Scuba Diving Bermuda
Bermuda is a world-class dive site, known for its often eerie shipwrecks, teeming with marine life. There are more than 400 documented wreck sites spanning over 500 years of history.
Though it lacks the coral diversity of Caribbean destinations, the Bermuda reef is obviously healthy, with no signs of bleaching or disease. The usual collection of reef fish, from small blennies to big parrotfish, are here, and with beautiful dive sites rarely exceeding 50 feet. There are also some tunnels and swim-throughs, as well. Bermuda is a beginner- and snorkeler-friendly dive destination with some advanced wreck dives thrown into the mix.
HIGHLIGHT DIVE AREAS
Bermuda is most famous for it’s wrecks.
Mary Celeste – perhaps the most famous of them all; a 225 feet paddle steamer which struck a reef off the south of Bermuda. It was smuggling guns and ammunitions to the Confederate forces during the American Civil. It is one of Bermuda’s most photogenic wrecks; one coral-encrusted paddle wheel stands upright while the other has fallen on its side. The wreck is surrounded by numerous caves and tunnels that are the home to many parrotfish and groupers.
Hermes – a freighter, which is one of the most popular spots for diving in Bermuda because it is almost fully intact. After suffering engine trouble, the crew abandoned ship and it was possessed by the Bermuda Government who subsequently sold to the Bermuda Dive Association for the princely sum of $1! After removing all the hatches (to make it fully penetrable for diving) the ship was sunk off the south shore where it now sits upright in 80 feet of water and it is home to a battery of barracuda.
Constellation – This schooner provided the inspiration for the film, The Deep. Not long after leaving New York, bound for Venezuela, she ran into trouble and began taking on water and was wrecked on the reefs of Bermuda. Not much is left of the ship.
Cristóbal Colón – Bermuda’s largest shipwreck is the Cristóbal Colón, a Spanish luxury liner that went down on October 25, 1936, between North Rock and North Breaker. A transatlantic liner, it weighed in excess of 10,000 tons. The ship was traveling to Mexico to load arms for the Spanish Civil War when it crashed into a coral reef at a speed of 15 knots. During World War II, the U.S. Air Force used the ship as target practice before it eventually settled beneath the waves. Its wreckage is scattered over a wide area on both sides of the reef. It is recommended that you take two dives to see this wreck. Most of the wreck is in 9 to 17m (30-56 ft.) of water, but the range is actually from 4.5m (15 ft.) at the bow to 24m (79 ft.) at the stern.
North Carolina – This iron-hulled English bark lies in 7.5 to 12m (25-39 ft.) of water off Bermuda’s western coast. While en route to England, it went down on New Year’s Day in 1879 when it struck the reefs. The bow and stern remain fairly intact. There is often poor visibility here, making the wreck appear almost like a ghost ship. Hogfish, often reaching huge sizes, inhabit the site, along with schools of porgies and snapper.
Rita Zovetta – This Italian cargo steamer was built in 1919 in Glasgow and went aground off St. David’s Island in 1924. The ship lies in 6 to 21m (21-69 ft.) of water just off St. David’s Head. The wreck measures 120m long (395 ft.), and its stern is relatively intact. Divers go through the shaft housings to see the large boilers. Stunning schools of rainbow-hued fish inhabit the site.
L’Herminie – This 1838 French frigate lies in 6 to 9m (20-30 ft.) of water off the west side of Bermuda, with 25 of its cannons still visible. A large wooden keel remains, but the wreck has rotted badly. However, the marine life here is among the most spectacular of any shipwreck off Bermuda’s coast: brittle starfish, spiny lobster, crabs, grouper, banded coral shrimp, queen angels, and tons of sponges.
Tarpon Hole – directly off the western extremity of Elbow Beach,the site is named Tarpon Hole because of the large schools of tarpon that often cluster here, some in excess of 2m (7 ft.) long.
DIVE SEASON: Year around
VISIBILITY: 70 to 100 feet, with occasional 150 occurrences.
WATER TEMPERATURE: 75-85F (24-29C) in the summer to mid-60sF (18C) in the winter.
WEATHER: Summer temps push into the high 80sF (31C) while winter temps fall into the high 60sF (20C).
MARINE LIFE: Black Grouper, Tarpon, sea hares and glassy sweepers
CLIMATE: The climate is sub-tropical, mild in the winter, spring and autumn (fall), but from late May to October, can be uncomfortably hot and with especially high humidity. The hottest part of the year is from May through mid-October, when temperatures hover between 75°F / 23°C and 85°F / 29°C. Humidity, often well over 85%, is at its highest from July through mid-October.
LANGUAGE: The official language is English.
ELECTRICITY: Bermuda’s electrical voltage is 110V, 60Hz AC. So if you are coming in from the US or Canada, no problems.
CURRENCY & CREDIT CARDS: The Bermuda dollar equals the US dollar, and the two currencies are accepted interchangeably. Master, VISA and American Express are accepted at virtually every store, restaurant and hotel.
GRATUITIES: In general tip about 10-15%. Many hotels and restaurants in Bermuda automatically add a 10-15% gratuity in lieu of a tip. So check first.
PHONE & INTERNET SERVICE: You can use your own cell phone or rent one in Bermuda for making international and local calls. There are Internet cafes in Hamilton and St George. Most of the luxury and mid class hotels also provide wi-fi access.
VISA & PASSPORT REQUIREMENTS: Passports are required for all visitors arriving on Bermuda. More information on Visa Requirement
CUSTOMS: You are allowed to bring with you stuff of your personal use like cell phone, iPod, golf clubs, camera, laptops, used clothes, reading material, prescription drugs, software, corrective spectacle etc, and not pay duty on them. However if you bring consumable items like food, most of that will be subject to duty
DEPARTURE TAX: A tax of $35.00 is charged on every departing air passengers.
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