Do you like wreck diving? If so, Bermuda is the spot for you.
This island is the final resting place for dozens of ships. Many of which became grounded on the surrounding reefs. The weather conditions also contribute to a fair share of the wrecks. Regardless of the reason for all the wrecks, it’s good news for us divers looking for a bit of adventure.
Diving in Bermuda can be a bit of a challenge. You should know beforehand that the currents here can be strong. But, if you have the experience, this can be one of the more amazing places for wreck diving in the world.
So, let’s take a look at some of the best wreck dives, and reef dives, around the island.
Best Locations for Diving in Bermuda
#1 Hermes Wreck
This is one of the best sites for a penetration dive. Unlike many other shipwrecks around the island, this one has remained mostly intact.
The Hermes was a WWII-era US military ship. It was sent to the Philippines after the war to carry cargo. But, the ship ran into engine trouble around Bermuda and the crew abandoned it.
Thankfully, the ship was awarded to the Bermuda Divers Association. The group sunk a mile off Horseshoe Bay to create an artificial reef. Good for all of us who enjoy wreck diving.
- When to Dive: The best time to dive around Bermuda is between the months of May and October. This is when the sea is going to be the calmest and the waters the warmest. The water temperature between these months averages 26°C (80°F). You won’t need a wetsuit during these months unless you usually get cold during dives.
- What to See: The wreck is the superstar at this site. It sits at about 80ft (25m) so you will want to have a deep dive qualification for this one. It is also good if you have a wreck diving qualification as this is one wreck you will want to go into. If you want to enter the wreck you can explore the engine room, galley, cargo hold, pilothouse, and deck. The coral growth hasn’t taken hold on this wreck as much as others in the area. You can see a large amount of aquatic life, though. Usually, you will come across schools of damselfish and sergeant majors. You can also usually find a school of barracuda numbering between ten and a hundred. Here’s a great video of the wreck site.
The currents around this wreck can be a bit strong. This is not a site you want to dive as a beginner. As mentioned before, it is best to have a wreck diving qualification so that you can enter this wreck. This is probably the most intact ship in the area so this is your best chance for a penetration dive. It is also a great dive for underwater photographers. The ship lies on the sand and reflects light back up. This eliminates many of the shadows which plague ships resting on coral. You can use this to your advantage to take some awesome photographs of the wreck and ocean life.
#2 The Cathedral
If you are looking for a change from all the wreck diving you will be doing around Bermuda, this is a great location. The cathedral is a large dome with entry and exit points that also allow light to filter in. You can get some awesome photos due to this.
You can get to the cathedral by boat. The site is close to Castle Harbour. You will need to make sure you have a deep diving certification for this site. The max depth is around 18m (60ft). Also, cave diving experience can be a major plus. It can be easy to get to take a wrong turn at this site.
- When to Dive: May to October is going to be the best time for diving at this site. This is when the water temperature and the air temperature are the highest. May through July can be the best of these months. August through October has the highest chance of major storms. This is usually quite rare. The island is well protected due to the reefs surrounding it. Make sure you pay attention to the weather before you go though.
- What to See: This is one of the best places around the island to see coral and marine life. You can swim through the tunnels and spot a variety of fish including giant tarpon and snappers. During the spring you can also see groups of parrotfish swimming throughout the tunnels.
The site is quite small but many experienced divers will tell you it is easy to lose your way in these caverns. Make sure to follow the instructions of your divemaster and keep an eye on your surroundings. It may be helpful to bring a flashlight as there are tons of cracks where lobsters and other creatures hide.
#3 Rita Zovetta
Want to see an awesome shipwreck and some outstanding reefs? This is a great site for both. This wreck isn’t intact the same as the Hermes wreck discussed above. Not long after WWII, the wreck was salvaged for scrap metal. What remains now is a large debris field with some swim-throughs from the stern.
Before you get any ideas about going through those swim-throughs, make sure that you have the experience. Some of them can be a little tight so don’t do anything outside of your comfort level.
- When to Dive: As with the other dive sites on this list, the best time to dive this wreck will be during the dry season. This will be between the months of May to October. You will need to watch out for major storms around this time of year, but that shouldn’t be too difficult.
- What to See: You can see a colorful variety of soft and hard coral surrounding the wreck. There is also an abundance of brain coral throughout the area. The actual wreck was destroyed by various salvage operations. What remains is a large debris field. But, the stern is still intact and you can swim underneath it. Some of the aquatic life you can see here includes sergeant majors, tarpon, and other fish species.
