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A scuba diving holiday in Bermuda is a must if you are passionate about wreck diving, this island is known as the shipwreck capital of the Atlantic. With 400 wrecks underwater around Bermuda, 36 of which are accessible to divers there's no better place.
Situated in the North Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of Cape Hatteras in North Carolina, Bermuda is often referred to as one single island, but it is actually an archipelago comprising around 140 different islands uniquely shaped like a fish hook. This beautiful island chain is surrounded by over 200 miles of coral reefs, which are teeming with colourful marine life, but the highlight for divers is the extraordinary number of shipwrecks that lie scattered in Bermuda's crystalline waters.
Bermuda's tragic maritime history has turned its warm, clear waters into an exciting underwater playground for divers. Boasting over 400 documented shipwrecks, it's no wonder this world-class dive destination is known as the shipwreck capital of the Atlantic Ocean. Only 36 wrecks, some of which date back to the 1500s, are accessible to divers, however, but there are plenty of exhilarating underwater adventures to be had – for both novices and experienced divers.
Many of Bermuda's wrecks have been destroyed over time by the rough Atlantic waves, but numerous historic vessels remain accessible for divers to explore. One of the island's best wrecks lies in the waters around St George's Parish, on the eastern side of the Bermuda island chain. The Cristobal Colon is a 150m, transatlantic Spanish vessel and the largest of Bermuda's shipwrecks. It was one of the most luxurious cruise ships of her time before she met her fate on the treacherous coral reefs in 1936. Today divers can explore acres of sea floor covered with steam boilers measuring 20 feet in diameter, as well as iron beams, steel plates, deck machinery and many other interesting parts of this once great ship.
Nearby, the Kate Wreck is also well worth exploring. This 200ft, English, steel-hulled steamer sank in 1878 after hitting a reef 22 miles northwest of Gibbs Hill Lighthouse. Today the remains of the vessel lie in 45 feet of water on a reef near Tucker's Town Beach. There is plenty for divers to explore here, including the boilers, engine, deck winches, propeller and other machinery.
If you want to stay close to shore, one of the most popular and oldest wrecks to dive is the Virginia Merchant, an English sailing ship that ran aground on the rocks near Sonesta Beach in 1661. Very little of the wreck remains, but this a favourite site to dive because of the beautiful surrounding reef, which has a natural arch and numerous tunnels, caves and gullies to explore.
Other popular wrecks include the Mary Celestina, a twin-paddle-wheel steamer that hit a reef and quickly sank in 1864; The Hermes, a 165 freighter that was sunk as an artificial reef in 1984 and sits upright and intact in 80 feet of water, and the famous Constellation, a four-masted wooden schooner that was swept onto the reefs by a strong current whilst heading to Bermuda's shores to be repaired. The wreck of the Montana lies very close by, so this can easily be explored at the same time.
This is just a handful of Bermuda's diveable wrecks, all of which are inhabited by a rich array of fish, corals and other exciting marine life. Many sites also provide excellent photo opportunities, and are popular for diving either day or night. When it comes to wreck diving in Bermuda, there are certainly plenty of options. So, take your pick and enjoy one of the best wreck diving experiences in the world.
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