Bermuda is the wreck capital of the Atlantic. However, it is not just the wrecks that lure divers from afar, the reason they are there in the first place is the 200 square miles of hazardous, thriving, and beautiful coral reef - fringed by romantic, pink sand beaches.
The surrounding reef plateau has proved fatal for many ships, with the oldest dive-able wreckage, of the Virginia Merchant, dating back to 1661. Legally protected, the coral reef flourishes with over 650 species of marine life. The added intrigue of caves, tunnels, and grottos entices scuba fanatics to explore the abundant reef system.
Perfect for recreational level divers, many of the 35 wreck sites lay at a depth of 20 to 70 feet; this allows plenty of time to discover the relics from Bermuda's bountiful maritime history. There are estimations of over 300 ships wrecked around Bermuda, of which, 150 have been discovered. Cargo freighters, frigates, and cruise liners met the same fate as gunships, sailing vessels, and steamships.
Bermuda is surprisingly not part of the Caribbean, due to being located 650 miles east of the US, in the Atlantic Sea. Formed by a volcanic peak, the Bermuda Platform is a shallow lagoon surrounded by 181 islands and islets that make up the country. Connected by bridges, the 8 largest islands form the mainland – this is where visitors stay and inhabitants live.
The island has plenty of land activities for visitors – exquisite hiking through nature reserves, horseback riding, and sightseeing. Fishing charters, snorkelling, and tennis are popular vacation pastimes. Topside, renting a motorbike or using the public buses is a great way to get around the island. Bermuda boasts more premium golf courses than any other island, and the PGA Grand Slam of Golf is held annually. Seven championship courses and an academy make Bermuda a world-class destination.
Numerous historic forts and museums allow visitors an insight into the colourful past that shaped this unique retreat. With a rich cultural background that encompasses African heritage and British colonial rule, the flavour of this small country explodes with zest for both its stylish architecture and varied cuisine. The Royal Naval Dockyard was one of the most important British naval bases in the world and hosts the National Museum of Bermuda, nestled inside the original fort and buildings.
The jewel of the Atlantic is an apt name for Bermuda; dazzling treasures await discovery beneath the azure ocean. Divers can explore wrecks or reefs; a labyrinth of caves, grottos and tunnels provide intriguing dives that can be visited again and again. Dive operators evaluate the daily environmental conditions and dive the sites most protected from the elements - wrecks and reefs surround the island - a major benefit for year round diving!
The marine life is plentiful and diverse. Protected inshore areas provide a safe haven for stock replenishment, and large schools of fish are commonly seen at the dive sites. Eagle rays, grouper, and tarpon are some of the larger underwater visitors. Lobster, eels, and smaller critters like flatworms add interest to the complex reef system.
Fully intact, the Hermes is an irresistible dive for photographers and wreck lovers. Originally a cargo freighter, she was purpose-sunk by the dive association in 1984 and she stands upright. Excellent visibility blesses this site; sergeant majors, damselfish, and large schools of barracuda proliferate. Divers can penetrate the 165-foot long ship to explore the cargo hold, engine room, crew quarters, galley and pilothouse. The dive association stripped the ship of hatches to allow easy entries and exits, and emit light to the interior.
The Marie Celeste is one of the most historically famous wrecks in Bermuda. A fast, paddle-wheel steamer; she chartered as a civil war blockade-runner – smuggling ammunitions and food to troops. The Marie Celeste evaded capture, but ran aground on the reef - stories of bribery and bad navigation abound. Her bow, stern, boilers, engine, and two paddle wheels rest at a depth of 55 feet. Huge grouper and eagle rays are the most frequent marine life to be seen.
The Pelinaion was a 385-foot long, cargo steamer from Greece. One of the largest wrecks in Bermudian waters, she ran aground in 1940 after a navigational error. Split into two sections, she lies between 20 to 70 feet. Grunts and snapper swarm around the massive steam boilers and huge engine; barracuda and Bermuda’s blue angelfish often visit the propeller and spare anchor.
The delightful climate that Bermuda experiences is due to its position in the Atlantic Ocean, and not the Caribbean Sea. Summer is the warmest from May through to October - temperatures range between 75°F and 85°F (23°C - 29°C). During winter months, temperatures average 70°F (21°C). Hurricanes are occasional but the island is well prepared with many hotels providing a 'Hurricane Guarantee'.
Average water temperature is 75°F to 85°F (23°C - 29°C) in the summer; in winter it gets down to 65°F (18°C). A long 3mm or 5mm wetsuit is suitable exposure cover. Visibility underwater is normally 70 to 100 feet with occasional days of up to 130 feet.
Bermuda has five registered PADI dive operators spread across the island. As with any destination, it is a good idea to communicate with your chosen centre before travelling, to make sure they can meet your dive expectations while on vacation.
Bermuda is an ideal destination for beginners and novices looking to gain certification or dive experience. Many sites are within 20 minutes by boat and at shallow depths. Experienced scuba divers are also well catered for – advanced sites, caves or wrecks, and depth ranges to suit.
Tucker's Point Diving & Watersport Centre is the Island’s newest and fully equipped PADI Resort and water sports facility. The full range of PADI courses are taught for all levels of participation. Tucker's has motorboats, sailboats, kayaks, paddleboards, and snorkel gear for hire. They use a fully equipped 30’ dive boat for all water activities.
Bluewater Divers & Watersports is Bermuda's longest-serving scuba operation and a PADI 5 Star Gold Palm & SSI facility; based in two locations on the island at Somerset Bridge and Elbow Beach. They conduct all PADI dive certification courses and run two custom-made Newton 36' dive boats.
Dive Bermuda is a PADI 5 Star IDC Center located within the Fairmont Southampton Hotel. The centre has snorkelling and kayak equipment, wetsuits, retail equipment, and equipment servicing; all PADI certification courses are available on site.
Fantasea Diving & Watersports is a PADI 5 Star Diving Center, located in the Royal Naval Dockyard. They use a 40' custom dive boat for guided diving, PADI certifications, SNUBA diving, and shipwreck & beach snorkelling. Additional options are glass bottom kayak tours and stand-up paddleboard tours.
Triangle Divers, on the eastern end of Bermuda, is the PADI 5 Star Dive Resort at Grotto Bay Resort. They take divers and snorkelers out on a 36' Hatteras dive boat. All PADI courses are available from beginner upwards.
Bermuda has non-stop flights everyday from the US, Canada, and the UK. The L.F. Wade International Airport (Airport Code: BDA) is on the east of the island in St George’s Parish. Flights from eastern US cities take less than two hours. Airlines serving Bermuda from the United States are: AirTran Airways, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, JetBlue Airways, United Airlines, US Airways. Airlines from Canada are: Air Canada, WestJet. British Airways serves the UK.
Celebrity Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, and Royal Caribbean are the cruise ships that regularly visit Bermuda. They stop at three ports on the island: King's Wharf, Heritage Wharf, and Hamilton Harbour.
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