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Bikini Wreck Diving
 

History of Nuclear Tests at Bikini Atoll
General Info on the Wrecks

 

History of Nuclear Tests at Bikini Atoll

In 1945 the US developed the first atomic bomb. The first test, Trinity, took place in New Mexico and 2 bombs are dropped on the Japanese cities of Nagaskai & Hiroshima. The two main reasons for this were so to make the Japanese surrender and thus avoid a land invasion of Japan, a scenario that filled the US military with dread. have to invade Japan and secondly as a little warning to the Soviets to deter them from thinking they can "expand" into Europe too far!

In 1946 the US found a remote and sparsely inhabited island in the Marshall group, throwing off 167 natives "for the good of mankind" and arranged to test three nuclear bombs on various obsolete and captured WW2 ships to see what they would do to them. The operation was known as Operation Crossroads, because mankind was, it seemed, at a nuclear crossroad.

As comedian Bob Hope commented: As soon as the war ended, we located the one spot on earth that hadn't been touched by the war and blew it to hell.

This was not only the US showing off its might, but also an internal ding-dong between the navy and the newly formed Air Force (the air force having previously been part of the army). The first test is an air drop, by the air force, on 1 July. A 20kt device similar to that used on Japan, it landed 600 yards off target, which is why most of the films and photos of it are off centre! It was "not very impressive" to the thousands of people observing. It did sink a few small ships, but the big ships survived to tell the tale. For the next 3 weeks people scrambled over them, LIVED in them and all built up nice doses of radiation, thank you very much indeed.

On 25 July the navy, having suspended a similar device 90ft below the surface of the sea, set off their bomb. Kaboom! A much more impressive display, it has to be said. This explosion not only looked amazing, it also dumped serious amounts of radiation on the ships and on Bikini. Those that are now at the bottom of the lagoon sank, some, like the Germand battlecruiser Prinz Eugen got towed to Kwajalein and sank, and some were returned to the US and were broken up or used for target practice.

The resulting data was used for scientific purposes to determine the future of nuclear weapons and Bikini was abandoned. (Remember, there were to be 3 tests.)

The people of Bikini now assumed that they would be able to return to their island soon after the tests had finished, but obviously they had not been told about the radiation. They were subsequently banished from their island until it was safe to return. As history relates, they are yet to do so, and most are currently living on the island of Kili, waiting for their safe return.

Things remained quiet until 1948, when Truman authorised a series of tests because Cold War tensions were increasing and the only stockpiles of weapons that the US had were based on the design of the Trinity test, as used in Japan and at Bikini. These tests were to take place at Enewetak, also in the Marshalls. Subsequently, there were 7 more "Operations" at Enewetak and at the Nevada test site, including, in 1952, Operation Ivy, where the US started developing a hydrogen bomb - a thermonuclear device. The Mike test at Enewetak on I November 1952 was that test, and this paved the way for Operation Castle in 1954, to take place on Bikini.

Having built a hydrogen bomb at Enewetak that was about the size of a house, the US started trying to redesign the bomb to make it deliverable by air.

On 1 March 1954 the US tested their third bomb at Bikini - the Bravo. This was the first dry or solid fuel hydrogen bomb, filled with lithium deuteride, and was the largest bomb EVER set off by the US. In fact, it resulted in an explosion almost 3 times greater than expected, due to the tritium provided by the lithium-7 isotope which made up most of the lithium. Coming in at a whopping 15 megatons (that's 15 million tons of TNT equivalent, compared with only 20 thousand tons for the 1946 tests and those in Japan), the bomb vaporised 3 islands, and blew a hole 250ft deep and 6500ft in diameter in the atoll. The resulting mushroom cloud rose 130,000ft into the air, and drifted across the atolls of Rongerik, Rongelap, Ailinginae and Utirik because the powers that be could not be bothered to wait for the prevailing winds to blow the radioactivity away from islands of inhabitation, but rather wanted to set the thing off on the day they had planned. This was to be the worst radiological disaster in US history. The entire atoll was contaminated, and the exclusion zone around the test was increased to 570,000 sq miles, a circle 850 miles in diameter.

