Popular Reef Sites in Bermuda for Divers

 
This page describes several coral reef sites in Bermuda that are popular with divers. Apart from the ones listed below, there are several top reef sites like North Rock, Blue Hole, Aquarium, Killa Puffa etc which are described under the section Bermuda Coral Reefs
 
Smugglers' Notch 
This is one of the favorite reef sites for the divers. This reef site, located on the south side of Bermuda, is made of a series of reef breakers. These breakers are very close together, creating caves, tunnels and arches. In the past, smugglers used this reef area to hide the contrabands in the many caves that are part of the reef. No treasure remains though. 
 
 
 
Located between the Fairmont Southampton Hotel and former Sonesta Beach Hotel, this reef site has a depth range of 20 to 50 feet. The massive selections of Anemones, the flowery plants that are found here will make any Caribbean resort jealous - an amazingly diverse selection of colors and sizes. 
 
Schools of Snappers, Blues, Queens and Angel fish that are unique to Bermuda can be seen here. The tunnels and overhangs providing cover for Glass eyed Sweepers and Lobsters. The shallows are coated with masses of Purple Sea fans, home to many Flamingo Tongues. Look for the Trumpet Fish hiding on the backs of Groupers. Many Golden Chain and Spotted Eels are also relatively easy to find. You should take a guided tour due to the complex nature of this site. 
 
Bad Caves 
This reef site is located in the shallow reef area surrounding the Chubb Head Beacon. Here the main features are the vast mushroom shaped coral heads. These coral heads have formed a number of caves, overhangs and crevices. Average depths are 25 to 30 feet with sections as shallow as 5 feet. 
 
Due to the complex nature of the reef structure and the lack of pattern, a guided tour is strongly recommended. This site is particularly great for spotting different types of fishes due to its proximity to a fishery preserve. Large school of Barracuda and Parrot Fish are often seen at this site. 
 
The caves and overhangs offer protection for Lobsters, Glass-eyed Sweepers and large Groupers. Look out for Speckled Moray Eels hiding in the crevices of the reef. The shallow depth of this site offers great visibility. This has always been a popular choice with photographers. 
 
Caves are the main attractions of this site. Minimal and streamlined diving gears are certainly a better choice for this site than the bulky technical equipment. 
 
 
 
Hangover Hole 
This coral reef site has nothing to do with alcoholic hangovers. This site has been so named for the series of overhangs and holes within the reef structure. Hangover Hole reef comprises of a maze of tunnels, swim-throughs, arches and overhangs, and has been formed due to the huge boiler reef structures close by. This reef is Located at the south side of the island and close to Warwick Long Bay. 
 
You can see anemones - the flowery plants in masses of them. The depth range is from 15 feet on the top of the main reef structure, to around 50 feet to the sand at the base of the reefs. It’s almost an impossible task to retrace a route that you would have taken earlier in Hangover Hole. This is due to the large number of swim-throughs and archways.  
 
Small tunnels lead to massive caverns within the reef structure creating ideal hiding places for lobsters, Eels and Glassy-eyed Sweepers. Entering these caverns can get you coming face to face with enormous Groupers. A flashlight is handy, but not essential, as skylight holes allow ambient light to cascade through the tunnels creating excellent photography opportunities with the light beams dancing around. 
 
The deeper sandy areas allow feeding for passing Eagle Rays. On a close inspection of the sand, you can find a staggering diversity of life all so camouflaged. Look out for Peacock Flounder, Lizard Fish and Razor Fish. You may even find Leopard Flat Worms and Golden Crested Sea Goddesses. 
 
Take a closer look and you are likely to be rewarded with the sight of sea urchins — these are spiny sea creatures that are round and prickly like hedgehogs. 
 
Parrot's Mission 
This reef site is so named as this is one of the very few places where you can find huge congregation of Parrot fish. Little is known as to why. It has only been a mere speculation whether this is due to their mating rituals or due to the fishes forced to do hunting maneuvers. 
 
Early spring is the best time to be almost guaranteed of a parrot Fish show here. Parrots Mission site is located North of Blue Hole at Eastern Blue Cut. A variety of angelfish can be seen at a deep sandy patch at about 70 feet depth. The reef at the edges has formed huge overhangs. 
 
You can climb above the reef at around 40 feet and see masses of soft corals and Sea Fans. Some of the sandy channels can lead to deeper water so you need to watch out on your depth 
 
 
 
Table Top 
This reef site is at the east of Blue Hole reef and at the mouth of Eastern Blue Cut. The reef forms a natural horseshoe shaped coral lagoon. Shallow coral fingers surrounding the area help block the rough wave action and provide a calm area ideal for snorkelers and novice divers. The name Table Top comes from a massive coral head that looks like a table. 
 
The top of this reef, due to its massive size, has actually fallen off. Lush soft corals and sea fans can be easily found in this nutrient rich area where the deeper Atlantic Ocean mixes with the inshore waters of Bermuda. Eagle Rays and Turtles are often seen as they make there way between the open ocean and enclosed waters. Keep you eyes open for the many shells to be found here, Cowries and Tritons are popular as well as the abundant Flamingo Tongues. The depth can quickly increase after the bottom contour. You may land up diving far deeper than you planned unless you are cautious. 
 
Bad Lands 
This reef site is so named because the coral landscape resembles that of Arizona's Bad Lands. This is located in the shallow reef area surrounding Chubb Head Beacon. Here the coral reef heads are full of caves, overhangs and crevices, which provide good home for lobsters and Glass-eyed Sweepers. A carpet of reef with very little sand makes it difficult for anchoring. 
 
