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Majuro & Arno Atolls

 

Reef sites of Majuro & Arno Atolls
Wreck sites of Majuro & Arno Atolls

Majuro is a bustling city of some 25,000 inhabitants. Strung along the pencil-thin islands that sit atop the atoll's reef, it is serviced by just one main road that runs for 35 miles from Laura Island beyond the airport to the end of Djarrit Island. The main city of Majuro is no picture postcard place, but looking across the lagoon you can see the enticing palm covered islands and sandy white beaches that are synonymous with the Marshall Islands. There are two main hotels in Majuro, but we prefer the Marshall Islands Outrigger Resort. Each room has a lagoon view, balcony or veranda, en suite bathroom and air-conditioning. Satellite TV and IDD telephone allow you to keep in touch with the real world. The resort has a saltwater swimming pool, bar, restaurant and gift shop, and can arrange a variety of tours around the islands. There are a variety of additional restaurants and watering holes to chose from in Majuro.

The Outrigger also has its own in house dive operation, Bako Divers, owned by the larger than life (and ZZ-Top wannabe look alike!) Jerry Ross. Bako - Marshallese for shark - have a custom designed dive boat that caters for small groups of approximately 6 divers (access to other dive boats is available for larger groups), and they generally offer 2 or 3 dives per day, with a picnic lunch taken on the boat or a neighbouring island to your dive area.

Diving in Majuro Atoll is superb, offering anything from drift dives through Kalalin Pass to ship and plane wrecks from WWII to towering boomies rising from the lagoon floor. Arno Atoll, only 15 miles to the east of Majuro offers equally fabulous diving, but a visit here is very much weather dependent.

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REEF SITES

  • CORAL PINNACLES
    10-120 ft. depth. Majuro Lagoon is full of coral pinnacles that rise from the sandy lagoon bottom to just below its surface. These hard coral gardens are amazing, colorful, and teeming with life. Like huge condominium complexes, these self-sustaining ecosystems are home to most every type of animal in the sea. Nearly 800 species of fish populate these areas along with crabs, lobster, anemone, urchin, sponges, clams, eels and sea stars. Dogtooth tuna and white-tip sharks are occasionally spotted, cruising the lagoon, from these dive sites. The pinnacles are always crowd pleasers, offering comfortable exploration at your own pace for the novice to advanced diver.

  • KALALEN PASS
    30-130+ ft. depth. "The Pass", as it is called locally, is a fantastic location for drift dives. Steep coral walls and great visibility are the name of the game here. See hundreds of species of fish and coral while drifting through a school of Jacks or watch a green sea turtle, eagle ray, or gray reef shark glide on the current in search for food. The pass offers thrilling sights for everyone! It is common to see three of four species of shark on a single dive, including the majestic Silvertip shark that has been sighted at lengths exceeding 8 ft. at this location.

  • KALALEN ISLAND
    15-85 ft. depth. Kalalen, adjacent to the ocean pass allowing shipping travel in and out of Majuro lagoon, is home to a fantastic coral reef that benefits from the bounty of rich tidal flow. Located in the lagoon, this beautiful reef is full of colorful fish and corals. Both hard and soft corals thrive here on the constantly exchanged water of the Pacific Ocean. Everything from angelfish to the Titanic triggerfish can be seen here, as well as octopi, eels, butterfly fish, sharks, and much more.

  • SECOND ISLAND
    5 - 120 ft. depth. A beautiful coral reef adjacent to the second island East of Kalalen pass. A large resident school of Bream and sleeping whitetip sharks punctuate this site. Hard corals and tropicals thrive as Grass eels, striped shrimp gobys and their resident shrimp litter the sandy bottom surrounding the coral head as it spills down the sandy slope.

  • FOURTH ISLAND
    10 -100 ft. depth. Another prime reef inside Majuro Lagoon, this site offers incredible hard coral formations teeming with life. Schools of Kiribati Red Snapper swirl across the reef wall, while tens of thousands of tropical reef fish wait to be seen. Extremely calm conditions at this sitemake it a favorite for relaxing second dives and new divers. Three species of anemone and anemone fish, numbering in the hundreds, can bee seen here, including the Marshallese Three Striped Clownfish.

