Note: I’m temporarily jumping out of my chronological Central America trip coverage to tell you about my very last stop en route back to New York: Bermuda! We’ll jump back into Guatemala soon.
The Bermuda Triangle. For sailors, pilots, and general seafarers, the thought of the mysterious region inspires pure dread. For divers, especially those with a penchant for exploring wrecks, the idea of the Bermuda Triangle is more than a little appealing.
As soon as I knew I was Bermuda bound, I was itching to hop on a dive boat. Having the concierges at the Hamilton Princess & Beach Club set us up was easy peasy, and going diving from the hotel is about to get even more convenient — soon, they’ll be launching a watersports center right in their private marina. Dive excursions will leave directly from the launch, meaning you’ll be able to swap room key for regulator with zero commute to a dive shop.
And even more importantly? You’ll be able to go straight from hull to hot tub upon return.
I couldn’t have been more pleased to learn that our divemaster Ray was a local Bermudian and had been exploring the shores off the island for more than twenty years. He was incredibly knowledgeable about local sealife and we bonded over everything from lionfish culling to Peter Benchley memorabilia.
Though there were nine divers on our boat, each group paired off with individual divemasters to allow for a more personalized experience — for example, I wanted to go slow as I had my camera, and check out some of the swim throughs that not all divers would feel comfortable entering.
Our first dive site was Southwest Breaker, a classic example of what I’d learn were Bermuda’s gin clear waters and healthy reef systems. It was also, our fellow Peter Benchley fans will be thrilled to know, used as a filming location in the movie The Deep.
I was always under the impression that Bermuda was nothing but wreck diving, so I was surprised to learn that the reefs are considered a highlight as well, though as soon as I saw the colorful array of coral I could understand why. While fish weren’t exactly plentiful, it was quality over quantity. Massive groupers had me gaping into my regulator, and I snapped the best picture I’ve ever taken of an ever elusive parrotfish.
He was a surprisingly cooperative model.
I was as impressed with Ray’s underwater skills as a divemaster as I was with his topside ones. He moved slowly as requested and waited patiently when I tried to capture something through my lens. His signals were clear and thorough, and it was obvious he takes his job seriously.
Having completed the divemaster course myself, I can truly appreciate those who are great at what they do.
Surprise #8: Bermuda has more than just wrecks to dive.
Bermuda diving? It was taking me by surprise — and I have the shocked underwater selfie to prove it.
Our next stop was, indeed, a wreck dive. That famed Triangle has left over three hundred shipwrecks scattered around Bermuda. Three hundred! Though “only” around 38 are regularly visited by divers, it’s safe to say that a diver could visit Bermuda many times and not dive the same wreck twice.
Our destination on this day was the Marie Celeste, a former blockade runner who found her final resting place fifty-five feet below the Bermuda shoreline when she sank in 1864. The 225-foot steamer is believed to have sunk while smuggling ammunition and other supplies during the American Civil War.
The ship’s iconic paddle wheel is still in fantastic shape, and draws admiration from divers from around the world.
While it wasn’t the most intact shipwreck I’ve ever dove, it might just be the oldest — and considering its age, the most well preserved. Like most wrecks, it has now become an artificial reef attracting fish and coral to an otherwise sandy patch of ocean floor.
Even at a rather deep site and on a cloudy day (luckily the only one we had out of four!), I was impressed with the visibility of Bermuda’s waters. I’d read in my Fodor’s guidebook that the government vetoed plans to create a dive site by sinking an out-of-commission plane near the airport over concerns that the water was too clear. They feared passengers would panic upon seeing the underwater plane from the seat of their own aircraft upon arrival. Once I got in the ocean myself, I could understand their concern.
Bermuda might not be the first place scuba enthusiasts think of when they’re looking for a new dive destination, but it should definitely make it on the list. While hardcore local divers go for a dunk all year round, the season is mainly May through October.
With an enticing combination of wrecks and reefs, a shockingly short commute from many East Coast cities, and the convenience of diving straight from the Hamilton Princess & Beach Club, Bermuda makes for the perfect breezy summer getaway with a side of scuba.
Would you brave diving the Bermuda Triangle? What’s your favorite wreck to explore?
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of The Hamilton Princess & Beach Club via Rhythm One. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. All underwater photos in this post were taken with Canon PowerShot S100 and its Canon PowerShot S100 Underwater Housing. See a full list of my photography gear here.
Wow, I really love your underwater photos! I think you’re one of the best photographers I know for underwaterphotography 🙂 Was Bermuda very expensive by the way? It always sounded to me like an paradise for the rich and famous (like a lot of islands I guess >.<)
Thanks Jessica! That is so sweet. Bermuda is indeed expensive. However, much like the Cayman Islands, another place I love, you really do get a lot of bang for your buck. Everything from food to accommodation to activities are extremely high quality. So, it may not be a bargain but it is a place where you get what you pay for!
Still very jealous of your parrot fish photo – they never pose like that for me!
It sounds like you had a great dive master, it makes such a difference. I went out last week and my guy was racing around, and I’m like you with my camera – slow and steady! He kept point hings out and then zipping off, I even lost him while I was trying to get a macro nudibranch shot…grrrr. I know as a fellow diver you’ll feel my pain!