The Americans had got their 3 tests in at Bikini and their thinking was, well the place is totally uninhabitable now, let's nuke it to hell! In the space of 2 and a half months from 1 March to 14 May 1954, the Americans dropped 48 megatons of bombs on Bikini. By 1958, when they finished, the total was nearer 75 megatons.

The Bikinians then started asking questions such as:
Q: What the have you done to our island?
A: Err…nuked it
Q: When can we go back?
A: Aah, ummm, well, not for a VERY long time, I am afraid.
Q: Can we sue you?
A: Oh, darn, shoot

So various trust funds were set up for the Bikinians, and they have been living off them every since. A few families returned to Bikini in 1968 but soon became ill, and since then they have never really trusted anything the Americans will say to them about whether it is or is not safe to return.

The main reason that they can’t go back is because there is Caesium in the soil, and the breadfruit trees, coconut & pandanus palms - their main staple diet - take up caesium instead of potassium, and irradiate their fruit. The coconut crabs that also eat the coconuts have taken the caesium into their bodies. Bikinians like eating coconut crabs. The ground water is also contaminated. So all their "land" food is unfit to eat.

Bikini was "abandoned" for a few decades, and in the late 80s a feasibility study was done on the wrecks to see if the place could be turned into a marine park where divers pay money to see them. The rest, as they say, is history.


RADIOLOGICAL STATUS

The US Dept of Energy and Lawrence Livermore Laboratories have done extensive research and monitoring of Bikini. Their reports state in general that the environment poses no radiological danger. However, there are some very low amounts of residual caesium deep in the soil that may be absorbed into plants with deep root structures such as coconut trees. If these plants are consumed in large quantities over a long periods of time, an unacceptable level of caesium may be absorbed by humans. (Remember the Austrian wine scare?!) The background radiation at Bikini is approximately 1/10th that of a major city such as London or New York. Remember, the staff at the resort would not be there if there was any danger!

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General Info on the Wrecks

Bikini Atoll contains perhaps the most important collection of WW2 shipwrecks anywhere on earth. There are places with more wrecks - Rabaul & Hansa Bay in Papua New Guinea, Truk Lagoon further to the Northwest of the Marshalls have more. But none have battleships or an aircraft carrier! There are numerous other shipwrecks at Bikini than those listed below but with only 12 dives in the week, these are without a doubt the finest examples of their type anywhere in the world.

USS SARATOGA: What is there to say about Saratoga that has not already been said? A US Navy Aircraft Carrier, CV-3, she was only the 3rd US carrier ever built, and the first to be built specifically as a carrier, the others being converted battleships. A steel-hulled vessel with a waterline length of 830 feet, flight deck length of 888 feet and officially weighing 33,000 standard tons, the Saratoga is the largest shipwreck most of us are ever likely to dive on! In fact, her flight deck length of 888ft makes her longer than the Titanic. After the attack on Pearl Harbour on 7 December 1941, Saratoga became America's primary carrier in the Pacific. Her service to the US during World War II was distinguished, not least because the Japanese claimed to have sunk her 7 times; she saw action all over the Pacific theatre - Bougainville, Munda, Vella Lavella, Rabaul, Gilbert Islands, Eniwetok, Kwajelein, Sumatra, Java, Iwo Jima and the Tokyo area of Japan. Her planes are known to have sunk 1 Japanese carrier, 2 cruisers and several destroyers, and shot down numerous enemy planes. Her finest hour was undoubtedly at Iwo Jima, where she survived 7 aerial bombs and Kamikaze attacks from no less than 5 planes. 123 crew died in the ensuing infernos, but Saratoga gamely refused to sink. Her actions during World War II gained her an unprecedented 7 Battle Stars. By 1945, however, Saratoga was out of date, superseded by faster carriers capable of carrying more planes & munitions over greater distances. Having partaken in the Magic Carpet run - she shipped some 30,000 war weary American troops home across the Pacific on 8 crossings - Saratoga was graciously retired, and sailed to Bikini Atoll for the US military's A-bomb tests.

