Often known in popular culture as the cradle of deep-sea supernatural activity, the truth behind the Bermuda Triangle is far more rooted in some combination of the following: the perils of primitive navigation in centuries past, surprisingly sudden violent weather along the Gulf Stream and the law of proportionate averages—a highly trafficked route will naturally hold more shipwrecks. Mystery solved, there are no ghost pirates pillaging the Bermuda Triangle.
But, even without ghost pirates, there are a lot of disappearances and shipwrecks—the island of Bermuda is surrounded by over 300 shipwrecks alone. While this underwater orbit might’ve been a death trap in the days of wooden ships and captains praying that the compass worked, here in the present it’s just an abundance of reefs, translating to a treasure trove of dive-able spots.
Whether you believe, don’t believe, or want to believe in the mysticism of the Bermuda Triangle, the island of Bermuda itself is utterly magical (and especially so underwater). For a few spots filled with beauty and intrigue you won’t want to miss discovering, here are a handful of Bermuda’s best shipwrecks hidden along the seafloor.
The largest, fully intact wreck off the coast of Bermuda, The King George is a former dredger of the Bermuda government. With its services no longer needed by 1930, the ship was purposely sunk five miles inside of North Rock. Sitting at a maximum depth of 60 feet and in waters with visibility averaging up to 40 feet out, floating amongst this forgotten vessel is as close to a ghost ship as you can get.
The Cristobal Colon holds the title of Bermuda’s largest shipwreck, bar none. Above water, it was the cutting-edge of transatlantic luxury—until running aground a coral reef in 1936. After causing The Iristo to sink (but more on that in just a moment) it became target practice for the US Air Force in preparation for World War II. Today, it lies in clumps and clusters spread amongst 100,000 feet of the seabed floor. Witnessing the massive scraps and ecosystem that have grown around it will take you anywhere from 30-to-55 feet below the surface.
The Iristo was unlucky as a ship in the unique way that was too bad at the time of the incident, but is now hilarious almost a century later. The captain of this Norwegian steamer came upon the Cristobal Colon (which was still propped up by the reef at the time) and was startled at the site of the ship—and believing it to be a fully functional ship traveling along a channel, ordered that his divert direction to follow it. In doing so, he ran his ship into the very same reef, sinking The Iristo about a mile and a half away from the Cristobal Colon. While The Cristobal is in scraps, The Iristo is comparatively in mint condition: both the stem and bow are intact, providing the sight of a 250-foot wreck if the visibility permits. Coral reef coats the entirety of the ship and its cargo: a careful look past that provides a glimpse at the fire truck it was carrying. But, with the coral comes the diverse marine life, making for some competition for your attention.
The inspiration for “The Deep” (both the novel and movie), the Constellation may just be the most famous of Bermuda’s diving spots. A 198-foot wooden schooner in life, it met a watery grave in 1943 when a strong current forced a crash. Sitting just 30 feet below the surface of the water, visibility is generally excellent, allowing you to discover remnants of the cargo—petrified cement, cups, nail polish bottles and the occasional Morphine ampoules, just like in the movie. Remember, it’s a crime to remove any artifacts.
Looking to dive right into the mystique and mystery of Bermuda’s underwater worlds? Talk with one of our travel agents. Their knowledge and expertise on specialized travel, as well as relationships with industry-leading cruise lines like Norwegian Cruise Line, allow you to set your sights on navigating shipwrecks rather than navigating the complicated world of travel planning.