Bermuda

Airport:  (Airport Code: BDA) L.F. Wade International Airport ,  formerly named Bermuda International Airport, is the sole airport serving Bermuda, a British overseas territory in the North Atlantic Ocean. It is located in St. George’s and is 6 NM (11 km; 6.9 mi) northeast of Bermuda’s capital city of Hamilton.[

Currency:  The Bermuda dollar is the currency of Bermuda. It is normally abbreviated with the dollar sign $ or, alternatively, BD$ to distinguish it from other dollar-denominated currencies. It is subdivided into 100 cents. The Bermudian dollar is not normally traded outside of Bermuda.  The US Dollar is also widely accepted in Bermuda.

 Climate:

Average High and Low Temperature
 

Monthly Averages

Month High Low
January 69.0° F 61.0° F
February 68.0° F 60.0° F
March 69.0° F 60.0° F
April 71.0° F 63.0° F
May 75.0° F 68.0° F
June 81.0° F 73.0° F
July 85.0° F 77.0° F
August 86.0° F 78.0° F
September 84.0° F 76.0° F
October 80.0° F 72.0° F
November 75.0° F 67.0° F
December 70.0° F 63.0° F
Annual 76.0° F 68.0° F

 

Language:  English is the official language of Bermuda.

Dive Landscape:  Average Depth 40 to 50 feet.

Average Seas Calm. Dive operators have learned to respect the hull-ripping power of the reefs from the mistakes of thousands of captains before them. If the seas are tricky, the dive is cancelled. The result: a virtual guarantee of calm conditions on every dive. In short: a great destination for both beginners and advanced divers.

Visibility Depending on season, site location and weather conditions, you can count on vis from 80 to 200-plus feet.

Temperature Well, there had to be a catch somewhere. Although Bermuda waters warm to the low 80s in summer, they can drop to a chilly 65 in late fall and winter. And the seasonal change can happen seemingly overnight. No problem, if you pack the right exposure protection. Dive operators recommend a full 3mm for summer; and a full 5mm to 7mm for late fall, winter and early spring. Gloves, a hood and even a vest are a good idea for cold-natured divers. And don’t forget to bring warm, dry clothes for between and after dives.

Wreck Diving Bonus!  All of Bermuda’s dive operators offer this added bonus for wreck divers and history buffs. Just dive any of the 18 designated wrecks (see list) and you’ll be awarded a handsome, suitable-for-framing parchment that records the date of your dive and includes the history of the wreck. For more details, call any dive operator.

The Certificate Wrecks: Blanch King, Caraquet, Constellation, Cristobal Colon, Darlington, Hermes, Iristo, Lartington, L’Herminie, Madiana, Marie Celeste, Minnie Breslauer, Montana, North Carolina, Pelinaion, Pollockshields, Taunton and Xing Da.

Wreck Central:

Apollo

This 11M / 36FT, two-masted American schooner was bound from Turks Island to Nova Scotia with a cargo of salt when she wrecked on our treacherous reefs in February 1890. Today, she lies scattered along the South Shore breakers in 6M / 20FT of water

Blanche King

This classic American schooner was built in 1887 and sunk in 1920 on our southwest reefs as she headed here from Norfolk, Virginia. Today, the ship lies in 10M / 35FT of water near the North Carolina. Cable and rigging are scattered across the surrounding reefs. Within her main wreckage is the centreboard box for her retractable keel. Divers will also notice some machinery and a capstan on the site.

Caraquet

A 106M / 350FT combination mail packet and passenger steamer, launched in 1894, was carrying passengers and general cargo from St. John to Halifax. On June 25, 1923, this fine ship wrecked on our Northern Barrier Reef. All passengers, crew and mail were landed safely without mishap, and her cargo was later salvaged. Her wreckage lies in 9M / 30FT of water.

Constellation

This 58M / 192FT, four-masted, wooden-hulled American schooner was built in 1918. During World War II, she was pressed into service and used as a cargo vessel. In July 1943, she was bound for Venezuela carrying a general cargo of building materials, medicinal drugs and 700 cases of Scotch whisky. Today, her hull lies broken on a coral and sand bottom in 9M/30FT of water, exposing petrified sacks of cement, building supplies, glassware and a vast assortment of small items. The Constellation was the inspiration for Peter Benchley’s book, the Deep.