Saratoga, like so many of the ships at Bikini, survived the Able Blast, but succumbed to damage caused by the massive shock waves and water surge that Baker Blast created. Some 8 hours after Baker Blast Saratoga finally slipped between the waves. New York Times correspondent Hanson W. Baldwin wrote this epitaph as he watched Saratoga sink slowly beneath Bikini's lagoon: "There were many who had served her in the observing fleet and they fought with her through the long hot hours as the sun mounted. Outside the reef...the observing ships cruised, while the Sara slowly died. There were scores who wanted to save her - and perhaps she might have been saved, had there been a crew aboard. But she died a lonely death, with no man upon the decks once teaming with life, with pumps idle and boilers dead. From three o'clock on she sank fast, her buoyancy gone, as the fleet kept the death watch for a 'fighting lady'. The Sara settled - the air soughing from her compartments like the breath from exhausted lungs. At 3:45 pm the starboard aft corner of her flight deck was awash; then the loud speakers blared: 'The water is up to her island now; the bow is high in the air.' She died like a queen - proudly. The bow slowly reared high; the stern sank deep, and, as if striving for immortality, the Sara lifted her white numeral 3 high into the sun before her bow slipped slowly under. Her last minutes were slow and tortured; she fought and would not sink, but slowly the 3 was engulfed by the reaching waters, the tip of her mast was the last bit of Sara seen by man." Unless, of course, you are a diver fortunate enough to be visiting Bikini Atoll!

Like all the warships at Bikini, Saratoga was "battle ready" - as well as primed munitions and a complement of bunker & aviation fuel, she carried 3 of the US Navy's Helldiver single-engine dive bombers and an Avenger single-engine torpedo bomber, located in the main hangers, in a line just aft of the forward elevator. 500lb bombs are also located in the same area. Eight paired 38 calibre guns in four houses - two forward and two aft; 12 single 38 calibre guns & 24 Bofors antiaircraft guns of which six have been located; and 52 Oerlikon 20 mm anti-aircraft guns of which five have been located bristled along the edges of the flight deck. Twelve Mk 51 gun fire-control directors can be found next to the anti-aircraft guns. Forward of the bridge can be found one of her large twin 5-inch turrets, the other having been removed prior to the Bikini tests.

Saratoga is the shallowest dive at Bikini. She sits upright on the seabed 190ft below the surface, but her bridge superstructure can be clearly seen from the surface, being only 40ft down. Spiralling down the bridge you arrive at the flight deck in about 90ft. The gaping maws that are the main elevators lead down to the hanger deck at about 130ft.

Because of her vastness Saratoga is worthy at least 4 during a week at Bikini. The first "check-out" dive (some check-out dive!) is on Saratoga - a 90ft dive to the flight deck and an inspection of the bridge where a full complement of instrumentation can be found, including dials, telegraph an voice tubes. The conning tower portholes are all covered with screens, but they let in some light - a torch is a useful item to have on every dive at Bikini! Also in the superstructure can be found a map table, basin and gun directors. A small school of inquisitive batfish can usually be found around the top of the bridge. Dropping down onto the flight deck and moving across to the port side, you pass first the forward munitions lift and then the colossal forward elevator, a square shaft some 70ft wide that drops down into the guts of the ship. Continuing past the elevator and after a 120ft swim (yes, that is how wide the Saratoga is!) you eventually reach the port side. Here can be found various anti-aircraft guns and a forklift truck, which makes for a great photo moment! Returning across the flight deck you pass one of the blast gauge towers, metal structures about 20ft high upon which numerous instruments were placed to measure a range of data from the detonations, including radiation, wind, temperature, light etc. Back to the forward section of the bridge and you can find the Saratoga's 5-inch gun turret, the twin barrels pointing skyward in a final salute. These guns are perhaps the most famous images of the Saratoga.

