on the Nagato. But the rest of the wrecks seemed the same, the water was a warm 84 degrees, there’s little or no current, and the visibility was mostly outstanding.

The dive crew does the heavy lifting of double tanks on and off the boat. It’s also possible to dive a single with an H valve if you don’t have wings and back plates. We set up our gear on the way out to the dive site, no more than 20 minutes. Upon arrival, the front of the small landing craft type boat is cranked down, divers make their way to the front edge, and jump in. After making sure everyone was OK, Jim or Gen rapidly descended with us on their tails and we spent the next 25-35 minutes being shown the best of the wreck; sometimes we had “free time” to explore as long as we were beginning our ascent on the line at a specified time. Dive times averaged 30 minutes and decompression averaged 45 minutes, depending on your computer. Depths ranged from 103’ on the deck of the Saratago to 174’ on the Arkansas. At the end of each dive we took our double rigs off, handed them up to the dive crew and hoisted ourselves back into the boat.

We usually had Jim, Gen, Rich, and Edward diving with us, but this depends on the number and competence of the divers; occasionally Jim and Edward went off to make repairs to the mooring lines during the dive. They made sure we saw everything, watched for any problems we might have with narcosis or equipment, and also made sure we put all the relics back where they belonged. This is definitely a “take nothing but pictures” operation. While we were diving, the boat crew lowerd the three-tiered decompression station. Ronnie did the underwater set-up and then waited for the divers to make their way from the required 2 minute, 40 foot stop to the 30 foot decompression bar; he watched for, and tried to stop, anyone making an unplanned, out-of-control ascent—decompression time for an unplanned surfacing is nasty. Once everyone was safely beginning their decompression, he also relieved photographers of their bulky cameras. An occasional shark or school of fish entertained us during the long decompression but mostly we spaced out—after a couple of dives you get used to it. It’s certainly worth it.

Housing is basic but comfortable. Some rooms had two single beds; our room had a queen size bed, a night stand, desk, chest of drawers, and a wall with an area for hanging things, a shelf above, and what could be another desk or camera equipment table. If there isn’t a full compliment of divers, separate rooms are parceled out. The showers are hot, the AC is cold and the view from the porch is spectacular. At the end of each building is a large rinse basin and hanging area. There aren’t any mosquitoes because there’s no standing water.

Meals are also basic but filling. Breakfast consisted of cereal, juice, and eggs plus waffles, pancakes or French toast on a rotating basis. Lunches were usually a salad plus meals ranging from hamburgers to pizza to spaghetti. Dinners could be steak or pork chops along with a salad, vegetables, potato, and rice. Freshly made cookies were served at lunch and cake at dinner along with ice cream from the 24-hour ice cream machine. Fruit punch, coffee, tea, and water were also available 24/7. Pop and Gator Aid were extra, and beer was put out for dinner, also extra. Of course the food served also depended on when the last barge arrived and what the airplane could bring.

Diving these historical wrecks doesn’t get any easier than this, but some of the wrecks are definitely showing their age; if Bikini is on your list, try to get there sooner rather than later.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving Worldwide
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm,choppy,noCurrents
Water Temp 84-86°F / 29-30°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 100-0 Ft/ 30-0 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles 1 or 2 Whales None
Corals 1 stars Tropical Fish 2 stars
Small Critters 1 stars Large Fish 1 stars
Large Pelagics 2 stars

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities 3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments Camera table on boat, no rinse tank on boat, great rinse tank on shore.
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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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