The top end of the mythical Bermuda Triangle, this small Atlantic outpost has been eating ships since the days of Shakespeare. Hundreds of shipwrecks litter the seafloor off Bermuda as a result of storms, treachery and more recently, purposeful sinking. Millions of dollars in treasure has been discovered in these waters, and probably millions more of undisclosed treasure. It's heaven for people that like stories, especially those encapsulate in the decking, bulkheads and boilers of sunken ships. Interestingly, Bermuda is hyper-civilized above the water. Teatime, well-structured gardens and yards, order and logic all earmark the topside experience. It's as if all the chaos underwater, has found its polar opposite on land. That being said, approximately 62 forts and their ramparts and guns, pockmark the hills of this small island, which says it wasn't always such a well-manicured and polite realm. But, that just keeps it interesting.
When to go:
Bermuda's "high season" runs at opposite times from the Caribbean's; diving is best from May through November, and many dive operations close in the winter. Summer bring warm water, but low visibility when the plankton blooms.
Marine Life seasons:
Bioluminescent Bermuda fire worms can be seen glowing in the dark when they breed after each full moon from August to September. Bermuda is officially a whale sanctuary, and humpbacks can be seen here during March and April.
When to Get the Best Deals:
November to March.
What to Pack:
A 5 or 7 mm wetsuit, sunscreen, mosquito repellent, light jackets for night, jackets for between dives, hoods, gloves and DAN card.
Seasonal averages: 18°C/65°F in winter and 29°C/85°F in summer.
Seasonal averages: 20°C/68°F in winter and 28°C/84°F in summer.
The local currency is the Bermuda Dollar (BMD) but the US dollar is widely used. Credit cards are widely accepted.
Valid passport; check with local immigration office for visa requirements.
Included with your airfare.
What to Eat:
Besides afternoon tea, featuring a pot of English tea served with Devonshire cream and scones, you'll find yourself savoring the many fish dishes at local restaurants. Try the thick fish chowder or the fresh catch-of-the-day, which is often snapper, Wahoo or tuna, or the spiny lobster, when in season. Peas ‘n Rice (Hoppin' John) is a local specialty along with Bermuda Rum Cake.
What to Drink:
Black seal rum is darker and sweeter than other rums and is found everywhere on the island. Rum Swizzle is a signature drink containing rum, bitters, fruit juices and a sweetener. Dark n' Stormy is another popular cocktail that combines rum with the local ginger ale. Bermudian ginger ale is spicier than most ginger ales.
Royal Navy Dockyard; walk around UNESCO World Heritage site of St. George; Tour the dozens of forts on the island; hear the voice of El Diablo at the Devil's Hole; Crystal Caves; discover treasure at the Maritime Museum; explore the caves at Thomas Moore's Jungle; Golf; shop in Hamilton.
Customs and Culture:
Bermuda has a polite, well-mannered culture. It's acceptable in business to wear shorts with a jacket.
Bermuda Heritage Nights, May to September at the Dockyard; Bermuda Gombey Review every Tuesday from November to March; plus, numerous other events.
Electricity and Internet:
The current supply is at 110 volts, 60 Hz. Internet access is provided in most of the hotels and internet cafes.
Drink the water?
Water quality is good throughout most of the island.
Amazing Marine Life
Atlantic Trumpet Triton:
This large snail lives in a beautifully-shaped spiraling shell.
These small spiky swimmers puff themselves into big round bladders when they feel threatened.
Once seen in abundance, the government has recently protected the spawning grounds of this large grouper and the population is making a comeback.
Mottled in scaly patterns of reds and browns, the scorpion fish can blend easily with polyp-encrusted rocks, but its venomous dorsal spines render this beauty a danger.
This common and colorful wrasse are frequent companions during dives.
Bermuda Fire worm:
Looking like a fuzzy red caterpillar, this worm glows in the dark when it's time to mate after each full moon.
This enormous baleen whale, growing up to 15 meters/50 feet in length, feeds on small plankton, and migrates annually to breed in warm waters.
Ophiad Sea Star:
This bright orange star has narrow, fingerlike arms.
With their curling tails and iconic chess-piece profiles, seahorses are not prolific, but can be spotted by the watchful diver.
Shaped like swimming flutes, these fish is yellow in the front half, purple in the back half.
Top Dive Spots
The wooden-hulled ship whose fate inspired Peter Benchley's book The Deep, this four-masted schooner carried war supplies, and wrecked with a cargo of glassware, medicines, and whiskey. It now rests at a depth of 9 meters/30 feet, 13 kilometers/8 miles northwest of the Royal Naval Dockyard. Divers have spotted medicine bottles, pool table slates, lead crucifixes, and vials of morphine. Also look for grouper, snapper and barracuda.
Almost 150 meters/500 feet long and resting in 9-18 meters/30-60 feet of water where it ran aground, this three-story Spanish transatlantic liner holds the distinction of being the largest shipwreck off Bermuda. She operated between New York and Central America, and ran aground here in 1936.
This sunken steamer lies in Horseshoe Bay with her mast pointing toward the surface. She shelters a proliferation of colorful reef fish, as well as grouper, brittle starfish, spiny lobster, crabs, banded coral shrimp, queen angels, and tube sponges. The interior is penetrable, allowing divers to explore her engines, galley, cargo hold, pilothouse, deck winch, propeller, and even the captain's toilet.
Resting in 9 meters/30 feet of water with two dozen cannons still visible, this historic wreck is a three-masted, 60-gun frigate. Returning from a skirmish in Mexico with her crew weakened by Yellow Fever, the wooden-hulled vessel ran aground on a reef in 1838. Photographers delight in the details of the ship's timber, hull sheathing, cooper nails, huge anchor, and fire-hardened ballast bricks. In addition to the wreck, enjoy the reef with its multicolored parrotfish and shy octopus.
Since it sinking in 1864, this Confederate paddle-wheeler has become heavily encrusted with corals and sponges, and its paddle makes it a photography favorite. She smuggled guns, ammunition, and supplies during the American Civil War, and now shelters Bermuda's marine life.
Still complete with masts, rigging, and bowsprit, this British sailing barque has rested here since she foundered and sank in 1879 with her cargo of cotton. Another photographers' favorite.
This cargo steamship ran aground in 1924 and sank in 70 feet of water off St. David's Light. Divers can swim through the stern section to view the shaft housings and the huge boilers and condensers. The propeller is still visible, wedged into the reef, and a kaleidoscope of reef fish now festoon the wreck..
A Scandinavian steamer that sank in 1920, this shallow wreck shelters a multihued proliferation of marine life.
South West Breaker:
This reef off Church Bay features hard and soft corals clinging to vertical walls. Famously filmed for the movie The Deep, the site teems with reef fish, sometimes including massive numbers of barracuda.
This honeycombed reef boasts a wide range of coral species, including yellow pencil, elkhorn, fire, and star corals.