The second dive on Saratoga takes you into the hanger. Dropping down through the forward elevator shaft you descend a further 50ft below the flight deck to the main hanger deck at 130ft. Moving aft the first things you come upon are a line of 500lb bombs, massive bulbous beasts about 6ft long. Moving aft from the bombs you come across the first of the 4 planes that can be found in the hanger. They are all intact, though those further aft are beginning to deteriorate. From the position of the planes you can clearly see back through the hanger to the light pouring in from the aft plan elevator. The deck in this region buckled during Baker blast, and over the ensuing 55 years has become to slowly collapse downwards. Like a giant's discarded toys, twisted metal, girders and cables are strewn across the hanger floor and drape from the underside of the deck. However, with the ambient light filtering in through the elevators it is easy to make your way aft and out onto the flight deck again. The flight deck near the aft elevator is so severely damaged that it has been crushed down to almost the same level as the hanger deck. From the aft elevator you can proceed back towards the bridge by way of the engine exhausts. Saratoga's conspicuous funnel collapsed onto the deck during the Atom bomb tests but the huge exhausts holes coming up from the engines can be seen in line along the starboard side. From here you can inspect the gun sites and range finders located on the aft section of the bridge before exiting the water.

Another dive is at the bow of the ship. Because Saratoga is so enormous, it is actually quite difficult to get any idea of her true size by looking at individual portions. The bridge is decidedly small in comparison to the overall size of the vessel, as are the elevator shafts. It is only when you consider that each elevator is approximately one-twelfth the length of the ship - and to be honest, that does not really work! - that you get an idea of the size of this behemoth. However, a swim to the bow rectifies that problem. Swim off the flight deck like some old Helldiver and drop down over the bow to the hawsers. The port hawser is empty, the chain for the anchor dropping away below you to the anchor on the sea floor. Each link in the chain is bigger than a human's torso, and they are draped in soft corals and sea whips. A human could fit in the hawser, no problem. The port hawser still contains its vast anchor, a monster chunk of metal about 15ft across. But the true size of the ship is gained if you swim a few yards off from the bow into open water and look down the vessel's prow - the sweeping curve drops down to the sea floor. The sides of the hull sprout millions of whip corals like oversized hairs, and as you look back along the edge of the hull you realise that you are at main deck level in 90ft of water and the hull is resting on the sand some 100ft below you! It is only then that you get a true perspective of exactly how massive the Saratoga really is!

Another Saratoga dive is to the stern section of the ship, where you can gain access through the open passageways along the side of the ship to interior sections, and down to the lagoon floor to gawk at her massive props and rudder.

Saratoga is undoubtedly the most massive wreck that most people are likely to dive and she still has secrets to give up. She has some 8 deck levels, but only the first 3 have been even remotely scrutinised; her engine rooms are yet to be accessed. With the large amounts of sediment to be found in the wreck, and with her increasing age, this will probably be unlikely, as well. For all that, she is without doubt the most famous shipwreck upon which I have ever dived!

Saratoga Deck Plans & Perspectives

HIJMS NAGATO: Which brings us on to the Nagato. If Saratoga is the most famous ship at Bikini then Nagato I surely the most infamous! She was the first warship in the world to have 16 inch guns and was the largest battleship in the world at her launch. 708ft in length and weighing 38,500 tons, Nagato had eight 16 inch guns in 4 turrets, 2 forward and 2 aft, twenty 50 calibre guns, 4 antiaircraft guns, three machine guns and eight torpedo tubes, 4 above the water and 4 below. She was a striking ship, not least because of her size, but because of her distinctively high bridge superstructure, that seemed to tower ever upwards, making the ship look extremely unstable! She wasn't. Nagato was the Japanese Imperial Navy's largest capital ship until the launch of the super battleships Yamato & Musashi and it was from her bridge that Admiral Yamamoto ordered the attack on Pearl Harbour in December 1941. She was the only Japanese capital ship to survive the entire war and partook in the official surrender of Japan in Tokyo Bay in 1945 (along with Missouri, which can be found moored at Pearl Harbour). It was therefore fitting that she be taken to Bikini and used in the A-Bomb tests. Having over seen so much devastation of her own making, it was time for a bit of payback!

