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Bikini Lagoon

Micronesia

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Overview

After WWII, the USA set out to test the effects of atomic bombs on a large naval fleet. So a mock fleet of 95 vessels was relocated to Bikini, residents were transferred to other nearby islands, and then 23 separate detonations were tested between 1946-1958. This colossal operation brought this small part of Micronesia to the forefront of the global press. Around the same time, French fashion designer Louis Reard was looking for a name for his new, controversial, tiny swimsuit design and the ‘Bikini’ was launched, which was said at the time to be ‘atomic’ in its revolutionism for women’s fashion.

Bikini Island is part of the Marshall Islands within the greater region of Micronesia. It has been uninhabited since testing, and currently, the only way to access the area is via a liveaboard. Bikini Lagoon became the final resting place for some of the most significant warships in history. Bikini Atoll was opened for diving in 1996, allowing divers to experience some of the most historical and fantastic wreck diving in the world. Although the island has suffered from explosive testing, the marine ecosystem around the island is surprisingly healthy. The lack of human interference for the past 70 or so years has allowed marine life to flourish.

 

Bikini Lagoon has an equatorial climate, with hot, humid, and rainy conditions year-round. It has a stable temperature throughout the year, with an average daytime high of 28°C and a low of 23.5°C.

Located just above the equator, the constant trade winds bring welcome relief from the hot, humid conditions.

Precipitation is abundant, with an average annual rainfall of up to 5,000mm (5m). Despite the high amount of rain, the islands are not wholly devoid of sunshine. Most precipitation falls in the form of short, sharp thunderstorms in the mornings, late afternoons, and evenings.

The sunniest days can be enjoyed through the drier months of January to April.

Diving

Overview

A vast assortment of wrecks litters the lagoon floor, from mighty battleships and carriers to destroyers, submarines and smaller transports and landing craft. Due to the nature of the environment at Bikini Atoll, the diving conditions are considered very advanced. We recommend that only divers with the appropriate training and skill levels and who are confident and experienced dive in Bikini. Depending on the needs of each group, there is a minimum of two deep dives per day. If time and nitrogen levels permit, there could be diving later in the day on reefs at shallower depths.

Diving on the Bikini wrecks is recommended for technical divers only with a minimum of PADI Tec 40 level or equivalent, with wreck experience, as the average depth of the wrecks is around 50 meters (150 ft).

To get the most out of your dives in Bikini Atoll, highly recommended are:

TDI – Advanced Nitrox & Deco Procedures

IANTD – Tech Nitrox

NAUI – Tech Nitrox & Deco Techniques

ANDI – Technical Nitrox and

PADI – Tec 50

Depth limits given by the liveaboards Cruise Director must be followed, and wreck penetration is not allowed without a dive guide.

This area has been untouched for 40 years and has very prolific sea life including sharks, tuna, marlin, turtles and much more.

The US Department of Energy (DOE) and Lawrence Livermore Laboratories have carried out extensive research and monitoring of Bikini Atoll. Their reports state that in general, the environment poses no radiological danger; “The potential dose [of radiation] to a person swimming in the Bikini Lagoon or diving on or around the sunken ships is so low … that it can be considered essentially zero”.

 

Water Temperature
temperature-icon

27-29°C, 3-5mm wetsuit

 

Dive Season

Diving in Bikini Lagoon is available from May to October

Dive Highlights

USS Saratoga

The only fully 'dive-able' US aircraft carrier in the world lies upright in 55m of water. The superstructure is at 21m, deck at 30m and the aeroplane hangars at 40m. The USS Saratoga is a steel-hulled vessel with a waterline length of 253m and a flight deck of 271m, officially weighing 33,000 standard tons. 

 

HIJMS Nagato

This ship was considered the flagship of the Imperial Japanese Navy. The ship is inverted, lying in 49m - 52m of water. The steel-hulled vessel is 216m long and weighed 38,500 standard tons.

 

USS Arkansas

A US battleship lies inverted in 55m of water. The riveted steel vessel is 171m long and weighed 23,066 standard tons.

 

USS Pilotfish & USS Apogon

Both US navy submarines 95m long & weighing 2424 standard tons submerged.

 

Activities

Due to its history and the nature of the environment, the main activity in Bikini Atoll is scuba diving. There may be an opportunity to do a land tour of Bikini Atoll on your trip.

Micronesia – Bikini Lagoon
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