Experiencing Bermuda by water is not just a benefit of living and vacationing here, it is an exploration of Bermudian culture, an integral part of understanding who we are as a people and how our maritime history and ocean culture have contributed to our existence and collective identity. No matter whether you’re more inclined to enjoy Bermuda’s waters from above the surface or below, find a way to get submersed in our ocean environment in a way you haven’t before. Get in, on or around the water and celebrate all that is best about summer in Bermuda.
1. Keep Calm and Kayak
Perhaps the most peaceful way to take in Bermuda’s natural splendour at water-level is by kayak, rentable from various vendors across the island and requiring no experience to operate. Hop into your own single or double vessel and set out discovering the rocky shores, coves and inlets of the island, many inaccessible by motor boat. Embark on a guided kayaking tour with Fantasea Diving and Watersports, investigating the rural shorelines of Bermuda’s west end. Along the way, the guide will address points of interest, including uninhabited islands, famous homes and local fauna. Visit www.fantasea.bm to book.For kayakers looking for unguided tours and a chance to see Bermuda on their own terms, Blue Hole Water Sports at Grotto Bay Beach Resort offers kayak rentals up to a full day, allowing explorers and adventure seekers the opportunity to traverse to the southern side of Castle Harbour to take in the surrounding areas of Nonsuch Island and Tom Moore’s Jungle. Whichever the route, natural wonders are in abundance, as are breathtaking views. Visit www.blueholebermuda.com.
2. Charter a Sailboat for a Posh Party
Summertime merriment on the water isn’t complete without a little bit of lux. For a day (or evening) of decadence, get decked out and climb aboard Zara, Bermuda’s largest and most luxurious sailing charter yacht. The 77-foot impeccably designed vessel, built to execute performance sailing without skimping on onboard comfort, is without a doubt the island’s most elite charter boat, but that doesn’t mean that it lacks Bermudian flavour or laid-back vibes. Charter guests are always welcome to partake in libationary fun, with cocktails and good times always in ample supply. Visit www.bermuda-yachts.com for more information or to book.
3. Rent a Pontoon Boat
Lazy summer afternoons elicit slow-moving boats, manned by barefooted passengers relishing brews and boundlessness—it is a scene that only summertime on the water can provide. Rent a pontoon boat from KS Watersports. The 23-foot Beach Cats carry up to 10 adults and are simple to operate, coming equipped with a cooler so you can chill your drinks while you search for the perfect place to anchor. Mosey through Paradise Lake and stop for a swim and picnic, or cruise to Mangrove Bay for an unspoiled day of fun in the sun. The best part? Step on and step off! Call 232-4155 or visit www.kswatersports.com to reserve.
4. Buzz Around in a Boston Whaler
There is no better way to zip around Bermuda’s shores than in an easy-to-manage Boston Whaler. Rent out of the west end and explore Mangrove Bay, Ely’s Harbour and the Great Sound. Rent your Whaler in the east end and cruise through the crystal-clear waters and pristine beauty of Castle Island Nature Reserve, St. George’s Harbour or the many islands around St. David’s. Visit KS Watersports at www.kswatersports.com to book.
5. Jet Around with a Jet Ski
Round up a group of your closest companions and hit the water for a sun-and-splash-laden afternoon. Although plenty of watersports centres around the island offer guided tours (by law, all jet ski operations are guided in Bermuda), the 75-minute excursions with BDA Watersports are the definitive jet ski tours. With nothing but blue skies and clear water before you, the competent guides, conversant with Bermuda waters, will take you to some of the island’s most awe-inspiring bays and secret coves that only a jet ski could navigate. On return, let loose and feel the wind through your hair as you race your friends and show them who’s king of the sea. Book online at www.bdawatersports.com.
6. Visit North Rock with BAMZ
Surprisingly, there are locals and residents who have never visited North Rock, the largest coral reef in Bermuda, which measures a 1,000-metre radius from the North Rock Navigational Beacon. There are even more locals and residents who don’t know that as late as the early 1900s North Rock was land mass, but due to rising sea levels, it is now coral reef supporting an abundance of marine species. If you’ve never made the seven-mile trek by boat to North Rock, do so. The Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo (BAMZ) schedules trips throughout the summer months for snorkelers to take in the comprehensive network of reefs. Call BAMZ at 293-2727 or visit their website for more information.
