Dive Travel / Bermuda
The water around this mid-Atlantic island has historically been a ship magnet. We're talking about accidents - and lots of 'em. Name the country and if it has a ship registered, it likely has at least one that sank in Bermudian waters after smashing into the reefs ringing the island. And with more than 300 known shipwrecks - large, small and in between, and from warships to schooners to frigates and freighters - Bermuda has a built-in claim to diving fame as the wreck capital of the Atlantic.
The 171-foot dredger King George, scuttled in the 1930s, is fully intact at 60 feet and teeming with fish life and a stunning array of soft corals. Another wreck that was purposely sunk is the Hermes, the island's most popular dive. She's resting at 80 feet and great visibility there gives divers the chance to explore her from engines and deck winch to propeller and pilothouse. Civil War buffs flock to the Marie Celeste, a paddlewheel steamer the Confederate Navy converted into a blockade-runner and the Pelinaion is a 385-foot beast of a cargo vessel with enormous, intact parts of her anatomy.
And though Bermuda isn't known for its reefs, it still boasts nearly 300 square miles of them, where you can find indigenous black groupers, tarpon from September through March and even an "undertaker" - an invertebrate better known as the back sea hare. Cathedral features a great swim-through cave with thousands of glassy sweepers, while Hangover Hole has tunnels, arches and tons of animal life.
Roughly on the same latitude as Savannah, Georgia, Bermuda's dive season parallels the U.S. East Coast's. Topside, renting a motorbike or buying a bus pass is a great way to visit small towns, historic forts and golf courses.
Weather: Bermuda has a May-to-November summer (85 degrees during the day; in the 70s at night) and a spring-like winter from December to April (60s to 70s during the day; 50s to 60s at night).
Average Water Temp: From 75 to 85 degrees in the summer; mid-60s in winter.
Average Visibility: 70 to 100 feet of vis is normal, with an occasional 150-foot day.
Travel Savvy: A valid passport and a return ticket are required. Departure tax is usually included in airline ticket price.
Destination Links: Bermuda Tourism, www.bermudatourism.com.