Bikini Atoll Island (7′ AMSL)

During most trips to dive the wrecks at Bikini Atoll on Master Liveaboards, about mid-trip, the boat will conduct one dive in the morning and then plan a trip ashore to Bikini Atoll in the afternoon for a picnic and to wander around.

Bikini Island was the “control center” for the nuclear tests performed after WW II.

The island name of Bikini means “coconut place” and consists of 23 islands surrounding the lagoon which is about 230 square miles. Before the tests, the US basically forced all 167 natives to relocate to Rongerik where they basically starved so they were relocated to Kwajalein. Some natives returned back to Bikini in 1970 but scientists found the radiation too high for humans and they were once again evacuated in 1980.

Shore Based Facilities

There are some facilities that are still present on the island. There are the remnants of the original land-based dive operation along with buildings from the US government facilities for the testing. There are “care takers” who live on the island for a few weeks and then rotate out to avoid too much radiation.

Below is a view of the island from Google Maps. You can see the relatively fast drop-off to the south and the long reef structure extending out to the north. The south is where we arrive since it faces the lagoon.

Below is a closeup of the main area of the island (again, from Google Maps):

There are a few different things you can do on the island. If you are feeling adventurous, you can actually circumnavigate it. There is also a shallow landing craft wreck (it is circled in the map picture above). My understanding is that it is the craft that was used by the land based dive operation.

I walked over to the other side (Pacific Ocean) side of the island, then went and checked out a few of the facilities. The most interesting was probably the machine shop. Everything is sill there including tools, parts, etc. It very much feels like a ghost town. I also went and checked out the landing craft and took some quick pictures on a GoPro.

After an hour or two, they bought over some great food from the Master Liveaboard “mother ship” and we had a nice BBQ picnic lunch/dinner and then went back.


Here are some photos from different areas on the island.

Bikini as seen from the ship

Abandoned bar from the original dive operation:

Various testing sites and evacuation areas:

Path and area on the other side of the island that faces the open ocean. I found it interesting that there were what appeared to be sea pines on the island (top center photo).

Here are some photos of the abandoned dive operation, including the “iconic” Bikini tilework in the shower.

The amazing “caught in time” machine shop:

And finally, some photos of the landing craft wreck which is a short walk away from the dive operation:


In my opinion, it is very worthwhile to go ashore if you get the chance. There is a ton of history on the island and it really is “caught in time” and has a “ghost town” feel to it.

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