7. Party Stylishly on the UberVida
Every Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday during the summer months, Bermuda’s celebration yacht, the UberVida, departs Number One Dock, Front Street, laden with cocktail cruisers and journeying to Paradise Lake. The ninety-minute happy hour cruises (of which there are two: the first at 6 p.m., the second at 8 p.m.) are brimming with a youthful energy, complimented by good-looking revellers and a full cash and credit bar. Visit www.ubervida.net for more information.
8. Go Cliff Jumping
Bermudians have long used the rocks that adorn our jagged coastline as springboards for high dives, backflips and cannonballs, but it wasn’t until a group of young Bermudians filmed a series of videos entitled Falling off the Rock that cliff jumping became the “it” thing to do for adventure seekers looking to free-fall into the Atlantic. Some of the most popular spots for cliff jumping include the 20-foot canon at Admiralty House, the 30-foot crown at Horseshoe Bay and shack at Diving Board Island.
9. Rig Up and Learn to Sail
During the summer months, Hamilton Harbour is teaming with young sailors embarking each day from the Royal Hamilton Amateur Dinghy Club (RHADC) and the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club (RBYC) with set sails and tillers at the ready. But why should kids have all the fun? Both Hamilton clubs offer adult sailing lessons aboard J24 keelboats and 420 dinghies, teaching the basics in small-boat sailing to adults keen to learn. Partake in a learn-to-sail beginners’ course or brush up on existing knowledge with intermediate or advanced training. Call RHADC at 236-2250 or RBYC at 295-2214 to learn more.
10. Set Sail on the Spirit of Bermuda
The Spirit of Bermuda is a stunning throwback to yesteryear, an exemplary purpose-built training vessel based on schooners designed and built by Bermudians in the nineteenth century. There are abundant opportunities available to both children and adults to travel onboard Spirit on sailing voyages overseas. For anyone who’s ever dreamed of witnessing the sunset on the open ocean or taking watch overnight on a moving vessel, crossing the Atlantic on the Spirit of Bermuda is both the chance of a lifetime and an opportunity to explore our maritime history first-hand. During the summer months, a number of voyages are open to the public, including the Newport Bermuda Race, Bermuda to Chesapeake Bay, Bermuda to Sargasso Sea, and Bermuda to Rockport, Maine. Visit www.bermudasloop.org for more information.
11. Paddle Around on a Stand-Up Paddle Board
Cruise around on the surface of the water on a stand-up paddle board (SUP). The wide, heavy board makes SUP-ing easier than surfing, and feasible even without waves. H20 Watersports is located in Somerset. The safe, flat and clear water lends itself impressively to turtle spotting, thanks to neighbouring grassy Somerset Long Bay. Even first-time paddlers will be able to reap their reward exploring the bay and surrounding area. Book online at www.h2osportsbermuda.com.
Those looking for an added dose of difficulty should try the SUP Yoga Experience. Offering classes for all ability and comfort levels, repose and relax in a beginner class, a Sunset SUP paddle or even a private couples experience. Intended to be a light-hearted approach to both SUP and yoga, the session begins with a swim out to the anchoring site followed by students climbing onto their boards for a full hour of guided yoga. The real reward though is at the close of the session, Savasana—eyes closed, becoming one with the waves and gently rocking into serenity. Visit www.supyogabermuda.com more information.
12. Explore the Ocean Floor on a Glass Bottom Boat
Delve into the vivid and extraordinary underwater vista from a glass bottom boat. Usually reserved for certified SCUBA divers, the glimpse into Bermuda’s below-surface ecosphere reveals a plethora of biologically diverse marine life, most abundant in the area surrounding famous shipwreck HMS Vixen, located just outside Mangrove Bay. In addition to the underwater exploration, the experienced captain and crew provide informative running commentary, including an entertaining costal sightseeing tour. On the way back to shore, a search for sea turtles is matched with complimentary rum swizzle.
For the adventurous, the Bermuda Triangle Twilight Cruise offers the same experience but with the moon rising and a smattering of stars overhead. What lurks in the waters after dark is discovered when lights attached to the underbelly of the boat light up the watery depths. Visit Island Tour Centre at www.islandtourcentre.com to book a glass bottom boat tour.
