Sitting in the central Pacific Ocean, the Marshall Islands are a chain of volcanic islands and coral atolls waiting to be discovered. This remote destination is known by few people, with around only 6000 tourists visiting each year. Yet it is an unrivalled wreck diving destination with immaculate coral reefs and the world’s largest shark sanctuary. If you are looking for a dive vacation with a difference, this is it. Read on to find out more about the Marshall Islands and Bikini Atoll diving.
The Marshall Islands & Bikini Atoll diving – where to go.
The gorgeous Marshall Islands consist of two island groups: The Ratak Chain in the east and Ralik Chain and in the west. Between them, they host 29 coral atolls and thousands of tiny islets with an array of dive opportunities.
As well as offering Bikini Atoll diving, the Marshall Islands have numerous rarely-visited coral reefs and jaw-dropping underwater landscapes busy with marine life.
The Ralik Chain.
Rongelap Atoll almost completely enclose the lagoon within and offer protected waters that few people have ever explored. This atoll only recently reopened to divers after years of being used as a nuclear testing site.
Having been sheltered from human influence for more than 50 years, the dive sites are spectacular. This is a real hidden gem for divers, where you will find healthy fish populations and colorful reefs that plunge into the depths.
It takes time to get to, but this is a must-visit destination to combine with Bikini Atoll diving.
The turquoise waters of Bikini Atoll lure keen Tek-Wreck divers into a world of deep, dark wrecks like no other. Once used as a nuclear testing site, this atoll hosts numerous wrecks in a pristine environment.
Unlike other wreck diving meccas, there is only a small amount of hard and soft corals on the wrecks, leaving the artefacts intact and easy to find. Instead, the wreck exteriors host whip coral forests and are surrounded by huge schools of glassfish.
You are likely to encounter numerous sharks when you go Bikini Atoll diving. The calm waters are home to young tiger sharks, whitetips, blacktips, grey reef sharks and silvertips.
Kwajalein Atoll is the largest coral atoll in the world and surrounds an enormous lagoon that is home to over 100 airplane wrecks. Discarded off a ship at the end of WWII, these airplanes have been sitting in Kwajalein’s calm waters for over 60 years.
Whilst it can be difficult to go diving in Kwajalein Atoll, as it is still an active U.S. Military base, the rewards are well worth it if you can get permission to dive there.
The Ratak Chain.
Majuro Atoll is home to the capital of the Marshall Islands and hosts some of the most popular and accessible dive sites. With abundant coral reefs, plus dramatic pinnacles, drop-offs and channels full of fish, there is plenty for every dive preference.
There are also world-class wrecks that rival Bikini Atoll diving. Unlike Bikini Atoll, Majuro’s wrecks are suitable for recreational divers, and include an old DC-3 plane at 3 to 6 meters deep, a helicopter and a shipwreck.
Just an hour’s boat ride from Majuro, Arno Atoll is made up of 133 palm-covered islands and is an undeveloped part of the Marshall Islands. Go diving there and you can forget the rest of the world even exists.
The idyllic islands of Arno Atoll are fringed by white sand beaches and turquoise waters, with healthy coral reefs and walls. These rich waters host dolphins, whales, and big pelagics, including schools of tuna and sharks.
With water visibility reaching up to 30 meters, it is an ideal place to go diving.
How get to the Marshall Islands.
The Marshall Islands international airport is located on Majuro Island and United Airlines is the only airline that flies there. The internal airline, AIR Marshall Islands, offers flights between the atolls.
Experience level needed.
Bikini Atoll diving is suitable for experienced divers only, as most of the wrecks are beyond recreational limits. Other than Bikini Atoll, diving in the Marshall Islands is suitable for less experienced divers and snorkelers as well.
Best time to dive the Marshall Islands.
You can dive year-round but May to October is the main diving season.
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