This is one you won’t want to dive into unless you’ve got the experience. The area can be a bit deep and the currents strong during certain times. Make sure you are following the instructions of your divemaster. Do not go through the swim-throughs if you do not have the experience and you do not feel comfortable. The spaces can be small and the last thing you want is to snag equipment because you misjudged.
#4 Mary Celestia
This is one of the most popular shipwrecks around Bermuda and one of the oldest. This wreck dates back to the American Civil War. The boat was used to transport cargo to the states and wrecked shortly after leaving Bermuda. Even cooler, in 2011, divers found bottles of wine at the wreck which were centuries old.
This is a deep dive, at about 16m (55ft). There isn’t enough of the wreck to penetrate so you won’t need a wreck diving qualification for this one. The primary attraction here is going to be the wreck. You shouldn’t expect a large amount of marine life as the wreck is on a sand patch.
- When to Dive: It is best to dive between May and June when the visibility is best. If you can’t make it during these months, don’t fret. Outside of stormy weather, the island is warm throughout the year. Between the months of December and April, you may need a wetsuit. These months have the coldest water temperatures, which can get as low as 63°F (17°C).
- What to See: This isn’t going to be the most spectacular wreck dive on the island. Instead, the main attraction of this site is the history behind the wreck. Remember this is an old wreck and has been through hurricanes and deterioration. Much of the wreck is gone. You can still see the paddlewheels as well as the anchor and parts of the main ship. You shouldn’t expect too much in the way of fish. A little further away from the main wreck site, you can find a reef around where the anchor is. You can spot grouper and barracuda around here quite regularly. Here is a video for you to get an idea of what this wreck is like.
Remember that this may not be the most impressive dive. You should have your expectations set before going to the site. This is a dive site where the wreck’s unique history is the more important aspect. You will need a deep diver qualification for this site but other than this it shouldn’t be too challenging. There isn’t any part of the wreck to enter so you won’t need a wreck diving qualification.
#5 Southwest Breakers
If you want to dive into a gorgeous site that also has a Hollywood connection, this is it. The 1970s movie “The Deep” utilized this site in its opening shot. Since then, it has become a popular spot for divers visiting the island.
This is one of the best sites to get away from all the wreck diving around the island. You can see a series of breaker reefs with one of them protruding from the surface. The site is colorful and a great place to bring your camera if you are into underwater photography.
- When to Dive: This is a good spot for diving year-round. The air temperature around Bermuda averages between 68°F and 76°F (20°C and 24°C) throughout the year.
The water temperature is also good throughout the year, averaging between 65°F and 82°F (18°C and 27°C). July through September are the warmest months.
- What to See: This is one of the best sites around the island for seeing aquatic life. You can get an outstanding view of the breakers. There is also a tunnel that runs through the center. During certain times of the year, it is common to have the sun filter through large schools of barracuda. Be on the lookout for snappers, hogfish, moray eel, and lobsters. Also, look out for rays and turtles as they swim around the breakers. This video does a fantastic job of showing off many of the colors around the site as well as the fish.
This is a great site for both beginners and advanced divers. If you can’t make any of the other dives due to depth restrictions, this is a great alternative. You can find everything here from coral to fish to tunnels. This is a great site for photography and videography as well.
Practical Advice for Diving in Bermuda
Remember that many of the sites around Bermuda have strong currents. The island is in the open waters of the Atlantic and isn’t protected the same as many of the islands in the Caribbean.
Many of the dives are wrecks so it is recommended that you have a wreck diving qualification. If you do not yet have a wreck diving qualification then Bermuda can be a great place to complete it.
Make sure you are keeping up with the weather before planning your trip. Bad weather isn’t common around the island. Major storms typically happen once or twice a year. But, it would be horrible to plan your dive trip when a major storm hits only because you forgot to check the weather.
Always make sure that you are following the lead of the divemaster. The currents can be strong at many of the sites so if you don’t feel comfortable diving then put it off for later.
Bermuda sounds pretty great, doesn’t it? This is one of the more unique areas of the world to dive in because of all the wrecks. In fact, this is on our list of top places for wreck diving in the world.
If you’ve been to Bermuda before then let us know in the comments what you think. Or, you can tell us about where you want to dive around the island if you get the chance.
We enjoy hearing from both entry-level and advanced divers so let us know what you think.