Cristobal Colon

This 152M / 499FT Spanish luxury liner is the largest known shipwreck in our waters. Launched in 1923, Cristobal Colon was the most advanced liner design of her time. She crashed into a coral reef at a speed of 15 knots on October 25, 1936. Today, she lies in 9-17M / 30-55FT of water with her wreckage scattered across 9,290SQ M / 100,000SQ FT of sea floor. Gigantic in size, she offers endless hours of fascinating exploration examining boilers, steam turbines, propellers, drive shafts and ship parts.

Darlington

A sturdy iron-hulled steamer built in 1881. On February 22, 1886, she wrecked on the Western Reef while travelling from New Orleans to Bremen, Germany carrying a cargo of cotton and grain. Today, she remains fairly intact, but has collapsed onto herself and lies on her port side. The wreckage sits in 6M / 20FT of water, with her steamer boilers, propeller shaft and deck winches still visible. Within swimming distance of the Darlington are the buried remains of an unidentified Spanish galleon.

Grotto Bay Barges

Within easy swimming distance from our shores rest the remains of three intact barges, sitting upright in 4.5M / 15FT of water. Although there is no historical information on these wrecks, rumour has it that this area was used as a dump site, and the barges were scuttled deliberately. However they ended up here, the Grotto Bay wrecks are ideal for snorkelling.

Hermes

This is our most popular wreck dive because the ship is fully intact, sits upright on the bottom and lies in crystal-clear water. Originally a buoy tender, this 50M / 165FT, steel-hulled vessel was constructed in Pennsylvania during World War II. Long after her military service was over, the ship arrived here as a Panamanian-registered freighter with engine trouble. The Hermes was abandoned by her crew because repairs were estimated to cost more than the ship was worth. In 1985, the derelict became an artificial reef one mile off the South Shore. She sits on a flat sand bottom in 24M / 80FT of water with her mast pointing toward the surface. Visiting divers can explore her cargo hold, galley and wheelhouse, or examine her deck winch, cargo boom, mast and other fixtures.

Iristo (Aristo)

The 76M / 250FT Norwegian freighter that sank in 1937 lies in 15M / 50FT of water with her engine, boilers, propeller and a fire engine still visible. A most unlucky ship, she crashed because of another shipwreck. Unfamiliar with our reefs, her captain was surprised by the sight of the wrecked Cristobal Colon, and ordered his ship turned away. The course change caused the Iristo to crash into a submerged reef and sink.

Kate

A 61M / 200FT English steamer, she was en route from Galveston, Texas to Le Havre, France when she struck a reef 35KM / 22MI northwest of Gibbs Hill Lighthouse on November 30, 1978. Today she sits in 14M / 45FT of water, with her boilers, engine, propeller shaft and deck winches still visible. Snorkellers can also find her propeller sitting alone on top of the reef in 6M / 20FT of water.

Lartington

A 75M / 245FT early vintage steel freighter sank in 1879. The old steamer had departed Savannah, Georgia for Russia with a cargo of cotton. Her voyage was not an easy one; she encountered numerous storms and heavy seas. When a giant wave cracked her hull, causing a massive leak, the captain attempted a run for Bermuda. She never made it. Instead, the unlucky ship ran aground on the reef 8KM / 5MI northwest of the Royal Naval Dockyard. Subsequent storms scattered her remains, but her bow section remains fairly intact. She lies in 4.5-11M / 15-35FT of water with her steam boilers, stern section and propeller still visible.

L’Herminie

Bermuda’s most impressive warship wreck is this first-class 60-gun French frigate that sank in 1838. This three-masted, wooden-hulled sailing vessel was returning to France from a skirmish in Mexico when she crashed into a reef. Approximately 25 giant cannons remain scattered across the sea floor, partially buried in the sand. The ship lies in 7.5-9M / 25-30FT of water off the western side of the island, with the cannons still visible.

Madiana

Built in 1877, the Madiana was a new breed of iron-hulled transatlantic passenger/light cargo ship. On February 10, 1903, while en route from New York to the West Indies with passengers and a general cargo, she struck a reef northeast of North Rock. The wreck was partially salvaged in World War II. Her engine is gone, but her twin boilers are still there and her stern overhangs into a sand hole. She sits in 7.5M / 25FT of water on a hard coral bottom, .33KM / 1MI from the Caraquet.

Marie Celestia

This is one of Bermuda’s most mysterious shipwrecks – a Confederate blockade-runner with multiple identities. In an effort to confuse and evade monitoring by Union spies, this crafty ship operated under a variety of names: Marie Celeste, Mary Celeste and the Bijou. Designed as a high-speed side paddlewheel steamer, she was built in England and chartered to the South during America’s Civil War. She smuggled much needed guns, ammunition and food into Charleston Harbour. The sleek, 68.5M / 225FT ship sank in 1864 after hitting a reef close to our South Shore. The wreck lies in 17M / 55FT of water with one of her paddlewheel frames standing upright like a miniature Ferris wheel. The other paddlewheel lies flat on the sand, along with other interesting artefacts, such as the boilers, anchor and part of the bow.

Minnie Breslauer

One of the most unlucky ships to sink in our waters, this 91M / 300FT, steel-hulled English steamer was on her maiden voyage between Portugal and New York with a cargo of wine, dried fruit and bales of cork when she sank in 1873. Unfamiliar with our reefs, the Captain edged his new ship towards the shore, where she collided with a submerged reef and ground to a halt. The wreck is one mile off the South Shore, in depths ranging from 10.5-21M / 35-70FT. Still visible are the ship’s huge steam boiler, parts of the wheelhouse, the ship’s steering quadrant, a four-bladed propeller and her rudder.

Montana (Nola)

An elusive ship of multiple identities, often operating under the name of Nola, Gloria, Paramount and Montana, she was a Civil War blockade- runner that made trips between England, Bermuda and North Carolina. Built in Glasgow, Scotland this sleek 72M / 236FT paddlewheel steamer could run at 15 knots. Our shallow reefs accomplished what no Union gunboat could do when she sank in December 1863. She now lies in 9M / 30FT of water, still partially intact. The wreck is marked by two steam boilers and two paddlewheel frames lying on their sides. She is adorned with beautiful soft and hard corals.

North Carolina

A classic sunken sailing ship, her 62M / 205FT English iron hull bark sank on New Year’s Day, 1880. She was en route from Bermuda to England with a general cargo of cotton, bark and fuel. Today, she sits upright at depths ranging from 7.5-12M / 25-40FT. The bow and stern are fairly intact, while her mid-section has collapsed. Her bowsprit is exceptionally beautiful as it points up towards the surface. A neat row of deadeyes attached to steel rigging traces her railing, and the curves of her fantail stern have a touch of ghostly grace.

Pelinaion

Bermuda’s best East End shipwreck – an 117M / 385FT, steel-hulled cargo steamer. Built in Port Glasgow in 1907, her ownership changed numerous times before she was purchased in 1939 by a Greek shipping company and given her present name. She was heading from West Africa to Baltimore with a cargo of iron ore when she struck the reef off St. David’s Head in 1940. The wreck lies .33KM / 1MI offshore at 16.5M / 55FT. She is an awesome sight, because of her large size and massive components. Most noticeable are the ship’s steam boiler, huge triple expansion engine standing upright and a spare propeller lying on her collapsed deck.

Pollockshields

A cargo steamer built in 1890 ran into a “white squall” in 1915. For years her engine protruded above the waves, inviting tourists to swim out and visit. Today, the wreck can be found scattered in 6-12M / 20-40FT of water on a coral bottom. Loads of live ammunition and shell casings can be seen amongst her wreckage. Two substantial boilers, a propeller and her triple expansion engine are also visible.

Taunton

turn of the century Danish cargo steamer that fell victim to our tricky reefs sank on November 24, 1920. The 69-meter / 228-foot, steel-hull vessel was built in Copenhagen in 1902. She featured a powerful triple expansion steam engine. She was carrying a cargo of coal when she encountered a misty fog. The captain posted a lookout, but still the ill-fated vessel ran aground in the Northeast Breakers. She now lies in 3-12M / 10-40FT of water with her bow, steam engine and boilers still visible. The Taunton is a favourite shallow water dive and quite a photogenic wreck, as her bow comes within 3M / 10FT of the surface.

Xing Da

As part of a U.S. Immigration sting operation, the Xing Da was searched for illegal immigrant smugglers and towed to Bermuda in 1997. After considerable debate, it was decided that the best place to sink the ship would be in the northwest area, where it would be accessible to most dive shops. In April of 1997, she was sunk in 32M / 106FT of water, and she landed upright in a sand hole. The wreck is so large it takes several dives to see it all.

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