Ugh, that would drive me nuts. Experiences like that do make the good ones stand out though! I’d definitely recommend making a point to tell your divemaster that you have a camera and would like to move as slow as possible (doesn’t always work, but worth a try!)
I love seeing all of your photos of these amazing underwater creatures. That parrotfish is so beautiful! Out of curiosity, how big are those groupers? They look massive!
Well, they didn’t let me get close enough to measure, but I’d say longer than my arm 😉 They’re huge!
Totally gorgeous photos! That fish is a real beauty. How cold is the water in Bermuda? It looks cold…
Averages 75 degrees Fahrenheit in May! Not too bad…
and it’s nice to Diving Bermuda triangle,
you know it’s rare to see people doing this at this place,
WOW, I loved what you doing.
thanks for posting this nice trip.
You’re so welcome! I love sharing the underwater world!
I’ve been shipwreck diving in Lake George but would love to dive a tropical wreck. The visibility here looks amazing, and your photos are great!!
Thanks Julie! I also did my first lake dive ever this spring… post coming up soon!
Um, take me to Bermuda, please?!?
Pit stop on the way back from Bonaire?
Yesssssss been waiting for this one! So, definitely need to move there. But… how was the water temperature!?!
Heck yes you do! Water was 75 in May but ranges from 65-85 throughout the year!
Amazing! I really need to get certified and try scuba diving. I’m kind of claustrophobic so have always shied away from it, but life is too short to miss out on all those under water sights!
I often hear the claustrophobia anxiety from people before they try diving… but never after! Once people give it a try they often report they’ve never felt freer. I think it’s much less constricting than most imagine. Just a little extra motivation for ya 🙂
God, so many great photos! That fish really was cooperative wasn’t he?! I’ve never dived on a wreck but it’s one of my must-dos! I’m curious, where was your favourite one?
Hm, that’s a tough one! I love the HTMS Sattukut in Koh Tao (I remember when they sank it!), the wreck I dove in Santorini (it was so shallow and had beautiful light) and the Kittiwake in Grand Cayman (to the best of my memory, the first wreck I ever dove!).
Always a pleasure to be taken on one of your dive trips, Alex! I admit that wreck dives really do nothing for me (I like to dive to see pretty things!), although Tony & I did Tulamben in Bali, and that was really pretty cool and was nice because it is a really shallow dive. Now that I know that Bermuda is more than just wreck dives, I’d definitely be interested in checking it out one day; I love how clear the vis there seems to be!
Ah, I REALLY want to make it to Tulamben one of these days. I’ve still seen so little of Indonesia! I wouldn’t say I’m crazy about wrecks but I do think they are fun to shake things up with every now and then, and they can make for an interesting photography subject.
Awesome post. Currently putting together a list of dive sites I want to see on our next adventure. This is now certainly marking an appearance on it. Great photos! Love the blog.
Thanks James! I have tons of dive inspiration in my scuba archives 🙂 Watch out… your list might get pretty long!
Great pictures. I like how you mix them up. Color / b&w, saturated / non-saturated — leads to a more visually interesting post. Nice composition as well. And yes, that is indeed a handsome parrot fish. 🙂
Thanks so much! At really deep sites without a strobe, black and white is pretty much a necessity to salvage a photo with very little color! Glad to hear it’s enjoyed.
Thank you Molly! 🙂
Really phenomenal underwater photos, as always!
How about snorkeling in the area? Worth the trouble? (for us non-divers!)
Hey Leigh, thank you! I hear the snorkeling in Bermuda is fantastic, though I didn’t try it myself. With healthy coral and great visibility, I can only imagine the shallow areas would be fabulous for it.
WOW, looks amazing! Your underwater photos are awesome, thanks for sharing! Love your blog! 🙂
Thanks Vikki! These photos take ages to edit, so it makes me so happy that they get so much love!
Your underwater photography is incredible Alex!
I mean, your photos have always been amazing but some of the ones in this post… You’ve truly outdone yourself!
I never would have guessed what a hit these photos would be 🙂 I love it! Thanks for the kind words!
I have been fascinated by the Bermuda Triangle since I did an oral on it in grade 6. Your pictures are phenomenal and it looks like a wonderful site to explore!
As soon as I had my ticket in hand I started watching every documentary possible about the Bermuda Triangle… it is fascinating! Would have loved to have heard that report 😉
Ugh. I wish I could try diving again. I’m quite terrified of being confined underwater and freaked out when diving the great barrier reef haha. Looks really awesome though.
I’ve actually heard a few poor experiences from people who tried diving for the first time on the Great Barrier Reef… I’ve never been but being so far offshore sounds like it wouldn’t be the greatest conditions for beginners. I’d find a compassionate instructor and calm conditions, and try again 🙂
Sounds like an absolute blast! The shipwreck looks beautifully haunting with the coral growing on it. Every time I see one of your diving posts it makes me want to try it out 🙂
That’s what I love to hear, Shelly! Get out there… diving is amazing!
Just came back from Bermuda a few weeks ago and I fell in love with it! I cannot wait to get back to the beautiful island soon – I did not get a chance to scuba dive during my trip, but I look forward to doing it next time!
I’m off to look at your post to cure my Bermuda lust, Chanel! I can’t wait to see it! What an insanely beautiful island…