KWAJALEIN INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT (KWA)
Arriving at Kwajalein Airport is not like arriving at a normal airport. Do not take photos, this is forbidden as it’s a military base. You will be escorted by military personnel into a holding area.
In the holding area your sponsor papers from us and your passport will be examined. Once you are out, you will be escorted to a hangar where you collect your luggage. Americans can freely walk to the hangar without supervision as it’s a US base. It is very unlikely you will see your luggage before the plane leaves, so if the luggage did not make it off the plane, you will have to wait a few days before you see it again.
The problem with this is that the liveaboard has a 27 hour trip ahead to Bikini, once it leaves, it leaves. Therefore, we strongly recommend people arrive early (it helps with jet lag too) to completely avoid the risk of this happening.
On the way back, you’ll find that Kwajalein Airport is basic with few facilities. Check-in can be lengthy but once you are through security there is a sitting area with WiFi. Bags are likely to be searched. There are big fines (minimum US$10,000) for anyone found removing any artifacts from the wrecks.
Visa and travel
For most visitors, a free 30-day tourist visa is granted on arrival in Kwajalein, this can be extended for up to 90 days. US citizens can stay for one year. Passports should be valid for 120 days after the departure date and guests must have booked onward travel from the Marshall Islands before they arrive.
It is important that you have the necessary arrangements sorted out before you travel. The sole option for getting to Kwajalein is via Hawaii on United Airlines’ island hopper from Guam or Hawaii. ESTA regulations apply. Getting to Guam and onward is possible via Manila, Tokyo or Incheon.
Airlines to use:
United Airlines – www.united.com
United Airlines - www.united.com
Flying United Airlines via Guam or Hawaii is not a choice, it’s the only airline that goes from Guam or Honolulu to Kwajalein. Guam is a US territory as is Hawaii so even though you are just transiting, you will need permission to enter the US either by Visa or ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization.)
Award Miles needed to Kwajalein from USA are usually around 70.000 return.
The offers from United Credit Cards are up to 70.000 miles. Paying for your trip with their card can effectively get you a US$1500-$2500 return flight as low as US$22 in taxes.
United will allow up to three 32 kg bags depending on your status within Star alliance and your departure city.
Look at your member status for terms and conditions on your flight with United.
Advice on International Flights
It is recommended that you book your international flight to and from Kwajalein Airport (KWA), which is served by United Airlines three times per week from Honolulu (HNL) and takes around 7 hours.
The HNL—MAJ—KWA flight leaves on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, so generally, you will have to leave the day before that (Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday) from Los Angeles (LAX) or San Francisco (SFO) to make the connection.
Ideally, you will arrive in Honolulu one day prior to your flight to Kwajalein, as this flight departs early in the morning. Keep in mind that you will be crossing the date line when traveling to Kwajalein Atoll. There is also a flight from Guam arriving at Kwajalein, however, the itinerary for our trip is scheduled around the Honolulu flight.
In the Marshall Islands, medical care is very basic with the best medical facility in Majuro. Any form of treatment other than simple medical care requires evacuation. Ensure you bring any medication you need as there is a strong possibility that it will not be available locally. Normal precautions should be taken with food and it is advisable to drink bottled water only.
No vaccinations are required before entering the Marshall Islands, however, we recommend consulting your doctor for updated information prior to departure. If you are traveling from a Yellow Fever area, proof of immunization might be required. It’s recommended that tetanus immunizations are also up to date before traveling to Bikini.
Bikini is a malaria-free zone and mosquitoes are not a problem on the boat. But they can be annoying on shore, so consider bringing insect repellent. The Chikungunya, Dengue and Zika viruses have all been reported in the Marshalls and are spread by mosquitoes.
The radioactive radiation divers are exposed to on the shipwrecks is negligible since water acts as an excellent insulator. Divers are safe, as long as they do not try to grab souvenirs from the wrecks. Pilfering is forbidden and very hazardous.
The Marshall Islands is an extremely remote diving destination without hyperbaric facilities. The nearest hyperbaric chamber is in either Hawaii or Australia. There is a chamber on the army base in Kwajalein, but unless you are American, the chances of them letting you use it are slim.
For follow-up recompression treatment, emergency air evacuation to one of the aforementioned countries is required. With this in mind, it is mandatory that our guests purchase dive and liveaboard-specific insurance according to their level of certification, which we have links to on this website.
This insurance needs to cover air evacuation and the appropriate depths you plan to dive to. We strongly urge that all guests dive well within recognized limits and follow our advice during the trip. Our Captain, Martin, worked at the DDRC as a chamber operator and Aron from The Dirty Dozen is a dive medic.
Day 1 – Flight lands in Kwajalein (KWA) Army transfers you free of charge to ferry terminal. Transport via ferry to Ebeye Island FOC from U.S Army. Embark Truk Master or check-in to Hotel Ebeye if you decide to come early. Depending on flight arrivals, on the day of embarking, you may have time for equipment setup and a weight check where we are anchored. Truk Master departs for Bikini.
Day 2 – Boat travels to Bikini. Boat briefing, paperwork, an overview of safety and emergency procedures, equipment setup, and our first day of diving.
Day 2 until the day before disembarking – Diving in Bikini Atoll.
Day before disembarking – Departure to Ebeye Island. Settle any remaining bills.
Disembarking day – Disembark Truk Master. Transport from Ebeye Island to Kwajalein.
A Typical Day
07:30 – Coffee!
08:00 – Breakfast
08:30 – Briefing/Dive 1
12:00 – Lunch
14:00 – Briefing/Dive 2
16:00 – Snacks
19:00 – Dinner
20:00 – Team Debriefing
Accmodation in Ebeye
To stay on Kwajalein’s military base, you need to have a sponsor person or family, otherwise you need to stay on Ebeye Island at the Ebeye Hotel. The hotel has 18 rooms, made up of two suites, two deluxe rooms, seven singles, and seven doubles.
The manager of the hotel is Marie Jacob. Her contact details are:
PO Box 5640, Ebeye, Kwajalein, Marshall Islands.
Cell phone: 692-235-5230
They are not famous for replying and it is the only hotel. Persistence is key to securing your reservation!
FOR FULL DETAILS ON THE INTRICACIES OF TRAVELING TO BIKINI, DOWNLOAD OUR FACT SHEET BELOW: