Trip Report – Dive Bikini Atoll

 

We went to the Carolines first via Hawaii and Guam then to Palau for a week.

Had a blast despite #1 typhoon of the trip.

 

Palau was a good warm up dive and pretty, but the near by typhoon made the long boat rides an endurance. The boat rides wound through many small unusual islands.

Good diving is a 20 mile boat ride each day (each way).

We did one of the harbor wrecks one day with 10’ visibility, but had fun.

It really blew a gale that day.

 

We saw them setting up to tape the next “Survivor” show which is a scam now that I see how they did it. It is a big production and it was on the closest island to town! The survivors could swim to town for dinner at night.

 

We then flew to Majuro via Yap, Guam, Pohnpae, Kosrae and Kwajaline (long island hopper).

Majuro is an over crowded garbage dump, but beautiful water.

I chose that location for my two days of the crud from hell while we got hit with typhoon #2.

We missed one day diving and made up half of it before departing to Bikini.

There we saw an exciting ship wreck (broke loose in the harbor) which hit our moored dive boat.

 

Then we found out that was the only aircraft that can fly to Bikini (a 12 seat Dornier) was down for an engine change. It made the local newspaper. That plane only flies on Wednesdays.

We finally took off with a mechanic turning the last bolts on a rebuilt turboprop from China.

That probably made the news while we were in Bikini.

Got to Bikini on the back end of the #2 typhoon and had the boat trip from hell going from the airport to the camp.

The next AM was still a blow out, so we missed two dives on the Bikini wrecks.

 

Bikini was a first class operation with everything by the numbers.

I was still sick and had major problems clearing ears and sinuses for the first 4 days, but made all the dives.

Not everyone was that lucky.

Kevin was dead on Battleship day and missed a second day.

Penny got hit the last two days, but dove anyway.

 

We got everything important except the US sub.

The decompression was a big deal as most of the dives are 130’ to 180’ and the upside down battleships are all dives at lagoon bottom depth.

The two gas decompression computers are the hot lick as we dove air and did the deco on ~80% Nitrox which greatly shortened the long decompression. There is no help for a decompression accident over there. The airplane comes next Wednesday and not before.

 

I dropped my Nikonos U/W camera at the dock and broke the 15mm and view finder, but was able to lash it back on with rusty bailing wire and I don’t use the view finder much anyway.

There were lots of little broken screws.

 

Here are a few pictures starting with Bikini:

This is “Baker shot” the second bomb and it was an underwater detonation in 1946 and the same bomb design as the Nagasaki bomb.

The dark vertical area on the right of the mushroom stem is the USS Arkansas which is now upside down. Our “quarters” were on the beach about where this picture was taken.

 

The same beach and lagoon today

 

 

Dentist Chair in the aircraft carrier USS Saratoga (at the bottom of the lagoon)

 

Helldiver on the hanger deck of the Saratoga

 

 

Bow guns (15 inch) on the battleship USS Arkansas with anchor chain

 

 

Bridge of the Nagato (flag ship of the Imperial navy for most of the war) and directed the raid on Pearl Harbor.

 

Galley on the USS Saratoga – it’s been underwater like this for 58 years!

 

Officers barber chair just out side the admiral’s quarters on the USS Saratoga

Admiral “Bull” Halsey and other famous navel officers got trimmed up in this chair.

 

 

Radio room on USS Saratoga

 

Penny looking at 16 inch guns on the Nagato stern

 

Penny showing one of the props on the Nagato

 

Bridge windows on the Nagato.

Admiral Yamamoto probably stood here when he said “Tora, Tora. Tora”  (attack Pearl Harbor)

 

 

Bridge on the USS Saratoga

 

 

 

There were sharks on most of the dives, but this was on the reef.

 

Bikini’s only contact with the rest of the world – HF radio at 6 PM each day (no English)

No phones, no TV and no internet!

The supply ship comes 3 times per year.

 

Eddie was our “native” Bikini guide underwater and around the island. This beach was named for his daughter who lives in Hawaii. No Bikinians live on Bikini and only 2 work on the island.

 

The whole population of Bikini: 3 dive operators, 1 Bikini dive guide, 2 cooks, 2 boat operators and the 8 of us.

 

Welcome sign at Bikini “airport” which is a grass strip

 

 

The flight out of Bikini – small airplane (both engines running this day)

 

 

Palau:

An example of the islands in Palau – there were lots of them

 

 

Rains in Palau refilling our hotel domestic water tank – there were no wells, but 150 inches of rain per year is enough!

 

Base of operations for the upcoming Palau Survivor TV show.

The “survivor” island was a short boat ride away.

This was a 15 acre facility built to produce the show – just the Palau show.

 

 

This is how the Survivor show equipment and boats were sent to Palau – there were about 50 of these cargo containers.

 

Majuro:

Typhoon #2 hit our dive operations in Majuro after 2 days of diving

 

 

Our dive boat had been tied up here the day before.

 

The End