Diving the HermesThe Hermes, a 165-foot-long freighter, was intentionally sunk off Bermuda in 1984 as a dive attraction. Now the perfectly preserved hull forms a pristine artificial reef full of marine life.
No longer just a honeymoon destination, the British territory of Bermuda is a scuba diver’s dream, especially if you're into wreck diving. Catch a ferry (they’re faster than the buses) or rent a scooter (cars are for residents only), and see the best that Bermuda has to offer. At just 21 square miles in size, it's not hard to explore the whole island in a few days. While there, make sure you check out each of these 10 experiences.
1. The Constellation
Dive Bermuda Ltd. (www.bermudascuba.com) escorts divers to the wreck that inspired Peter Benchley’s 1976 novel The Deep. Cracks in the hull provide natural habitat and hunting ground for many species of fish.
2. Spittal Pond
This 64 acres of unspoiled beauty support 25 species of waterfowl and a whole lot of history, including the Checkerboard, a mysterious limestone formation.
3. Blue Hole
At the end of the eastern Blue Cut is one of Bermuda’s most pristine coral reefs, where spiny lobsters, eagle rays and brightly colored parrot fish abound.
4. The Hermes
Blue Water Divers (www.divebermuda.com) suggests this popular wreck for its excellent visibility, intact condition and large fish population.
5. Royal Navy Dockyard
Head here on a Sunday, when the rest of Hamilton is closed, and pick up a fresh-baked rum cake from the Bermuda Rum Cake Bakery. Then try a Dark ’n’ Stormy at the Freeport Cocktail Lounge.
6. The Cristobal Colon
Triangle Diving (www.trianglediving.com) offers visits to Bermuda’s largest shipwreck. Scattered over 100,000 square feet, the massive area allows for hours of exploration over boilers, steam turbines, propellers and rare, rectangular portholes.
7. Gibbs Hill Lighthouse
There are 185 steps up to the breathtaking view from the top of this 1884 cast-iron beacon. Visit between late February and May and you might see a migrating whale or two.
8. Get Wrecked
Dive any of the 22 wrecks in Bermuda’s Shipwreck Certificate Program and receive a document suitable for framing that lists the details of the wreck’s origin and demise.
9. Hog Penny Pub
Grab an affordable bite at Hamilton’s oldest licensed establishment, which served as inspiration for Cheers pub in Boston.
10. The Cathedral
When rays of sunlight peek through the overhangs and canyons here, there’s no question as to how this reef got its name.