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During 1946, following the end of WW2, the USA gathered together a “mock” naval fleet in order to test the effects of atomic bombs on the large fleet. The site chosen for the explosive tests was Bikini Atoll. 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.
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 historic and amazing wreck diving in the world.
Bikini Atoll is an atoll in the Marshall Islands (there is a total of 23 islands), to dive Bikini Lagoon, you need to get to Kwajalein by flying with United Airlines after approximately 5 to 6 flights and 24 hours later you will arrive in Kwajalein. From here you will board MW Windward for the voyage to Bikini Atoll which is 215 nautical miles and takes approximately 25 hours depending on condition. 65 miles through the sheltered waters of Kwajalein Atoll takes 7 hours while the remainder of the journey in open seas takes around 18 hours. En-route there is the option of stopping at Wotho or Rongelap Atoll for a wall Dive.
Due to it’s 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 with MV Windward.
Diving in Bikini Lagoon is available from May to October from aboard the self-contained Mv Windward
Itinerary duration: 13Days/12Nights
Cabins types: open dorm style cabin
Inclusions: tanks, weights dive guides, O2, Beer, Juice & soft drinks, all meals & food
Max # of guests: 11
Dive guides: 2 dive masters
Approx dives per day: 2
Support Vessel: 2 dinghies and a jetski with rescue sled
Gear Hire: no
Bikini Lagoon is the final resting place of some of the finest and most famous WW II-era naval vessels. A huge assortment of types litter 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 to be very advanced. Dive Adventures recommend that only divers with the appropriate training and skill levels and who are confident and experienced divers even consider going to 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.
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. However, there are some very low amounts of residual cesium deep in the soil that could be absorbed into plants with deep root systems, such as coconut trees. If these plants are consumed in large quantities, over a long periods of time, an unacceptable level of cesium may be absorbed by humans. "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."
The only fully "dive-able" US aircraft carrier in the world lies upright in 180 feet of water. The superstructure is at 70 feet, deck at 100 feet and the airplane hangers at 130 feet. The USS Saratoga is a steel-hulled vessel with a waterline length of 830 feet and a flight deck of 888 feet officially weighing 33,000 standard tons.
Considered the flagship of the Imperial Japanese Navy. The ship is inverted, lying in 160-170 feet of water. The steel hulled vessel is 708 feet long and weighed 38,500 standard tons.
A US battleship lies inverted in 180 feet of water. The riveted steel vessel is 562 feet long and weighed 23,066 standard tons.
Both US navy submarines 311.8 feet long & weighing 2424 standard tons submerged.