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Scuba Diving Bikini Atoll, Marshall Islands

Reader Reviews:

Dive Site: USS Saratoga

Location: Bikini Atoll, Marshall Isles

Description: Carrier


Depth: 12 metres (40 feet) to top of wreck, 30 metres (100 feet) to deck, seabed 50+ metres (165 feet)

Visibility: 20 metres (65 feet)

Rating: *****

A totally amazing wreck. The Saratoga, along with several other ships, sank following the Baker A-bomb test shortly after WWII. The ship is permanently shotted. It is possible to carry out penetrations through the aircraft hanger deck area where planes are still situated, bombed up and ready to go, although the deck is now collapsing. The bridge area is another great penetration and amongst other things it is possible to see the signaller's bugle which still hangs on a hook in the signaller's flat behind the bridge proper. Several aircraft lie on the seabed around the carrier and are accessible though deep at 50+ metres. If you are cave diving qualified the guides will take you deep into the ship where a plethora of artefacts can be found. A standard hardhat diving helmet sits within the lower bridge. Diving the Sara can only be carried out through Bikini Atoll Divers who operate a look AND touch policy but obviously nothing may be removed. Even the deepest dives are carried out on air but accelerated deco is achieved with 74% nitrox on a deco trapeze after the dive. It is not unusual to see some rather large sharks on or around the wreck and even the trapeze... a word of warning, don't wear yellow fins!

Martin Frankcom, BSAC Advanced Instructor

Whilst working as a dive guide and videographer at Bikini Atoll, I was privileged enough to dive this ship many times, sunk during the 1946 Crossroads atomic tests. This is a massive wreck, some 880' long, and standing 30m from the seabed. Many areas of the ship are open for exploration from the hanger deck, with intact Helldiver plane, to galleys, captains and admirals quarters.

Workshops are complete with tools, stores with racks of bombs and torpedoes, and ratings lockers still containing aftershave bottles, plimsoles and even paperback books. I completed over 150 dives on this wreck, and there are still new things to be seen. The highlight was a long penetration to see the dentistry complete with charis, drills, tools and medicine bottles then ending up in a storage area with 3 brass "hard hat" diving helmets.

This is the best dive of a group of the finest dives in the world.

Chris Storey

It has been reported to me that the gun director on the top of the Sara's bridge is collapsing into the hanger deck and that as a consequence there are to be no more penetration dives on the Sara for the forseeable future.

Martin Frankcom, BSAC Advanced Instructor

My father was the navigator of this ship under Adm. Halsey. He died in 1959 but I have many items that he took home from the South Pacific isle during WWII. Most importantly the navigation maps of all the Solomon Isles battles and Guadal canal. If you would be interested in buying them please contact me, I have a chest full of items. You will find his name in the records as 'Adam Albert Reidenbach'.

Albert E. Reidenbach

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