Nagato survived both Able & Baker Blasts and sank a few days after Baker, on 29 July 1946. Being a battleship, and top-heavy, ship flipped over on descent, and now rests upside down on the lagoon floor in 170-180ft of water. Because her main gun turrets were fitted bayonet-fashion to the deck, and not held in place by the sheer weight, like in most warships, they remain attached to their barbettes. The ships main superstructure holds her of the seafloor, so you can inspect all 4 main turrets with ease.

Nagato is an overwhelming diving experience! As you dive down to her, her hull stretches away into the distance in both directions. From the shot line you drop down over the port side (which is on the starboard side, because the boat is upside down!) and swim along the edge of the deck. Forward you pass some of her smaller guns, huge cogs and wheels, winches, and other paraphernalia. As you swim towards the bow you don't realise until it I almost too late that at some point you have stopped swimming along the side of the boat but dropped slightly down and under, and are swimming alongside one of her massive gun turrets. These huge objects are about 50ft long - out of them stick two monster gun barrels, each 60ft long and with a girth at the base of about 5ft. Tampions are fitted to each barrel to stop sea water entering the barrel and thus the breach mechanism, and they are covered in whip corals. Remember, they are the second largest guns ever fitted to a warship (only Yamato & Musashi had larger guns), and the only 16 inch guns that you will ever dive on. Awesome! Forward from here and you come to the bow, where anchor chains droop down to the seabed. You can get right under the ship here and swim out the other side! On your return along the ship you come across a strange section of superstructure resting on the seabed by the side of the ship, ripped off from the deck as the ship sank. Ironically the bridge has come apart from the Nagato and came to rest next to her. You can now swim where Yamamoto once stood.

The second dive on Nagato is to the rear. As you swim along the underside of the vessel you can access a hole in the deck that takes you up through an opening into the aircraft hanger located forward of her C-turret. Here numerous dials and other stuff an be seen. Looking aft through the massive entrance to the hanger you can see C & D Turret silhouetted against the open sea, festooned with whip corals, and held in place above the seabed by their bayonets. Imagine if they had dropped out of their barbettes? You would not be able to see these monster guns to their full advantage! Swimming past the guns an out to the stern you then come up over the hull and the grand finale! Nagato's 4 massive propellers stick skywards from the hull. Each prop has 4 blades and each blade I about 8ft long; each prop is 20ft across. I've never seen bigger! With clear water and plenty of ambient light photographers can easily capture a single propeller on film! Nagato is my favourite dive at Bikini because, to be honest, I prefer 16 inch guns and stuff like that!

USS ARKANSAS: Arkansas was a US dreadnought battleship from the First World War, but had numerous refits throughout her long and distinguished career. A riveted steel vessel, Arkansas was 562ft long with a maximum beam of 106 feet, a draft of 29ft and weighed 23066 tons. Fitted to be a flagship, Arkansas contained more elaborate quarters than standard. Arkansas was stationed in both the Pacific and European theatres of war, and was involved in the initial bombardments of the Normandy beaches during the D-Day landings. She, like Saratoga, was out of date by 1945, superseded by a new class of battleship, of which Missouri is the only remaining example. She was slow, poorly armoured and out gunned by her rivals, and the US Navy now had no real need for battleships with naval warfare being dominated by carrier based fleets.

