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Diving in Bermuda

In the middle of the West Atlantic lies an island with a name sure to ring sweet with divers: Bermuda. From shipwrecks to bustling reefs and crystal clear waters, Bermuda has it all.

Diving in Bermuda

Quick facts

Renowned for the many ships that used to ply her waters but which now lie still on the seafloor, many consider this volcanic island chain the shipwreck capital of the world. With an estimated 300 wrecks, victims of the island’s extensive fringing reefs, Bermuda is a great dive destination with much to offer both above and below the water. One of the most stunning wrecks is the Mary Celestia, a Confederate Army ship that sunk during the Civil War. The ship has been a popular site as of late due to the discovery of five intact bottles of wine from 1863. If exploring reefs is more your style, go to South West Breaker, a veritable aquarium of underwater life. The water is crystal clear, and the variety of aquatic species is amazing. There is one large swim through that takes you to a seemingly different world, where large fish roam in the relative safety of the formations. Sometimes, massive barracudas can be found.

Recommended training

Bermuda is a wreck diving location second to none so you’ll want to consider the PADI Wreck Diver Specialty course to enjoy the wrecks to their fullest. The PADI Digital Underwater Photographer Specialty course will help ensure you have a memorable record of your visit.

When to go

Bermuda’s Atlantic location and the fact that it’s warmed by the Gulf Stream makes for a pleasant climate. Temperatures range from 23°C/75°F to 29°C/85°F in summer (May to October) and average 21°C/70°F in winter. Water temperature varies from an average of 20°C/68°F in January to 28°C/82°F in August. Bermuda can be affected by hurricane season, which lasts from June to October.

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Water temperature

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* Hermes - Perhaps Bermuda’s favorite wreck, this 50-metre/165-foot United States Navy buoy tender is still intact. Built in 1943, Hermes broke down en route to Cape Verde and the crew abandoned her in Bermuda, where she ultimately became an artificial reef in 1984. Hermes now lies in 24 metres/80 feet of clear water. * Virginia Merchant - This wreck is actually a popular reef dive, as little remains of the wooden ship, which sank in 1664, apart from some granite ballast. The ship’s remains are strewn over the shallow reef in depths up to 14 metres/45 feet, and the main attractions are now the healthy marine life and some dramatic arches, ledges and swim-throughs that link the shallows to the depths. * Mary Celestia - This iconic Bermudan wreck is still revealing her secrets. A 69-metre/225-foot steel-hulled paddlewheel steamer, Mary Celestia now lies in less than 18 metres/60 feet of water. Originally an American Civil War blockade-runner, she ran aground in 1864 while heading to North Carolina. In 2009, nearly 150 years after she went to the bottom, a massive winter storm moved tons of sand from around the wreckage revealing still-corked bottles of wine and perfume. You can even buy a replica of the perfume found on the wreck. * Barracuda Reef - A long line of breakers mark this reef which, given Bermuda’s conservation ethic, is in excellent health. Watch for schools of barracuda and groupers, which often visit cleaning stations where helpful wrasse remove parasites. Depths average 10 metres/30 feet and the site is suitable for divers of all levels. * Three Sisters - The tops of the reefs here reach to within three metres/10 feet of the surface. Schools of snapper lurk under the reef ledges. Pelagic species cruise the edges of the drop off. Lobster and octopus make use of the many crevices. Soft corals sway in the gentle surge and divers delight in the myriad reef dwellers as they enjoy the usually excellent visibility. * South West Breaker - This southernmost Bermudan reef is a popular movie location, and was featured in The Deep. The site comprises three reefs, the largest of which breaks the surface from a depth of 10 metres/30 feet. Vertical walls and overhangs shelter a diverse array of marine species, and a tunnel through the reef is home to large schools of glass-eye sweepers and occasional large groupers. Moray eels and spiny lobster love the many cracks and crevices. Eagle rays and turtles await divers who can tear their eyes from the reef itself. * Constellation and Montana: Approximately eight kilometres/five miles off the northwest tip of Bermuda are two wrecks on top of each other that sunk more than 80 years apart. The Montana, on her maiden voyage and running the blockade of Northern forces to supply the armies of the South during the American Civil War sank on 30 December 1863. In 1944, the Constellation, a four masted trading ship carrying cement, medical supplies, perfume, slate and toiletries, sank and littered her goods over the sea floor. These wrecks formed the basis for Peter Benchley’s novel and subsequent film The Deep. In just 9 metres/30 feet of water, the wrecks provide a great opportunity for a shallow wreck dive and an excellent snorkel.

What to see

Bermuda boasts a wide variety of marine life. Humpback whales pass Bermuda in April and May. Magnificent blue and French angelfish grace the reefs. Groupers of many species are common, as are barracuda, blue tang, French grunts and myriad reef fish. Divers frequently encounter spotted eagle rays and turtles. The coral reef is healthy, as are the animals that live there. From porpoises and dolphins to eels and octopi, there are colorful and fascinating creatures in abundance.


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Bright and colorful, Bermuda is a beautiful country with a rich culture and heritage. From pretty pink beaches to glassy cerulean pools, Bermuda has so much to offer. Far off the coast of the eastern United States, Bermuda is in a world of its own in the cool Atlantic. Grouped closely together are 181 separate islands around one main landmass. Formed by volcanoes, the island system boasts 64 miles (103 km) of coastline. Officially a British Overseas Territory, Bermuda has a great deal of the conveniences Westerners have come to rely upon. Tourism has recently kicked off in Bermuda, and life is good on the island.

Other attractions

World-famous Bermuda pink-sand beaches beckon après dive. After spending a long day out on the water and at the beach, head inland to check out some of the architectural wonders of Bermuda. There are churches and lighthouses on pink sand beaches, as well as incredible museums to discover. Try visiting Fort St. Catherine or Gibbs Hill lighthouse. Another option for whiling away a surface interval is the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute, where state-of-the-art exhibits explore ocean interaction and allow virtual visits to coral reefs around the world.

Getting there

The island’s main airport is the L.F. Wade International Airport (BDA). Although coming to the island via airplane is a breeze, many cruise ships come into dock every day. Once on the island, taxis or small boats are available to get you to your destination.


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