Iakwe from Bikini!
We are in the Bikini Atoll as I write this, but due to its remoteness, will likely be in Pohnpei of the Federated States of Micronesia when I send it. This is the final week in the Marshall Islands, finishing in beautiful, historical, and World Heritage site, Bikini.
Bikini is of historical importance due to, like most spots in the Pacific, its role in WWII. It is a former nuclear testing site for the US military, who wanted to know the impact of nuclear weapons on ships. Because of that, the entire population was relocated due to radiation effects. Since, very few have come back – though there is no risk of radiation from visiting or living here, habitants still cannot eat the food grown or the fish caught, meaning their primary survival is dependent on supply boats when the visitor tours come every month or so.
Bonus – immigration has let us come to Bikini without having to go back to Majuro to check out! In Tuvalu and Kiribati they would not let us visit the outer islands without having to come back, meaning we skipped them, rather than sign up for 500-700 miles of backtracking. So we have all the time we want in Bikini to enjoy its remoteness and what is said to be some of the best snorkeling in the world (diving is prohibited without a guide due to the danger of the wrecks and in order to protect the World Heritage site).
BUT upon arrival, our dreams of swimming the days away were ruined. Fucking jellyfish. Everywhere.
This morning I got up and watched them and at no point could count less than 30 in my line of site from where I was sitting on the deck. There would be no swimming near the boat. The good news is that they are not as dense close to shore, so not all of the water is off-limits. They’re actually quite beautiful to watch, and because of the clear water, I was able to get some cool pictures of them and killer video – they seemed very interested by the camera and as soon as I put it in the water, they all got much closer.
So this week has been one filled with sea creatures – the jellyfish here in Bikini, the 457 lb marlin that we saw as the haul for the winner of Majuro’s annual fishing competition, and a bit more fun, the dolphins that swam along with the boat during the departure from Majuro. I got to sleep in as we left and looked out the window through my sleepy eyes and was awoken with a treat. “Dolphins, dolphins!!” I shouted to be sure the captain saw them and we watched as 4-8 jumped and swam with the boat, as if to wish fair winds on our departure.