Prior to the Able blast, Arkansas was fitted with blast gauge towers, test equipment and test ordinance. A 90mm howitzer was also secured to the deck. Armaments that can be found are three 51 calibre Mk13 guns on single mounts, damaged shutters and splinter shields from 40mm anti-aircraft guns. Inside the casemate, two 5-inch rounds can be found in the ready rack. There were no recorded alterations made to the Arkansas prior to the Baker blast. The seriously damaged Arkansas lies inverted on the bottom of Bikini Lagoon in 180ft of water. The keel is at 100ft, the weather deck at 160ft, while the aircastle can be found at 170ft. The first thing you notice as you drop down to the bottom of the Arkansas's hull (at the top!) is the terrible damage inflicted on her by the tests. Her hull is crushed like a concertina, huge waves of buckled hull plates folded in on the more rigid structure of the girders within. Testament to the forces unleashed by the A-Bombs!

On the port side (to be found to starboard!) one of her large forward turrets is turned out to sea, the 12 inch gun barrels sticking proud of the ship's hull. The bow stands off from the seabed and you can gain access underneath. The view up the bow is impressive, the whole being covered in whip corals and small hard coral formations.

USS PILOTFISH: US Navy Submarine. A welded and riveted, high-tensile-steel submersible that was 311.8 feet long and weighed 2,424 standard tons submerged. Known alterations to the Pilotfish prior to the Able blast included weights, wire rope moorings as well as salvage fitting connections. The two periscopes were removed and the shears scope tubes were blacked out. Submerged for the Baker blast, Pilotfish was moored at a depth of 168 feet at a range a 363 yards from the point of the blast. The armaments onboard include a single 40mm rapid-fire recoil-type gun. Aft, on the after cigarette deck of the sail is a mounted twin 20mm Orelikon gun. Pilotfish is almost completely intact with exception of a small portion of the conning tower which was blown away. Pilotfish lies upright at 175 feet. The conning tower can be reached at 130 while the deck is at 150 feet. The only open hatch is the after escape trunk. The submarine is believed to be flooded.

USS APOGON: Apogon is one of two US Navy submarines sunk at Bikini, the other being the Pilotfish. A welded, riveted and high-tensile Balao-class steel submarine, Apogon was 311ft long and 47ft high; she could dive to depths of 400 ft. Apogon played an important role in co-ordinating attack information with other boats and was part of a successful raiding party known as the "Mickey Finns," which sank 41,000 tons of Japanese shipping. The boat's primary armaments consisted of ten 21-inch torpedo tubes - six forward and four aft - with 24 Mark torpedoes. The boat also mounted a single 5 inch gun onto the deck forward of the conning tower. She is almost identical to the Bowfin that can be found moored at Pearl Harbour. On 11 September 1945 Apogon was selected to take part in Operation Crossroads. The vessel was modified to submerge and surface without a crew during the exercise. Lightly damaged during the Able Blast, Apogon sank during the Baker Blast into 180 feet of water. Salvage attempts were made and then shortly abandoned. Apogon is a beautiful dive, not least because she is completely covered in hip corals & soft corals, and shrouded in swirling schools of glassfish, that are usually found around the conning tower. Sitting upright on the bottom and at "only" 300ft in length, she is easily viewed in a single dive, starting at the stern, where her props are clearly visible, as are the stern torpedo tubes that are open. The conning tower is stunning, with her 5 inch gun pointing forward, the whole covered in beautiful corals. The wooden deck has rotted away, exposing the pressure hull beneath, and you can clearly see where the deck hatches run from where the wooden deck used to be, down to the pressure hull beneath. One of her hatches is open so the chances are the entire vessel is flooded.

