I just preemptively moved my June 2021 Bikini Atoll trip to August 2022.
That might not sound like a big deal, until you understand the hurdles already encountered…
Bikini Atoll background
For anybody that is a wreck diver, Bikini Atoll is near the top of their wish list. There are definitely harder and more demanding wreck dives.
The Andrea Doria is known as the “Mount Everest” of wreck diving and it is about 250 feet to the sand but the conditions can be very unforgiving (I’m planning to dive it in Jul/Aug 2021). The Britannica is about 400 feet deep and requires a lot of permits and a lot of logistics (It is on the wish list for 2022).
But Bikini Atoll is … unique.
A massive fleet of warships from different countries on a remote atoll.
Two nuclear bomb tests…
The iconic USS Saratoga aircraft carrier is there…
The Japanese battleship Nagato which is the flagship from which Admiral Yamamoto gave the order to attack Pearl Harbor…it is there as well.
And those are just two of the many, many wrecks at Bikini.
The diving is definitely technical and it involves some extended decompression, but it generally doesn’t exceed 200 feet. But Bikini Atoll it is very, very remote. There isn’t a chamber anywhere close.
The only dive boat that has regularly scheduled trips doesn’t have a chamber. It takes 24-28 hours to get to Bikini after you get to the dive boat at Ebeye Island in the Marshall Islands.
There is no such thing as a helicopter rescue (it is too far for a helicopter to make a round trip). There is an old, abandoned airstrip but no scheduled flights.
The Saga & Timeline
I decided a very long time ago that I wanted to dive Bikini. How could any serious wreck diver not want to dive there if they had the chance? Crazy enough, I have actually been there diving, but had a trip cut short.
Here is the timeline of chasing my dream:
|Feb 2017||Initial booking for Jul 2018 Trip||Re-booked to 2019 to use a rebreather. |
I think it is crazy to dive those wrecks on air and they don’t have enough
helium on-board for open circuit divers to use it.
|May 2017||Rebook to Aug 2019||See below|
|Aug 2019||Trip to Bikini||Initial dive on the Prinz Eugen went well. |
After a long voyage to Bikini and three dives on the Saratoga,
an open circuit diver gets bent and we head back to Ebeye
|Aug 2019||New booking for Aug 2020||Determined to dive the wrecks of Bikini, I book a return trip for|
a year later in Aug 2020
|Jun 2020||Re-book to Jun 2021||Due to Covid, the trip in Aug 2020 was canceled. The “replacement” |
trip was going to be in late May 2021 but that conflicted with my
wedding anniversary. Finagled a way onto the Jun 2021 trip.
|Jan 2021||Preemptively move to Aug 2022||We’ll see…|
|Aug 2022||Bikini Trip||We’ll see….|
Chasing the dream
In August 2022 it will have been 5.5 years since my initial booking and I’ll be staring down the barrel at 55 years old.
Sometimes it takes 5+ years of chasing a dream to find it….