Did you know Bermuda is literally two hours from New York City? You might not have realized it's a nearby vacation option, and it's not just for country clubbers anymore. To reveal the true island, Gothamist is helping Bermuda spread the word of its amazing cultural and culinary heritage, pink beaches, clear waters and obviously, all that rum. Here's Part 4 of 'Two Hours Away', all about doing what you only see in movies.
Clear water and shallow reefs make things easier than they look (Flickr)
Exploring shipwrecks really doesn't seem like something actual people do—it seems better left to professionals, like Bond villains or Jacques Cousteau. But the truth is it's actually easy in Bermuda's shallow, clear waters. Just leave that out of the bragging when you get back. Instead, describe the terrifying fish with human teeth that lurks the wrecks and reefs in your photos.
Fish? With human teeth? What?
Not all of them look this dopey. (Flickr)
Here's a more unsettling example. Triggerfish are a group of 40 tropical and subtropical species that roam shallow waters, meaning they're pretty prevalent in reefs and shipwrecks, which is Bermuda's bread and butter. They're also notoriously ill-tempered. Divers know to avoid them since their teeth, especially in the large titan triggerfish, can inflict pretty serious injury. But you can prevent an attack by simply avoiding a female guarding eggs. Good luck!
Um, neat. Is it worth it?
Going for it. (Bermuda Tourism)
Well, when else will you get to explore something hundreds of years old, underwater, in one of the most beautiful places on Earth?
Bermuda's known as the shipwreck capital of the world with over 300 wrecks in its perimeter. Early Caribbean sailors avoided the "Island of Devils," but it actually took a shipwreck in 1609 to make some stay.
A hurricane sunk the Sea Venture off Bermuda's shores, forcing her stranded sailors to make due with pink sandy beaches and idyllic blue waters. This marks the beginning of the island's long British history, which didn't go unnoticed—the wreck is probably the inspiration for Shakespeare's Tempest.
What's down there?
Only the whole of Bermuda's human history: paddle-wheel steamboats, blockade busters and ferry boats, ships from the Civil War, World War I, World War II, and modern ships. And yes, treasure ships, too.
The largest: The Cristobal Colon, sunk in 1936. The Spanish trans-Atlantic luxury liner lies at a depth of 55 feet, scattered over 100,000 sq ft of ocean floor.
The oldest: This is up for debate, but one of the oldest is the Virginia Merchant, sunk in 1661 on her way to Jamestown. Out of 179 passengers, only 10 survived. There's very little of the wreck left, but the surrounding reef is full of dramatic tunnels and caves that make it well worth the trip.
The most photogenic: The Hermes, not sunk but decommissioned and turned into an artificial reef in 1984. It's not the oldest wreck, but its purposeful sinking means it remains in tact for some awesome photos and exploring.
Forget human history, how about natural history?
Bermuda's reef fish are famously beautiful (Shutterstock)
Easy. Since all the shipwrecks came from Bermuda's famous reef structure, there's plenty to explore. You can see wrecks and reefs in one day, or you could spend your entire vacation snorkeling in the coral—whichever seems your style.
Go to Snorkel Park Beach for snorkel rentals (there's also a restaurant and nightclub so you could conceivably pass a full day there if you're spry) and explore the surrounding formations. Bermuda's waters are famous for visibility, so you'll often feel like you're swimming through a giant aquarium with tunnels, caves, archways, and colors vibrantly unreal.
If all this sounds good and you'd like to check out more, make your next trip to Bermuda. It's closer than you think! Visit the Bermuda Tourism website for more information.