USS LAMSON: A welded steel destroyer, Lamson was 341ft long at the deck, with a waterline length of 334ft. Armament consisted of a main battery of five 5 inch guns and three 21 inch torpedo tubes mounted on deck. Lamson additionally carried four .50 calibre machine guns, two depth charge tracks, and K-type depth charge projectors. In July 1937, nearly a year after her commission, the vessel searched the Gilbert and Marshall Island groups for the missing aviator Amelia Earhart. Lamson was heavily damaged and sunk during the Able Blast on 1 July 1946. The test burst tore off the light topside superstructure, stacks and mainmast and smashed the bridge. Lamson is lying upright with her stern near a depression in the reef indicating she sank stern first. The guns remained in the mounts and the torpedo tubes are intact. The depth charge tracks are twisted and torn but you can clearly see the depth charges in the tracks. Lamson is an awesome wreck. She has everything you could ever dream of finding on a shipwreck (if only Nagato was sitting upright!) - large guns, anti-aircraft guns, depth charge tracks, torpedo tubes (with the torpedoes hanging out!), the whole nine yards! The old bridge superstructure was destroyed during Able Blast but the ships telegraph and some of the instrument binnacles are still in place. Like the Apogon, Lamson is covered in whip corals & soft corals, and her forward 5 inch gun has a large plate coral growing at the end of the barrel. Schools of glassfish can be seen everywhere, and there are aggregations of marbled grouper and coral trout everywhere. Lamson is worthy of at least two dives.

USS ANDERSON: A Sims-class destroyer of 2,300 tons displacement, 348ft in length but only 25ft in beam. She was thus very sleek and very fast. She produced an incredible 50,000bhp (that's a lot of power for a 2,300 ton ship!) and was capable of a massive 37 knots.

Her primary roll was as a carrier escort. It is sad - but at the same time amusing - to note that Anderson was not very good at her job:

Lexington - sunk at the Battle of the Coral Sea
Yorktown - sunk at the Battle of Midway
Hornet - sunk at the Battle of the Eastern Solomons
Wasp - sunk at the Battle of Gaudalcanal

Hmmm… there seems to be a theme running through this, don’t you think! 4 carriers lost in 4 separate battles, all escorted by the Anderson. No wonder they decided to sink her at Bikini - perhaps she was jinxed!!!!

Anderson was very close to Able Blast Ground Zero and in fact was one of the few ships to sink in that blast. Navy divers reported her lying upright on an even keel after the Able blast. However, she is actually lying on her port side, so one can only assume that the shock wave from Baker knocked her over on her side. Either that or the divers were narked!

Like all good destroyers she bristles with toys: anti-aircraft guns, depth charge racks & projectors (racks drop them off the back of the boat, projectors hurl them out to the sides), 2 sets of torpedo tubes and 4 5-inch manin guns. Lying on her side as she does gives you an interesting perspective on the ship. Being quite small you can do the whole ship in one dive, starting at the stern. She has fabulous twin props that are great for fotos. From there you move round to the stern deck and move forward, with the wreck on your right. As you swim along you pass depth charge racks, guns, guns, the first set of torpedo tubes, which stick up in the air and look very impressive indeed. You then come to the bridge which has great portholes in it, and is always full of glassfish and then a blast guage tower (used during the nuclear tests), then more guns and yet more guns and then to the bow. The boat rests on a sandy bottom, with a small reef next to it. The ambient light and the way the sand scoops under the bow make it probably the most impressive of all the bows in Bikini to photograph, espcially as it is not so big that you have to be 100ft away from it. A diver above gives an excellent perspective. Anderson is a wonderful taster for the Lamson, another destroyer at Bikini.

USS CARLISLE: Carlisle was a 426ft Gilliam-class attack transport. Attack transports were essentially freighters, but were both heavily armed & armoured. This gave attack transports a dual role of supply ship and escort vessel on convoys. Carlisle sits upright on the lagoon floor, and her bow area is frequented by a large school of jacks. I saw them swirling rapidly along the edge of the hull, a vortex of perhaps 500 silvery jacks. The holds of Carlisle contain plenty of interesting stuff - plane engines & props, shells, ammo belts and rows of small ships' propellers. I found a strange little trolley with what appeared to be caterpillar tracks. I assume that it was for moving shells across the deck. You can find a loo situated amidships, sitting on one of the old gun mounts. Always amusing for photographers to take a picture of a diver sitting on it!!!

USS GILLIAM: 426-foot attack transport. Sitting upright with extensive midship damage. Highlights include distinct rear gun, fish life.

HIJMS SAKAWA: 550-foot Agano-class cruiser. Positioned 500 yards from ground zero of Able blast.

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