Bikini Atoll is the site of one of the most exclusive diving experiences in the world! Bikini was once the site of the postwar nuclear tests code named "Operation Crossroads" and its lagoon now offers a collection of wrecks with major historical significance. The sunken fleet includes battleships, destroyers, submarines, cruisers, attack transports and the only aircraft carrier wreck accessible to divers, the USS SARATOGA. At Bikini, you will witness firsthand the effects of a nuclear explosion on warships, as these are the only ships in the world ever sunk by an atomic bomb.
A nuclear test site? How about the radiation? W. L. Robison, of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, concluded after over 20 years of testing in Bikini, that, "The potential dose [of radiation] to a person swimming in the Bikini Lagoon around or through the sunken ships is so low...that it can be considered essentially zero." The chances are you are receiving more radiation from background sources at your hometown right now than if you were to be at Bikini.
The diving environment at Bikini is certainly unique and as such requires special procedures:
Contrary to what most people believe, Bikini is actually a very benign environment for deep diving as we have a clear, warm water lagoon with no discernible current. The maximum depth attained on any of our dives is 175 feet (you will need a shovel to get deeper than that!). Dive centers are set up to deal with the risks of staged decompression diving in a way that divers with no previous experience are allowed to gain some new skills and at the same time have an incredible experience in diving. You don't need to be a "Super Tech Diver" to do dive Bikini but it's usually required that the diver has an absolute minimum of 50 dives and be comfortable in and under the water. Buoyancy and ascent rate skills are an absolute necessity. If basic skills are still a problem for you--such as clearing a flooded mask or recovering a regulator that has fallen out of your mouth--you should reconsider diving on Bikini until you have more experience.
For those that come here without formal training, dive centers offer IANTD courses on island--Advanced Nitrox, Technical Diver and EANx Wreck Diver (Wreck Penetration) as well as a Nitrox Blender course.
During 1946, following the end of WW2, the USA gathered together a “mock” naval fleet in order to test the effects of atomic bombs on the large fleet. The site chosen for the explosive tests was Bikini Atoll. Around the same time French fashion designer Louis Reard was looking for a name for his new, controversial, tiny swimsuit design and the “Bikini” was launched.
Bikini Lagoon became the final resting place for some of the most significant warships in history. Bikini Atoll was opened for diving in 1996 allowing divers to experience some of the most historic and amazing wreck diving in the world.