Bikini Atoll or “coconut place” is one of the remotest diving destinations on the planet. Bikini is located just north of the equator in the Pacific Ocean, halfway between Australia and Hawaii. Bikini is part of the Marshall Islands, which consists of 5 islands and 29 atolls, of which just two are habitable.
Bikini Atoll is a basic place almost completely lacking in infrastructure (very few people actually live on the atoll) which makes operating an expedition about as tough as it can get. But, as you will soon find out, diving the nuclear ghost fleet more than makes up for any logistical hassles.
Diving conditions and environmental factors
Diving conditions in Bikini are excellent. Bikini Atoll offers relatively easy diving and is ideal to visit throughout the year in terms of environmental conditions. The water is a warm and consistent 28-29°C/82-85°F, whether you are at 6m/20ft or 60m/200ft, and there are no major thermoclines.
While the water is warm enough to dive in shorts and a t-shirt, we recommend a full-length 3 to 5 mm wetsuit or a drysuit with light undergarments. Bring gloves and a hood for protection, especially if you are planning on penetrating the wrecks. There is sharp metal everywhere and you want to avoid tetanus, infections, or burns from oil, or even worse, aviation fuel. At times, there are occasional jellyfish blooms, some of which sting.
Tidal patterns within the lagoon can be complex but the tidal range is generally small and any currents encountered on the majority of wrecks are minimal and hardly noticeable. As you are diving inside the lagoon, visibility does vary, but it’s usually excellent at around 30m/98ft clear.
Bikini Atoll is a deep and technical diving location with big challenging wrecks and advanced penetrations. The wrecks are in the Normoxic Trimix range. In contrast to Truk Lagoon, where there are shallower dives, the wrecks in Bikini are usually at the deeper end of the spectrum. It is a minimum prerequisite that you are a CCR Normoxic Trimix diver so that you can fully enjoy these spectacular wrecks.
There is no monsoon or wet and dry seasons as such. Northeast trade winds blow from January and start to fade away after May when the doldrums take over. From July to November Bikini comes under the influence of the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) when moist southerly winds and short tropical disturbances are most frequent.
The daytime air temperature is normally between 28-31°C/82-88°F all year round. Rain is normal on most days but it normally falls in short sharp showers with hot sunshine in between.
Half a dozen people occupy Bikini Atoll as caretakers for Bikini Council. Most of the buildings you see in the aerial photo were abandoned when the land-based dive operation shut down in the early 2000s. On Bikini and the rest of the Marshalls, crops such as coconuts, pandanus, papaya, and banana grow. A rich forest teeming with plant species covers the islands, too. But all the fruits and vegetables used aboard our vessel are imported.
Animal life throughout the Marshalls includes hermit crabs, coconut crabs, lizards, and birds. Chickens, pigs, and ducks are reared for food and domestic pets such as cats and dogs are also present.
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