Average depths are 25 to 30 feet with some sections as shallow as 5 feet. Due to the complex nature of the reef structure and the lack of pattern, a guided tour is strongly recommended. This site is particularly great for spotting different types of fishes due to its proximity to a fishery reserve. 
 
Large school of Barracuda and Parrot Fishes are often seen at this site. The caves and overhangs offer protection for Lobsters, Glass-eyed Sweepers and large Groupers. Look out for speckled Moray Eels hiding in the crevices of the reef. The shallow depth of this site offers great visibility. This has always been a popular choice with photographers. 
 
Kevin's Reef 
This reef site is named after Kevin Burke, one of the pioneers in Recreational Scuba diving in Bermuda. This is one of the pristine reefs known for its vibrant coral growth. Locals say that this is the first site dived by any recreational diver in Bermuda. Kevin used to give people a brief orientation at the nearby Sonesta Bay and then row them out to this section of reef for an experience with the underwater world. 
 
The reef site is located just to the west of The Sonesta Beach Hotel, where Kevin Burke established the island's first dive school in the 1960's. Depths range from 10feet on the top of the reef to 30feet into the bottom of sand. Overhangs on the eastern sides of the coral fingers provide the ideal hideout for Snappers and Grunts. The large sand areas have ample Conch and the ever present Razor and Lizard Fish. Keep your eyes open for the occasional feeding Eagle Rays. 
 
 
 
The coral structure is full of cave's, some of which have extremely narrow entrance and should only be attempted by experienced divers. The whole site in general has calm ocean conditions. As the sand areas here are large and the reef structure is very compact, this site is excellent for novice divers. 
 
Three Sisters 
This reef site is formed out of three blind breakers to the west of South-West Breaker reefs. These are called blind breakers as the reefs are not usually visible above the water surface. These reefs are also known as In-Betweenies. The three huge breakers reach to within 10 feet from the surface appearing like three massive satellite dishes. 
 
The site is home to a large school of Snappers, Barracudas and Groupers. Overhangs make excellent shelter for lobsters and octopuses. The shallow flat tops of the breakers are ideal for snorkeling. This site has an average depth of about 28 feet and typical visibility is in excess of 100 feet. 
 
This coral reef is an excellent shallow dive site for both the novice and experienced divers. The shallow depth and the variety of fishes make it a great place for snorkelers as well. 
 
Tarpon Hole 
This reef site is located just to the west of the shipwreck called Pollockshields and off the western end of Elbow Beach.  A series of large reefs (or commonly called breakers) come closely together forming the site known as Tarpon Hole. This site is so named due to large congregation of Tarpons here. Caves, tunnels and overhangs are the main interest here, as are lush sea fans and soft corals. 
 
Ben's Bender 
This reef site has been named after Bermuda’s one of the greatest diving instructors, Ben Lucas. This was his favorite diving site. This coral reef site is located close to the historic fort of Castle Roads on the south-east corner of Bermuda. The attraction of this site is a huge mushroom shaped coral head. There is a tunnel at the base that makes a dramatic turn upwards into a chimney that rises right up to the top of the head. Here depths range from 20 to 50 feet and visibility typically is in excess of 100 feet. 
 
Ben's Bender is a great site to find schools of massive Tarpons. Nudibranch, the shell less snails, can also be found in the shallow sandy areas. Large sea fans provide homes for Flamingo Tongues. You can see juvenile File Fish hiding from predators. Lobsters and Eels can be found in plenty along the tunnels and overhangs of the main breaker. The deeper sandy section on the outer side of the breakers is also an ideal place for finding feeding spotted Eagle Rays. Caution should be used when entering the Chimney, as water surge and swell can make the tunnel appear much wider that it really is. As the name suggest, there are many bends as you swim through the tunnels. 
 
Watch Hill Park Reef 
Watch Hill Park is just to the west of John Smith's Bay in Smith's Parish. Typically one can dive from the shore and access the reef site. You also have the option of taking a boat up to the diving point. The massive boiler reefs that are the focus of this site come to within inches of the surface. These sheer vertical walls of coral, limestone and fossils of worms form arches and overhangs. There is a maze of tunnels and swim-throughs in the reef. You can find lush soft corals here. 
 
Maximum depths here can be up to 50 feet and the tops of the breakers as shallow as 5 feet or less. There is no defined path around this site. The best is to circle the massive coral heads. Look out for huge Groupers and the occasional Turtles. This is always a great place to find shells and the ever present Leopard flat worms. For maximum enjoyment, I would suggest that you take advantage of guided dives. The site holds lots of secrets that only a frequent diver or a dive master will know about. 
 
Sic-O-Big-C 
This Coral Reef site was found at a time when there was several months of high winds and bad weather in Bermuda. This limited the diving to just the area surrounding Western Blue Cut. Also the divers had enough of diving for the shipwrecks of The Constellation, The Montana and The Lartington. This led to boat venturing into this virgin carpet reef area just to the North of the wreck of The Lartington. And then Sic-O-Big-C got discovered. This reef site comprises of a group of shallow coral heads. 
 
Depth is around 25feet. There is a large sand flat that gives a good anchoring option. Keep an eye out for feeding Eagle Rays. You can also see octopuses as well as a variety of Nudibranch - shell less snails like Purple Crested Sea Goddess. You can find the Razor Fish in the sandy area. You will often see Leopard Flat Worms. Schools of Jacks and Grunts are seen here, as are Snappers and Angel Fish.  
 
 
 
Related Articles 
 
1) Check out Bermuda Coral Reefs to know all about the reef systems in Bermuda 
 
2) Check out Scuba Diving & Dive shops to know all about diving in Bermuda 
 
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