Since the early 1940s, there have been men and women who have bravely ventured beneath the waves to learn more about the ocean and what it offers. While those early pioneers faced very real threats and dangers, their efforts to overcome the technical challenges, at grave risk and often tragic loss, endowed us with the sport of recreational scuba diving as it exists today.
Today, we are spoiled by the beautiful options available to us to go diving. From the Maldives, to the Dead Sea. Egypt to the Cayman Islands. The Great Barrier Reef to Costa Rica. There are more dive sites and divers than ever before. Experienced divers can now safely enjoy pursuing their hobby almost anywhere on the planet.
There is however, one place, unlike any other. Dubbed the “Isles of Devils,” this island reef line has claimed more ships than any other, with over 600 identified shipwrecks and many more lost to the depths of the sea. The islands inspired tales of horror and mystery, which have persisted to this very day. We are discussing of course the emerald jewel in the Mid Atlantic known now, somewhat less fearfully, as the Bermuda Islands.
The immense number of shipwrecks around the island is the result of the proliferation of coral reefs which surround the island on all sides. Many of the wrecks frequented by divers today date from the mid-1800’s to the mid-1900’s. Protected from the worst of the region’s tropical storms and hurricanes by the very reefs, which laid claim to them, these wrecks offer some of the best diving in the world. With a long history of treasure hunting, the island has established hard rules for how its underwater sites are to be preserved, so don’t go picking up souvenirs if you want to leave the island any time soon!
Whether the prolific number of wrecks is the result of the mysterious “Bermuda Triangle,” a supposedly supernatural phenomenon that encompasses the area between Miami, Puerto Rico and Bermuda has been a topic of much debate and discussion over the years. Between the conspiracy theories and the scientific data showing gas pockets, it can be hard to distinguish what really happened to all the ships (and even planes) that met their fate in the perilous Bermuda triangle.
One thing, however, is certain, Bermuda has the most amazing shipwreck diving sites in the world. With so many wrecks, it’s no surprise that the island is a hot spot for international divers, the island also has several world-class dive shops offering tours for both visitors and locals.
It is also surrounded by an extensive coral reef, which, fed with warm water from the Gulf Stream is also the most northern coral reef in the world. The island’s position in the Gulf of Mexico provides it with a relatively temperate climate, year-round. With visibility in excess of 100m in cooler months, diving with a wetsuit has never looked more appealing.
The island’s position in the Atlantic makes it an ideal stopover for many of the ocean’s migratory species. Dolphins, whales, turtles, many species of birds and even sharks, use the islands as a rest spot while traveling the open ocean. Ecologically speaking, Bermuda’s tourist appeal has long been established.
If you enjoy history, exploring unique and beautiful locales, both above and below the waves then you owe it to yourself to experience Bermuda. ■
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