  • BOKOLAP ISLAND
    12 - 120 ft. depth. This phenomenal site boasts the most incredible coral heads, 4 different species of anemone, three species of clownfish, Harlequin shrimp, 3 species of lionfish, nudibranch, and thousands upon thousands of fish. As if that weren't enough, there is also a WWII U.S. torpedo plane in 115 ft. as well. And, it's all part of the same dive tour!

  • ANEKO ISLAND
    12 - 90 ft. depth. Another incredible exploration dive, Aneko has hundreds and hundreds of shallow and deep water coral heads ranging in size from a refrigerator to a train-car. All manner of anemone, tropical fish, cleaner shrimp and much more are here. We often find turtles resting atop the coral heads as we "connect the dots" from one coral head to the next. Also, there is a very large coral garden in deeper water that sprawls over an area a couple hundred yards square. Two different dives, same location.

  • THE BRIDGE
    20 - 130+ ft. depth. Just 10minutes from the our dock lies one of the most incredible steep coral wall dives. Hard plate corals are stacked one atop another from the reef-top transition to well beyond recreational dive limits. Mixed in the plates are a myriad of black corals, Tridacna clams, and spiraling table corals that will take your breath away. Of course, the fish are thick in all directions. Multi-color angels are prolific below 90 ft. as are Decorated and Helfrecht's dartfish. Whitetip sharks cruise here with extreme regularity. Silvertip sharks are also encountered quite often. Schools of red snapper swirl at depth looking for a meal while Napoleon wrasse feed in the shallows. The Bridge is an incredible dive that many call their favorite.

  • NORTH SHORE
    30-130+ ft. depth. This area of outer reef on the ocean side of Kalalin Island is a pristine gradual slope populated by thousands of table corals, anemone, and tens of thousands of tropical reef fish. Schools of fusiliers rain down from the surface as you glide toward the transition from slope to near vertical wall. Sharks, rays, dogtooth tuna, and turtles are also seen here regularly.

  • RIVIERA
    30-130+ ft. depth. A newly developed dive site, this area of Majuro's northern ocean-side reef is accessible in mild weather conditions only. However, its "beyond world class" offerings are second to none. Mild currents move you down this nearly two-mile stretch of pristine reef populated by hundreds of thousands of reef fish and corals. Visibility here is commonly beyond 140 ft., which makes for unsurpassed color on sea-life at all depths. Imagine gliding along with a school of 100 red snapper, all over 20 lbs., at 95 ft. and being able to clearly see sleeping sharks on the sandy bottom, some 70 feet below, well beyond the limits of recreational diving! It's incredible. All manner of sharks and rays, including Mantas and Spotted Eagle rays have been encountered here, along with the tens of thousands of reef fish you can see on ONE dive!

  • THE AQUARIUM
    60-130+ ft. depth. Located in the middle of the outer reef wall of Kalalin Channel, this natural "horse shoe" shaped feature creates an area where tidal flow is compressed, concentrating the flow of rich, open ocean sea water as it enters Majuro Lagoon. During incoming tides this area is THICK with thousands of Horse Eye Jacks, Black & White and Red snapper, Barracuda, and all manner of reef fish numbering in the MANY tens of thousands. The sandy ocean floor at the base of this site is commonly littered with sleeping reef sharks and Sting-rays while Gray reef, White-tip, and Black-tip reef sharks swirl in and out of the feeding schools of pelagics. Schools of Rainbow Runner, Napoleon Wrasse, and huge schools of fusiliers are very common here as well. This site can provide the "dive of a lifetime" to many a diver.

