The waters of Bermuda contain a mix of the ideal elements for an exciting scuba diving or snorkeling excursion. With sites such as coral reefs, shipwrecks, submerged caves, and an assortment of breathtakingly beautiful and fascinating marine life, the aquatic environment around Bermuda is perfect for all kinds of underwater adventures.
The Atlantic waters generally are clear, so visibility is high beneath the ocean surface. The clarity and warmth of the salty waters of Bermuda make a visit to the ocean depths a worthwhile experience while vacationing on the island. There are more than 300 wreck sites and 200 square miles of coral reefs in the waters surrounding Bermuda.
The Atlantic waters of Bermuda are home to some of the most northern reef formations in the world, as well as several fascinating shipwreck sites. Unlike most shipwreck sites, which are located in deep waters, wreck diving around Bermuda is done in shallow waters at an average of about 40 to 50 feet. Although you can dive while visiting Bermuda almost any time of year, the best times to check out the underwater scenery are from May to November when the Atlantic is at its warmest. Also, in the wintertime, Bermuda's dive shops are closed. So if you want to dive or snorkel during the colder months, you'll have to bring your own equipment.
...best snorkeling spots are located off the coasts...
To get fully equipped for your underwater exploration, visit any of Bermuda's dive shops. These shops not only provide you with scuba gear to rent but also offer useful information on the best dive spots around the island. Dive shops on the island have maps of the reef systems and wreck sites displayed on their premises. These are a few dive operators on the island:
Blue Water Divers Ltd. - Here you can take dive lessons and tours and rent your scuba equipment. Also, this dive operator will take you to the best wreck sites.
Fantasea - This dive shop specializes in trips to shallow reefs and offers diving lessons for beginners.
Nautilus Diving Ltd. - Located on the island's south shore, this shop has very reasonable group rates.
Scuba Look - If you want to do some diving on the East End of Bermuda, visit Scuba Look, which will take you to shipwreck and coral sites.
A popular aquatic activity among many visitors to Bermuda is helmet diving. With this variation on scuba diving, you don't even have to know how to swim, and anyone between the ages of 5 and 89 can participate. Helmet diving is less technical than regular scuba diving and is offered from April until the middle of November. You take a cruise, which lasts longer than the actual underwater experience, to the dive location where divers walk on the sea floor under about 12 to 15 feet of water, depending on the tide. To get ready for your adventures on the ocean floor, a dive instructor places a heavy steel helmet over your shoulders. The helmet has an air hose connected to the surface, so you can breathe easily while strolling the sandy sea floor. After you're fitted with a helmet, you descend into the ocean via ladder to begin your aquatic tour given by an experienced instructor. Places for helmet diving:
Bermuda Bell Diving
Greg Hartley's Undersea Adventure
The snorkeling off the shores of Bermuda is unlike any you'll experience elsewhere in the world. The crystal clear waters of the Atlantic are home to an array of stunningly beautiful coral reefs as well as numerous shipwreck sites. Vacationers can explore these brilliant underwater treasures on a snorkeling excursion; all you need is a snorkel, mask, and fins and you're ready to go. Just like scuba diving, snorkeling can be done year-round, but in the wintertime, the ocean waters can reach temperatures below 60 degrees Fahrenheit, so you may want to wear a wet suit especially if you're going to be in the water for a long period of time.
The best snorkeling spots are located off the coasts of public beaches. One of the most popular places to snorkel is Church Bay on Bermuda's south shores. Avid snorkelers frequent this little cove, which was formed by coral cliffs. Snorkeling hot spots on other areas of the island are located on the eastern and south shores. Places like John Smith's Bay, Tobacco Bay, and West Whale Bay are great for an afternoon snorkeling adventure. Some of the best areas for snorkeling can only be reached by boat. You can rent a boat if you are comfortable with your nautical skills, but navigating the reef-littered waters off of Bermuda is no easy task. Many boats have been sunk off of the island's shores, so you should stay near protected areas such as sounds, bays, and harbors, or just let someone else captain your vessel. You can hire a charter a boat or take a snorkeling cruise, which will take you out to the reefs.
Stock up on all the snorkeling equipment you need for your adventures in the deep blue sea at major hotels and island marinas. These snorkel suppliers have underwater cameras, and often offer dive operators on site. Here are some places you can rent snorkel equipment on Bermuda:
Horseshoe Bay Beach - Get your basic snorkel equipment, including flippers, masks, and snorkels for about $16(USD) per day.
Pompano Beach Club Watersports Centre - Equipment rental here runs about $8(USD) per day, or $4(USD) an hour.
Windjammer Watersports - The costs of snorkel gear rental here is $20(USD) for 24 hours, or if you only need two pieces, $10(USD).
You can take a snorkel cruise from April to November. These ships carry up to about 40 passengers to snorkel sites, so this method of snorkeling may feel a little less intimate. With music playing and bars serving drinks, snorkeling cruises focus more on the social aspects of the outing. You can cruise on smaller boats, which carry only about 10 to 16 passengers, for a more intimate experience on the water. These smaller cruise lines offer trips that are more focused on the snorkeling sites. These are some of the services offering snorkeling cruises off the coast of Bermuda:
Hayward's Snorkeling & Glass Bottom Boat Cruises
Jesse James Cruises
Restless Native Tours
With all the spectacular sea life that thrives in the Atlantic Ocean, vacationers will definitely have an unforgettable experience while glimpsing the amazing aquatic scenery that the waters of Bermuda have to offer.
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