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In 1946 the US detonated a 23 kiloton atomic bomb at Bikini Atoll. Historic vessels sunk are deteriorating rapidly and need documenting

THE SHIPS

The naval vessels exposed to close-range atomic blast at Bikini Atoll represent the three major Pacific combatants of World War II. They are the only vessels ever sunk through the detonation of atomic weapons. These unique ships and submarines lie almost two hundred feet underwater, and are rapidly deteriorating. No comprehensive visual record exists to document their current state or unique reactions to their exposure to close-range atomic detonation.  Soon it will be too late.

The ships themselves lie in waters from 40 ft (12 m) to 185 ft (56 m), deep but diveable with the correct equipment and training.

The “Baker” blast at Bikini Atoll was global front-page news when it occurred — so well-known that a French designer scandalized the world by introducing a line of two-piece swimsuits a mere four days after the Baker blast. The name of this new fashion? The bikini.

THE PROJECT

Film, edit, and release a video documentary of The Atomic Armada of Bikini Atoll in order to preserve for history a unique artifact that will not be preserved in the world.

Because of their depth, the wrecks require specialized dive equipment and training to maximize dive and recording time. I will obtain this training in the summer of 2013, then continue independent training on the dive equipment to prepare for the expedition, which will occur in August 2014. This is the soonest an expedition can be mounted to Bikini Atoll, due to limited availability of the sole ship permitted to transport divers to the area.

Newsletters and videoblogs will report progress to contributors during preparation. During the expedition, contributors will receive regular status reports via Twitter and Facebook from location.

BIOGRAPHY

In my almost 25 years as a SCUBA diver and videographer, I have lived and worked in western Canada, on the US east and west coasts, and in Japan. I've explored and video-documented historical wrecks off Vancouver Island, in Palau, Guam, Chuuk Lagoon, the Pacific Northwest and the U.S. Northeast, and many other sites.

As a SCUBA instructor my favorite class to teach is "Wreck Survey". I get to instill my passion for wreck diving and documenting to my students, and educate them in the proper techniques to investigate, research and survey shipwrecks around the world.

EXPENSES

Transportation to Bikini Atoll will be the primary expense, followed by necessary equipment and specialized training. A complete budget for the project can be found here.

TIMELINE

Training on the rebreather required to provide enough time at depth in Bikini Atoll will take approximately 60 days. Subsequent to that approximately 130 hours of independent training time underwater will be utilized to prepare for the expedition. These dives will gradually increase in depth and complexity to ensure readiness for the depths and tasks faced in video-recording the Bikini wrecks.

Given the limited availability of the transport vessel the actual expedition is scheduled for August of 2014, with documentary completion by November of 2014. A dive schedule for the training dives can be found here.

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

1. Poor weather can interfere with SCUBA training. Careful planning can overcome this. Weather conditions can also affect vessel transport dates to Bikini Atoll.

2. Mechanical breakdown of the transport vessel might also delay the trip departure. This could conceivably delay the completion of the documentary, but likely would not halt it.

FAQ

  • There is, but no-one has adequately documented these vessels in their entirety, nor have they been placed in their historical context. Seeing the Arizona Memorial doesn't help to understand the reasons for the Pearl Harbor attack nor the events that happened that morning. The same is true of the Bikini Atoll wrecks. Understanding their place in history requires more than just some video.

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  • Thanks for asking! At this point we've identified all the expedition staff we need, but we appreciate your enthusiasm and hope you'll consider pledging to the project.

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    70 backers

    $25 contributors will receive a copy of the completed documentary on DVD.

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    36 backers

    $50 contributors will receive the $25 reward plus a bonus DVD of our 2004 dive expedition to Chuuk Lagoon to dive the vessels of the Japanese fleet sunk in Operation Hailstone in 1944.

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    7 backers

    $100 contributors will receive the $50 reward plus a limited edition Bikini Atoll 2014 Expedition ball cap.

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    $250 contributors will receive the $100 reward plus an exclusive Bikini Atoll 2014 Expedition t-shirt and their name in the credits of the documentary.

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    $500 contributors will receive two tickets to the public premiere of the documentary, tentatively scheduled for November 2014 in Port Orchard, WA. The premiere will also include a private reception with the filmmakers. In addition, the $500 contributors will receive a signed copy of the completed documentary on DVD, a bonus DVD of our 2004 dive expedition to Chuuk Lagoon, a limited edition Bikini Atoll 2014 Expedition ball cap and an exclusive Bikini Atoll 2014 Expedition t-shirt.

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    $1000 contributors will receive a signed and numbered copy of the film directors' personal expedition photojournal, bound in hard copy. A maximum of 45 of these books will be printed. In addition $1000 contributors will receive two tickets to the public premiere of the documentary, tentatively scheduled for November 2014 in Port Orchard, WA including a private reception with the filmmakers. $1000 contributors names' will receive a solo credit titled "Production made possible by" in the documentary credits. They will also receive a signed copy of the completed documentary on DVD, a bonus DVD of our 2004 dive expedition to Chuuk Lagoon, a limited edition Bikini Atoll 2014 Expedition ball cap and an exclusive Bikini Atoll 2014 Expedition t-shirt.

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    $2000 contributors will receive all of the rewards from the $1000 level plus a private dinner with the directors in Seattle in late 2014.

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