  • MILE 14
    20-130+ ft. depth. This site is one of Majuro's most famous shore dives, undertaken by local divers who brave the breakers to reach this excellent, subtle point on mild to wild drift dives characterized by schooling barracuda, thousands of tropical reef fish, and huge Gorgonian Sea Fans that dot the steep to complete vertical walls. A favorite for deep dives, this location has yielded schools of Dogtooth Tuna and Gray Reef sharks riding the currents in wait of prey. When the conditions are just right, this dive is nearly impossible to beat and a huge crowd pleaser at all other times.

  • MILE 15
    20 - 130+ ft. depth. Just down the reef from Mile 14 lies another fantastic wall dive. Adjacent to cluster of rental units, Mile 15 became a favorite for shore divers. The rental property has a barbeque area with concrete stairs leading down onto the reef top, making shore entry quite easy. A steep drop-off leads to a wall littered with healthy corals and tropicals. Pelagics cruise by regularly and the reef-top is a virtual garden of table corals.

  • MILE 17
    20 - 130+ ft. depth. Two miles west of Mile 15 lies the beautiful Mile 17 dive site. Lazy currents and stunning corals are the name of the game here. As always, tropical fish thrive within the complex structures of hard coral. Mile 17 is always a satisfying dive.

  • SHARK STREET
    30-130+ ft. depth. Accessible only in mild weather conditions, this deep point of reef on Majuro's NE outer reef is home to a school of Horse Eye Jacks, Napoleon Wrasse, Black Coral forests, and thousands of tropical reef fish. Manta and Eagle Rays are spotted regularly each season, as are many White-tip reef sharks. On occasion, numbers exceeding 25 or more sharks can be seen during a single dive.

  • ARNO ATOLL
    30-130+ ft. depth. Just 9.5 miles across open water from Majuro lies another entire atoll which is half again as large as Majuro. However, the total population is fewer than 3,000 people! That translates into the most pristine diving conditions on the planet. Visibility averages over 100 feet and the sea life is unreal. Everything mentioned about the outer reef sites on Majuro is increased here, including the size of the fish and their representative numbers in the water. Arno has over 175 miles of outer reef, much of which is still unexplored by scuba divers.

    New dive sites are being developed all the time and expeditions to locations that have never been dived before are taken each summer. For example, the awesome Silvertip reef sharks seen on Majuro, which reach lengths of over 8 ft., have been encountered at lengths up to and exceeding ten feet at sites on Arno. That equates to a shark over 300 lbs.! This increase in size and frequency make Arno the Mecca for divers that want to "experience" diving at its finest. In fact, Rodale's Scuba Diving called Illian Point, on Arno Atoll, one of the Top Ten Dives in Micronesia, along with Blue Corner in Palau! Sea turtles, sighted in excess of 250 lbs., and large schools of pelagic fish are the complement to the tens of thousands of fish that can be seen on every dive on Arno's outer reef. It is simply amazing. Dive sites at Arno Atoll include Arno Point, Dynamite Pass, Nami, North Point, Langor, South Point, Ene (e-nay) Point, Dodo Pass, and numerous miles of incredible wall dives that remain un-named. Dives at Arno Atoll are weather permitting, due to the fact that the trip to Arno is across open water which can become rough during periods of high wind.

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WRECK SITES

  • THE KABILOK
    80 ft. depth. This sunken freighter once sailed between the outer islands and Majuro, hauling copra (dried coconut meat) and supplies. She lies on her side on a sandy bottom in Majuro Lagoon. A favorite for night dives, the Kabilok offers safe, interesting penetration into the open cargo hold and is home to colorful sponges, whip coral, and tropical fish of many species. On night dives, beautiful batfish and puffers take refuge in and around the wreck. This site is another favorite for photos.

  • EJIT ISLAND/THE PARKING LOT
    10-120 ft. depth. This area of Majuro Lagoon is the location of a U.S. military dumpsite. A small coral pinnacle marks the spot where Jeeps, Trucks, a Navy Tug boat, and an LCU (landing craft) were abandoned and sunk at the end of WWII. The relics, now artificial reefs, are home to colorful sponges, corals, and tropical fish of many species. This area is a favorite for photography and exploration.

