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Dive Review of Bikini Atoll Divers in
Micronesia/Bikini Atoll

Bikini Atoll Divers, Apr, 2006,

by William Ungerman, CA, United States (Sr. Contributor Sr. Contributor 24 reports with 2 Helpful votes). Report 2403.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 2 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 1 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments 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.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving Caribbean and Pacific
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny,windy Seas calm,choppy,noCurrents
Water Temp 82-86°F / 28-30°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 60-125 Ft/ 18-38 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions Hit the ascent line with 1500 PSI/100 Bar
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles None Whales None
Corals 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
UW Photo Comments Not specificcasly set up for UWP but do their best to accomodate.
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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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