Just in time for Halloween, we take a deep dive with PADI into spooky Bermuda… check back for part 2 on Monday.
Are you a thrill-seeker who loves the call of adventure and doesn’t mind a good scare? If you’re looking for something mesmerising, intriguing, and downright creepy then look no further than Bermuda, the ultimate destination for a spooky dive.
Why Bermuda? Mysterious disappearances, real-life underwater monsters, hundreds of shipwrecks to explore – the list goes on. Found in the North Atlantic Ocean and surrounded by fringing coral reefs, Bermuda already offers fantastic diving for anyone delighted by diverse and stunning aquatic species. But if it’s the eerie and uncanny you’re after, Bermuda hits the mark too!
You may already be familiar with strange stories about the Bermuda Triangle – a peculiar region where planes and ships seem to disappear into thin air – but did you know that Bermuda is also known as the Wreck Capital of the Atlantic?
There are over 300 sunken ships scattered around Bermuda. Some even date back to the 1600’s thanks to Bermuda’s extra shallow reefs. With so many ghostly shipwrecks to explore, it’s easy to see why the Bermuda Triangle has become the stuff of myth (and no doubt nightmare for some).
Dive deep with PADI for the frightful and freaky scoop about Bermuda – read on with caution and don’t say we didn’t warn you!
PADI’s 8 Spooky Fun Facts About Bermuda
- Strange Weather and Extra Deep Waters
Bermuda is known for all kinds of bizarre natural phenomena. From ultra-extreme weather and uneven seafloors to strong electromagnetic field pulls (ever heard of electronic fog?!) and unpredictable rogue waves, it’s no wonder there have been so many shipwrecks around the island over the years. At a depth of 27,493 feet, the Bermuda Triangle is home to the deepest point of the Atlantic Ocean at the Puerto Rico Trench in the Milwaukee Depth.
- Mysterious Disappearances
The Bermuda Triangle has long been renowned as a creepy spot that pilots and ship captains alike would prefer to avoid. There are countless tales of ships, planes, and submarines that have gone missing without a trace, and while there are over 300 wrecks found on the ocean floor, many disappearances remain a mystery. It’s estimated that at least 50 airplanes and 20 ships are unaccounted for to this day.
- Magnetic Anomalies
The Bimini vortex often comes up as an oddity connected to the Bermuda Triangle. It’s described as a unique spot where compasses spin, and electronics fail to work properly. Even more strange are reports of dolphins that appear very suddenly and come right up to divers. Some attribute the anomalies to “electronic fog” which is described as an electromagnetic field that appears as a cloud over the ocean, engulfing a ship and causing its electronics to malfunction. While pilots and coast guards have indeed reported uncanny fog in the area, electronic fog remains a supernatural theory that makes the Bermuda Triangle even more mysterious.
- Fact or Fiction?
The city of Atlantis is a fictional story that originated with Plato about a lost civilization that was wise and powerful. Some of the stranger myths about the Bermuda Triangle suggest that the inexplicable magnetic anomalies found in the area are connected to ancient technologies left behind from Atlantis. Paranormal writer Charles Berlitz brought this idea to life, also suggesting that Atlantis was the cause of the many mysterious disappearances in the Bermuda Triangle.
- Supernatural Lighting
Dive on the east end of Bermuda and you’ll discover the Cathedral site, where a beautiful and ethereal series of coral formations are inhabited by a host of spectacular fish. What makes the Cathedral so special is its vaulted reef structure that creates a natural skylight when you’re in the depths of your dive – talk about mood lighting! A single shaft of light through a hole at the top of the reef illuminates the otherwise dark and spooky waters at depths of 55 feet.
- Surprise Visitors
To the west you’ll find Eel Garden, named after garden eels, where the critters will jump out and try to give you a fright as you delve through shallow and deep waters at depths from 30 to 70 feet. Not to worry – although they may startle you, these eels simply want to wave hello when they pop their heads out from the sand.