  • GRUMMAN DUCK
    9 5 ft. depth. 3.5 miles down the lagoon from BAKO DIVERS' dock is the resting place of a very rare WWII bird, the bi-winged Grumman "Duck". Sitting inverted on the bottom, this "float" plane appears to have crashed on approach to Majuro's WWII carrier re-supply airfield, which was adjacent to this site. Used primarily for search & rescue and reconnaissance, there are said to be fewer than 10 surviving Ducks left in the world. This aircraft is also home to hundreds of fish, sponges, and corals. The "Duck" is in excellent condition and steeped in the history of this area of operation during WWII.

  • F6F HELLCAT
    115 ft. depth. Just 500 meters from our dock at the OUTRIGGER Marshall Islands Resort, this WWII fighter plane sits on a sandy bottom where it came to rest after being pushed overboard from one of the five aircraft carriers that were on Majuro Lagoon in late 1944. The Grumman F6F Hellcat was the U.S. Navy's primary fighter brought into service to battle against the Japanese ZERO. This very robust craft took a hit in the starboard wing before returning to its carrier, having its engine and guns removed, and finally cast into the lagoon with it's wings in pre-flight storage position, folded back against the fuselage. The control stick, rudder pedals, and throttles are still intact. Hundreds of tropical fish, sponges, oysters, and corals have since made their homes there.

  • BOKOLAP ISLAND - GRUMMAN AVENGER
    120 ft. depth. Downed by anti aircraft fire, this Avenger crash-landed on the ocean-side of Bokolap Island, washed over the reef, and sunk inside the lagoon where it rests today. The tail section lies up the rubble slope and is home to a family of three striped Marshallese clown-fish. The plane lies in 115 FSW with the starboard wing covered by falling coral rubble.

  • CENPAC
    60 - 135 ft. depth. Majuro's latest treasure was discovered in January 2003, after sinking nearly ten years ago. This 150' x 35' refrigerator ship was a former copra hauling ship taking supplies and passengers to outer islands, hauling copra (dried coconut) back to Majuro for processing. A resident school of Spade fish, some 200, augment the ship's resident school of Giant sweetlips, documented in the Marshall Islands for the first time! In addition, huge Coral-trout and grouper make their homes here as well. Development of this site is ongoing.

  • B-24 LIBERATOR
    12 ft. depth. This classic American bomber was damaged during a bombing run from Kiribati prior to the U.S. occupation of the Marshall Islands. The pilots brought her down on the reef top at low tide. The pilots were captured but the plane remained and was scuttled by the Japanese soldiers who were stationed here at the time. Although the fuselage has broken apart and been buried in the surrounding sand, more than 2/3 of the wing structure is still intact with all four engines and props. The belly machinegun turret is now the host of corals and fish. This site is a more appropriate snorkel location and not suitable for scuba diving, but still very interesting.

  • RATAK-RALIK
    60 - 92 ft. depth. Just 5 minutes from our dock lies this 120' x 25' freighter sunk in the late 80's. She lies on her port side on a mild slope in 80-92 FSW. The engine room is accessible and very open penetrations are made through the wheelhouse and the hold. R/R is an incredible artificial reef host to thousands of fish.

  • EVANGELINE
    35 - 80 ft. depth. Just 200 yards from Ratak-Ralik lies the Evangeline. Approximately 85' x 20' she lies upright. Blue water penetration of the wheelhouse leads to the exposed hatch into the engine room below. Again, this site is an excellent artificial reef and a very rewarding dive.

  • ANEMONIT ISLAND - DC3
    7 - 70ft.depth. This obsolete cargo-plane fuselage was placed near shore at Anemonit Island, a frequently used beach park, as there is little natural reef in the immediate area for snorkelers. It has since become a very interesting artificial reef, covered in corals and fish. Blue water penetrations are easily and safely made through the open aft section where the plane was dismantled. The tail section lies down the sandy slope in some 70 FSW, again serving as an artificial reef. The area is dotted with other natural coral heads teeming with life. The DC-3 is a favorite of novice wreck and reef divers.

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