Explore more than 300 wrecks, search for the elusive Roanoke, spot the exotic Undertaker and more in our breakdown of Bermuda's 10 best dive experiences.
Here are the Top 10 Dive Experiences:
1. Enjoy Swim-through Dive Sites
Some of the most evocative and ethereal of Bermuda’s hundreds of great dive sites are the island’s several swim-through sites. Take, for example, the wreck of Virginia Merchant. After more than 350 years, little of the ship remains, but its underwater evolution has yielded a number of dramatic archways and tunnels to explore. Or consider the celestial Cathedral reef off Bermuda’s east coast. This huge underwater dome features several windows, through which shafts of light penetrate the gloom, creating the feel of a vast subterranean temple to Poseidon.
2. Explore Intact Wrecks
Unlike the remains of wrecked wooden ships, Bermuda’s newer steel-vessel wrecks are largely intact. King George was a dredger bought by Bermuda in 1910. After more modern dredgers made it obsolete in 1930, it was towed five miles from North Rock and scuttled, creating a comely wreck that lies upright. Hermes, a U.S. Coast Guard buoy tender until the end of World War II, was later acquired by the Bermuda Dive Association and made diver-friendly before being sunk as an artificial reef project. Divers can skirt the outside of the wreck before exploring the delights within.
3. Discover Confederate Shipwrecks
Due to commercial and family ties, Bermuda largely sided with the Confederacy during the Civil War. Consequently, several ships wrecked on her reefs while participating in maritime trade between the two countries. Mary Celestia was a side paddle-wheel steamer used as a blockade runner smuggling guns, ammunition and supplies to Southern troops. Montana was also a blockade runner that made trips between England, Bermuda and North Carolina. Bermuda’s shallow reefs accomplished what no Union gunboat could do when Montana sank in December 1863.
4. Be amazed at the Mary Celestia’s Parrot Fish Aggregation
Dubbed "group sex reef" by some divers, the Mary Celestia wreck is the place to be for a very short period of time every year if you want to witness an incredible parrot fish breeding spectacle. No one knows exactly why thousands of the fish gather at this same spot just off Bermuda’s south shore, but each June just after the full moon, thousands of different species of parrot fish, including the yellow tail and striped varieties, descend on the wreck to breed.
5. Spot the Elusive Undertaker
Set off in search of the mysterious Bermuda Sea Hare and you might want to cross your fingers for luck. Nicknamed the Undertaker because of its dark visage, this sea slug is infrequently spotted in intertidal zones off the north side of the island and in deeper waters up to around 130 feet. If you are one of the lucky few to meet the Undertaker, don't blink — they secrete a toxic purple ink to avoid predators and can vanish as quickly as they appear.
6. Explore More Than 300 Wrecks
Bermuda is known as the shipwreck capital of the Atlantic — an underwater adventure land where divers can easily access more than five centuries of nautical history. Until the mid-twentieth century, the sea was the primary vehicle of trade, and Bermuda’s strategic mid-Atlantic location made it a hub for North Atlantic voyages. In addition to helping define the island’s way of life for centuries, Bermuda’s significant maritime history also resulted in some of the best and most varied shipwreck diving in the world. Because the wrecks can be found off all quadrants of the island, it’s best to dive with several dive operators because each specializes in the unique wrecks closest to its shop.
7. Join the Search for Roanoke
Despite the incredible number of wreck dives in Bermuda, there are still significant shipwrecks waiting to be discovered. The Department of Conservation Services and the island’s dive shops are working with iconic local diver and ocean explorer Teddy Tucker, as well as visiting divers, to locate the wreck of Roanoke, a gunboat from the Civil War that was scuttled off Bermuda’s east end in 1864. The incredible story of this ship and the political forces that led to its demise is on view at the Rogues and Runners exhibition at The Bermuda National Trust Museum.
8. Enjoy Stunning Visibility Year Round
The crystal-clear waters of Bermuda offer excellent visibility no matter the season. While 70-100 feet is the norm, visibility can stretch to 150 feet and beyond from December through April. As a result, you’ll take in Bermuda’s historic wrecks, pristine reefs and abundant marine life with stunning clarity.
9. Learn to Dive in Ideal Conditions
With its warm waters, excellent visibility and expert dive operators, Bermuda offers standout conditions for first-time divers. All of Bermuda’s dive operators offer PADI’s Discover Scuba Diving Experience or a similar course, allowing first-time divers to get their feet wet in the underwater world without the time commitment required by official certification. A quick introductory session allows newbies to master the basic principles and skills of diving before participants move on to a supervised open-water dive in the island’s temperate, crystal-clear waters.
10. Master Wreck Diving in the Wreck Capital of the Atlantic
Whether they were the result of a seafaring tragedy or intentionally sunk to create a reef, wrecks unlock fascinating windows into the world‘s nautical past. Thanks to Bermuda’s incredible maritime heritage and unrivaled concentration and variety of shipwrecks, there’s no better place to book your maiden voyage on an underwater vessel. It’s little wonder that most of the island’s operators offer PADI’s Wreck Diver course, which teaches participants the ins and outs of rewarding, responsible wreck diving.
Discover everything the shipwreck capital of the world has to offer with our exclusive Bermuda digital dive and travel guide.
Explore Bermuda's top dive sites and underwater experiences as well as the island’s best dive operators, resorts and topside diversions. Finally, use the Plan Your Trip feature to get travel deals or book your dream Bermuda adventure.
Brought to you by: Bermuda Department of Tourism