Around 300 — that’s how many shipwrecks lie in the waters off Bermuda. Natural causes sank the majority, so they’re scattered widely. Downed boats are the main reason to get wet in this British territory, but it’s not the only one: You’ll also find caves, tunnels and reefs.
For the Beginner Wreck Diver
Even those still earning their C-cards can dive wrecks on Bermuda. Snorkelers can nose around the Constellation, a wooden schooner whose cement cargo long ago morphed into big piles. Dive Cristobal Colon, an old cruise ship now lying in 30 to 55 feet of water, to see its six boilers, steam turbines, propellers and square- shaped portholes. The bow of the 300-foot-long Minnie Breslauer steamship sits in 40 feet of water; downed in 1873, it’s now largely claimed by overgrown sea fans.
For the Advanced Wreck Diver
The crown jewel of the sunken fleet is Pelinaion, a Greek cargo steamer sunk in 1940; it sits in 60 feet of water and has several easy penetration routes. Two fully intact, purpose-sunk wrecks are the King George and Hermes: The latter, 165 feet long, is in 80 feet of water and grants divers access to the engines, galley, cargo hold and pilothouse. Rita Zorvetta, a 399-foot-long Italian cargo steamer, is intact enough for penetration, but note: Many tunnels result in dead ends.
For the Wild (Wonder) Child
Prim and proper as Bermuda seems, it has a wild side — mostly outdoors. Topside, it’s an easy walk through Tom Moore’s Jungle to the Blue Hole Park, an Olympic-size natural pool; wear tough- soled shoes, as there are rock scrambles along the way. A more touristed spot, Crystal and Fantasy Caves, 50 feet below the water, is a paved path stretching nearly a third of a mile long through domes of stalactites.
For Mr. Pink
The shells of foraminifera, a tiny marine organism, give Bermuda’s beaches a pink hue. Tobacco Bay and Horseshoe Bay both offer water-sports rentals and food; the latter also has an on-duty lifeguard during summer. Elbow Beach stretches almost a mile and is home to three hotels. For seclusion, try Shelly Bay in Hamilton Parish. Somerset Long Bay is the least crowd- ed; its inconsistent bottom depths are better suited to wading than swimming.
For the Museum Lover
Learn the stories of the wrecks you dive, and peruse artifacts at the Bermuda Maritime Museum in the Dockyard. The Bermuda National Gallery offers free admission to its rotating exhibits and housed collec- tion of Bermudian, African and European art. Also notable: the three Bermuda National Trust Museums and the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute.
Divemaster's Day Off
"I dive on my days off, at either the northeast or west side of the island. Is there a specific put-in? No, that’s the beauty of it. What’s down there — other than pristine coral — we don’t know." — Graham Maddox, instructor; born on Bermuda, diving for 26 years