- Shoot Real-Life Monsters
The real monsters in Bermuda aren’t the friendly garden eels. Instead, you need to watch out for lionfish, an invasive species in the Atlantic that reproduces quickly (laying up to 2 million eggs a year!) and feeds on small crustaceans and fish. Because they have such an impact on the local ecosystem, lionfish culling is a common practice in Bermuda. You can help in the hunt to take down these real-life monsters with the PADI Bermuda Invasive Lionfish Culler Distinctive Specialty.
- More Than Shipwrecks Underwater
While Bermuda is famous for the extensive number of shipwrecks scattered around the island, there’s more to be found in the deep blue. Divers can also visit the skeleton of a B-50 Bomber that crashed into the watery depths of the Atlantic in 1963. The airplane went down after its jet engine exploded and to this day divers can find the remains of bent propellers, wings, and fuselage at a depth of 25 feet.
Check back on Monday for… PADI’s Top 7 Wrecks to Dive in Bermuda!
Images: DIVE BERMUDA
Jeff chats to… Paul Cox, CEO of the Shark Trust about the Big Shark Pledge (Watch Video)
The Big Shark Pledge aims to build one of the biggest campaigning communities in the history of shark conservation. To put pressure on governments and fisheries. And make the positive changes required to safeguard awesome sharks and rays.
Rather listen to a podcast? Listen to the audio HERE on the new Scubaverse podcast channel at Anchor FM.
Into the Blue – Part Two
By now, you will have hopefully read the first blog from my recent trip to the Red Sea with The Scuba Place on M/Y Big Blue. If you haven’t, you can find the link to the blog here.
I’ve been diving since 2011, although I didn’t get really serious about diving until 2013. In the November of that year I joined Scuba School on a trip to Sharm El Sheikh to complete my Advanced Open Water course. That was the first time I heard about the famous SS Thistlegorm and its cult status in the wreck diving world. Unfortunately, as I, along with a lot of the group were novice divers, and so we were unable to dive it on that 2013 trip, along with a lot of the other famous wrecks from the North. Little did I know, I wouldn’t return to the Northern Red Sea until this trip in September 2022 with The Scuba Place. The wrecks remained mysterious all those years but I was soon getting the full experience. After the first two and a half days exploring the amazing reefs, it was time to break my Thistlegorm virginity and get the true “lust for rust” experience of the Northern itinerary.
As we moored up at the SS Thistlegorm for the afternoon dive, I got a strange sense of anticipation run through my body. More so than at any other specific dive site. Strange really, as I don’t normally get excited about wreck diving, but here was a site that I’d heard so much about but was still so mysterious. I’d always thought it was a difficult dive and had a slight fear of it, as I wasn’t allowed to do it all those years back. Then, after watching a 20 minute film explaining the story of the wreck and listening to the stories of survivors,. I knew it was a site that demanded respect. As Mo went through the dive briefing, I quickly realised it seemed a lot more simple than I had in mind. I then became more excited than fearful as me and my dive buddy went through our plan.
There was an eerie feeling as we submerged below the gentle swell. The visibility was a lot more milky compared to the clear blue I was used to in the Red Sea. However, the wreck soon came into view as we dropped down the shot line. The first thing that struck me and in my opinion just made the wreck extra special, was the life on it.
Instantly, crocodile fish and scorpion fish were spotted resting on the wreck, as we made our way to the anti-aircraft gun on the stern. I made a quick visit to take some photos before we turned back and penetrated the wreck for the first time. A surreal experience but the numerous glassfish and lionfish at the entry point kept me entertained before seeing the remnants of yesteryear. The different vehicles that still keep their place in the decks are the main highlight, but it was the boots that struck a chord with me: signs of the human lives that were present on the fateful day the bomb hit. I got a real buzz from my first time on the Thistlegorm, with a school of batfish greeting us on our safety stop finishing off the adventure. John and I ascended from a great dive with a high five, knowing I’d fulfilled a special memory.
