In our last Reefscape story , we explored the northern Marshall Islands in search of answers about the long-term effects of nuclear fallout on coral reefs. Sixty-four years later, in , our coral reef findings at Rongelap and Ailinginae were double-edged : on the one hand, we discovered pristine shallow and deep-water reefs teeming with corals, fish, invertebrates and predators. There was seemingly no sign that these reefs had once been exposed to a nuclear winter. On the other hand, we found recent coral bleaching caused by an ocean heat wave in that generated vast stretches of undersea desert with relatively little life. Our findings were a shock, challenging our understanding of how much a reef can take before it disappears, and confronting us with the possibility that climate change may be worse for coral reefs than nuclear fallout. The voyage to Rongelap and Ailinginae also drew new questions about the repeated atom bomb tests, which occurred kilometers 60 miles west of Rongelap on the famous Bikini Atoll.
Diving the Nuclear Ghost Fleet at Bikini Atoll
Bikini Atoll Wrecks — The Dirty Dozen Expeditions
Baker shot at Bikini Atoll. Bikini Atoll is without a doubt, the top wreck diving destination on the planet! I started to hear stories from Peter, plus some of the others who had been with Peter on a dive expedition to Bikini Atoll in , about how great the place was. Some of the guys on that trip stopped diving for more than two years afterwards saying, "What's the point, nothing can top Bikini Atoll! By the time Peter Fear returned from his second expedition to Bikini Atoll in I was salivating at the concept of diving the USS Saratoga CV-3 , an aircraft carrier and one of the world's largest "dive-able" wrecks. So I booked to go on the expedition and started to do the training to get the skills and certifications I'd need.
Guns, corals and steel: are nuclear shipwrecks a biodiversity hotspot?
We explore both the popular wrecks in Bikini Atoll and those that are dived infrequently. Our itineraries are flexible and designed for the divers on board. Join us for a one-of-a-kind diving experience with a team that understands wreck diving and the thirst for exploration. Here are a few of the wrecks we think showcase the best Bikini Atoll has to offer:. Construction of the ship began in April and after the war broke out, the Prinz Eugen entered German service in August
Some of the nuclear fleet warship wrecks available to scuba dive on during your diving expedition to Bikini Atoll include:. Video of scuba diving on the wreck of the German heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen, which initially survived two Operation Crossroads atom bomb tests at Bikini Atoll but later sunk at Kwajalein Atoll. Credit: Jonathan Bird's Blue World. She survived the first atomic blast Test Able but sank some time after being severely damaged by the second Test Baker underwater blast which was detonated just metres from the carrier. The best of the three "dive-able" aircraft carriers in the world, 'Sara' lies upright in 54 metres feet of water.