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Dive Review of Bikini Atoll Divers in

Bikini Atoll Divers, Oct, 2006,

by Patrick Wikstrom, NC, USA (Contributor Contributor 14 reports with 1 Helpful vote). Report 3154.

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 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 40’s 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 isn’t 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 85’s or single 104’s 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 they’d 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 wasn’t 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 wasn’t a bad dive in the bunch.

I’d 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.

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

Weather sunny,dry Seas calm
Water Temp 84-86°F / 29-30°C Wetsuit Thickness 1
Water Visibility 60-120 Ft/ 18-37 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions mandatory decompression schedule, follow the leader
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles None Whales None
Corals 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 N/A
Overall rating for UWP's 3 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments [None]
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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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