I enjoyed three more dives on the Thistlegorm, giving me chance to explore a little more and see a little more life. Some cool nudibranch and a cuttlefish making their home inside the wreck added to the array of life I’d already seen. It was the night dive that truly hit the marine life spot. It really came to life at night and I soon lost count of the amount of scorpionfish I saw. The contrast of the dark and wreck against the blue spotted stingrays made their colours really pop as around six or seven were spotted. Eels, lionfish and crocodilefish making up the rest of the weird and wonderful sights on the wreck at night. Amazing memories from my first time exploring the Thistlegorm that will last forever.
After the two morning dives on the Thistlegorm, we headed off to the Barge wreck site for an afternoon and night dive. It’s not much of a wreck when you compare it to the others on the trip. It lies like a flat platform on the seabed with some sides rising out from the reef providing extra space for coral growth and marine life to enjoy. While it doesn’t provide a real wreck fix with penetration, it is a haven for marine life, littered with all types of hard and soft corals. Look closely and the Barge is a great spot for the weird and wonderful. The numerous nudibranch and grey moray eels provided my macro fix on the night dives, while the occasional buzz from huge hunting giant trevally provided the entertainment. A nice contrast of wrecks before moving on to Abu Nuhas.
Abu Nuhas is a really unique place. Its submerged reef has been bad luck for five passing ships, with five cargo shipwrecks lining its northern slopes. While it was more than unfortunate for some, the wrecks have provided fortune for those looking for a wreck diving haven. Our day consisted of diving three of the wrecks – The Carnatic, Giannis D and Marcus/Chrisoula K in that order.
Going into the trip, it was the Giannis D that I was most keen to dive. I’d always admired the wide angle stern shots I’d seen over the years, with it staying pretty much intact and creating a dramatic image as it lies on its side. It was a fantastic dive with some interesting and easy penetration; I also took some shots of the stern in all its glory. A huge grouper sitting inside the wreck provided the wildlife fix, as it floated with ease looking out into the blue from an opening on the wreck. I think it was the Carnatic that stole the show personally though. Her open windows out to the blue that are covered in soft coral were unique, and glassfish dancing in formation inside mesmerised into a truly memorable dive. The Marcus provided the adventure as penetration was a little more difficult to work my way through the wreck.
The day at Abu Nuhas was the best of the trip for me and that wasn’t solely because of the wrecks….. YES!! Once again it was marine life that had me screaming with joy underwater and a buzz through my body like no other. FINALLY!!!!! After 9 years of taking photos underwater, I was able to share the water with dolphins (bottlenose in this instance) and shoot them in all their glory.
Our journey to and from the wrecks on each dive took us through the channel on the ribs, where dolphins were seen on every pass playing in the slight waves. After the second dive, the guides asked if we wanted to try to snorkel with them. It was a resounding yes and as the speedboat whipped up a wave storm, the dolphins headed to the surface to play. I dropped in with no elegance at all, as my excitement took over. I was wondering whether they would stay once we entered, but how they stayed and played was beyond anything I could imagine. Bringing seaweed to us and then, with a flick of their tails, speeding off after teasing with a slow approach. There were nine in total and they even came by to show off the baby of the group. It was definitely up there as one of my greatest moments in the water.
We finished the liveaboard trip with three more amazing reef dives, with the highlight being a small cave full of glassfish and MANY lionfish. I entered to take photos of the glassfish before the lionfish started to sneak out of every crevice and reveal themselves from their camouflaged rest spots.
It got a little hairy but made for a truly interesting moment to finish the week on Big Blue. The fun wasn’t done though, as John eluded to the fact that I was on the same late flight as them on the Saturday and asked if I’d like to join his group for a night at Roots Red Sea. Sounds like a good plan!! Also, if we got there in time, a night dive on the house reef that’s a haven for the weird and wonderful would be on offer. What an amazing surprise end to the trip at an amazing dive resort: secluded, with a beautiful desert backdrop, sitting just metres from the sea. Thankfully, we made it for a night dive and it was as incredible as John said it would be. Reef squid, numerous cuttlefish, a bouncing stonefish jumping over sea moths AND a dwarf lionfish made this one of the best night dives ever, and a perfect end dive to a perfect trip. A final day of relaxation at Roots pool and enjoying the beautiful food finished it in style.
For more information about diving on Big Blue:
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