Monday, February 6, 2012

Happy Birthday to Me!

My 38th birthday was spent wearing a bikini in Bikini! Cool, huh? I had a seriously good day (I'm having another good day today as I celebrate my birthday according to the state's calendar...gotta love the date line). This place is wonderful. We met all six people on the island and they took us snorkeling yesterday. Afterwards, we just hung out under a tree and chatted with them, getting to know a few of the guys. Edward, the dive master here, seems to be the guy in charge. He's from Bikini atoll originally, but his family is now in Hawaii (he has 5 kids). Ben is from the Phillipines and has 6 kids at home! He's the mechanic here and seems to be pretty good at it. He took a Kuboto tractor engine (the same kind we have on Savannah) out of the junk yard and fixed it, then put it in a Ford pickup truck. The thing runs great! We're still getting to know the other guys, but they're all extremely friendly. We brought a package from Rongelap containing their smokes, sugar, and milk for them and I think that made us pretty popular.

You all reading this probably have access to more information than I do, so I'm just going to hit the highlights here about Bikini...
The "bikini" was actually named after the island in 1946. The two piece swimsuit was introduced weeks after the one piece "Atome" was widely was said that the bikini "split the atome" HA!!! I love that.
23 nuclear devices were detonated here in Bikini. Operation Crossroads was the first and I think - the battery is dead on the other computer for me to confirm - it was used to sink a bunch of ships that now serve as wrecks for diving. This place is THE premier place for wreck diving with the only diveable US aircraft carrier in the world...the U.S.S. Saratoga.
March 1,1954 "Castle Bravo" was detonated. It was the largest nuclear explosion ever set off by the US.

There are lots of opinions on whether the atoll is safe for people to live on long term. The scientists and Marshallese government are bickering over the best way to clean it up so it looks as if people won't be moved back on for quite some time. All of the fish are safe to eat, but it's said to be a good idea to avoid the fruit (coconuts, pandanus, etc)...anything grown out of the ground. One or two won't harm you but over a period of time, it's unknown. Ben says he's planted things and eaten them and is just fine, but well, who knows what Ben was like three years ago, right?

More to come on Bikini...

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1 comment:

Doug and Carla Scott said...

Happy Birthday - Bikini sounds like a wonderful place to spend it.

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