Bermuda Coral Reefs
The Basilica and Cathedral
Both Basilica and the Cathedral coral reefs in Bermuda are located quite close to the opening of Castle Harbor
, Bermuda's original port entrance. The Cathedral is a series of breaker reefs that have created a number of vast caves, overhangs and canyons. The larger of these caverns looks somewhat like a Cathedral (a huge room) and therefore the name Cathedral for this reef site. Both Basilica and the Cathedral coral reefs are popular hiding place for schools of Snapper and Margate.
These are homes to large Tarpons as well. You can see vast schools of Parrot Fish passing this area during the spring. This is a phenomenon quite common to Bermuda, but not heard of anywhere else in the Western Hemisphere. You can expect to see in excess of 100 massive Parrotfish traveling together.
There are many types of parrot fish. These Parrot Fishes tend to group within their own types. That means you will see groups of Midnight Blues or groups of Stoplights or even groups of Blues, but never a mixed group.
Watch out for the massive and very inquisitive Tarpons. These massive fishes, sometimes in excess of 5 feet, are likely to follow you wherever you go. This can be slightly scary, but to date I have not heard of anyone being injured by a Tarpon. Usually they are quite harmless and friendly. However they are generally quite inquisitive by their very nature and keep following you.
They have a typical foil wrap appearance. This is the reason why flash photography becomes difficult with them due to the reflections. However, a flashlight will always be handy. Many caves, cracks and crevices are home to Lobster and Crabs. Look out for the Spanish Slipper Lobsters in the shallow sand areas.
Depths of Cathedral reef vary from the shallows of 26-ft to around 55-ft. For the divers, navigation through this area has always been a little difficult. It's very easy to get disoriented in the many canyons and caverns, although the site actually is quite compact. Although you can swim over the reef and get to the Cathedral cave, easier would be to go through a swim through known as Devilís Throat (a narrow opening through the wall of the reef). Given the trange of depth, this site is suitable for amateur and experienced divers as well as for snorkelers.
One of the best ways to explore the Cathedral dive site is to go through Dive Bermuda Grotto Bay
who are among the top diving centers in Bermuda.
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