Sailing Bermuda’s Seabed

Bermuda is formed from an extinct volcanic mountain range topped off with limestone. As a result, it has miles of fringing reef in every direction, lurking just below the surface. This extensive reef combined with regular and forceful storms results in the perfect conditions for shipwrecks. There were over thirty shipwrecks on Bermuda’s reefs before 1600. To date, more than 300 wrecks have been found. The largest is the Cristobal Colon, a luxury liner which was wrecked in 52 ft. of water in 1923 and is a fascinating place to dive.

If you’re not a diver, you can snorkel several sites. The Constellation and The Montana were both wrecked in Western Blue Cut.

The former was a wooden schooner which crashed into the reef in 1943 while heading to Bermuda for repairs, spilling her cargo of cement, whiskey and medical supplies (including thousands of ampoules of morphine) into the water, where they still lie at about 25 ft.

The Montana was an efficient paddle steamboat that met her end in 1863 after missing the easy approach to St. George’s harbor and trying to take a short cut through the reef. She was a Civil War ‘blockade runner’, and had several aliases to try to confuse the enemy. The Lartington is also close by – it sank in 1879. Since the wrecks are not in especially deep water, it’s possible to see them when you’re snorkelling. You’ll need to take a tour boat to get out there but there are plenty of companies offering excursions.

Photo by David Broad, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=54065156

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