13. Reach Great Depths SCUBA Diving
As the shipwreck capital of the world, Bermuda is a premier dive destination, lending itself exquisitely to picturesque underwater locations. SCUBA-certified divers can reach depths of 70 feet, diving wrecks and reefs surrounding the island. Points of interest include confederate wrecks like Mary Celestia and Montana and reefs like North Rock, NASA Point and Ben’s Bender at Castle Roads.
14. Snorkel off of Church Bay
Below the surface at Church Bay lives a myriad of marine life waiting to be explored. With the reef situated close to the shore, snorkelers are able to take in the wealth of brightly coloured fish almost effortlessly, making it a worth-while encounter for little snorkelers. Stronger swimmers can make their way to the boiler reefs to investigate deeper canyons and crevices where larger fish and corals reside.
15. Reel in a Big Fish
In present day Bermuda, one can purchase fish from grocery stores and roadside vendors, rendering it a relatively rare occurrence to venture out and catch a fish for oneself. This summer, book a fishing charter and head out at dawn to the banks and outer reefs to reel in a wahoo or two. If you don’t own your own boat, join father-son duo Blake and Jim West of Early Bird Charters who are leading the way in local sustainable fishing, using only hook and line to reel in catches. Call Early Bird Charters at 516-6498 to book.
16. Beach It!
Of course, we couldn’t tell you to submerse yourself this summer without including ways to enjoy Bermuda’s beaches. Every local has their own favoured sandy shore but this summer, get acquainted with a beach you don’t typically venture to. Whether it be beaching it basic with nothing more than the bare essentials at Horseshoe Bay or beaching it solo on the pristine and secluded sands at Cooper’s Island Nature Reserve, you really can’t go wrong.
17. Go Local at Tobacco Bay
Jaunt down to the east end to enjoy the natural beauty and abundant happenings at Tobacco Bay. With its unique rock formations that protect the beach from large waves and rough seas, Tobacco Bay is an important historical site, known for its connection to the 1775 Gunpowder Plot. Throughout the summer, the beach’s bar and restaurant are alive with local food and lively music, adding a spirited Bermudian flair to the already happening spot.
18. Ride the Ferry from Hamilton to Dockyard
Bermuda’s first ferries were simple: one guy in a rowboat. Today’s ferries are a little more sophisticated and a lot faster, transporting thousands of locals and visitors to and from on-island destinations every day. Sure, every local has boarded a ferry plenty of times but the views of the island from the water are good enough to be enjoyed time and time again.
19. Reach New Heights on a Parasailing Tour
Appreciate Bermuda from new heights while strapped into the harness of a parasail. Pass over Bermuda’s pink beaches, rocky shores and deep blue waters in a trip designed for the young and courageous. Don’t forget to bring your camera; the photo opportunities from this height are unparalleled. For a sky-high tour of the west end, contact K.S. Watersports. They have sent more than 25,000 adventurers aloft! Visit KS Watersports at www.kswatersports.com to book.
20. Watch the Sunset at Whale Bay
Watching the sunset waterside with a lover is a scene synonymous with summer. The dreamiest setting is Whale Bay in Southampton. When the tide is low, burrow your feet in the sand and watch the sun set from the pink sandy beach. When the tide rolls in, take your romantic evening to the surrounding lawn or even to the remnants of the small fort nearby, Whale Bay Fort and Battery.
21. Take Up Kiteboarding
When the winds pick up, kiteboarders dart along Bermuda’s shores with their coloured kites responsible for zipping them along at full speed. This summer, muster the gumption and try your hand at this extreme watersport. Sure, kiteboarding requires focus and physical strength, but with concentrated instructional training from Island Winds in Bermuda, almost anyone can meet the standards required to enjoy the wet sport. The best part? The feeling of flying high above the surf is incomparable. Visit www.islandwindsbermuda.com for more information.
22. Play Tourist on a Catamaran Tour
With a highly competent sea captain in command who is well versed in Bermuda lore, there’s no real equal to setting sail aboard a catamaran and taking in Bermuda the way our visitors do.
More than just a tour of Bermuda’s idyllic spots, the tour offered by captain Steve Smith on Rising Son II (ranked number one boat tour in Bermuda on TripAdvisor!) is an all-encompassing experience of what it is to be a part of Bermuda, offering up plenty of locally flavoured commentary and generous helpings of rum swizzle. Departing from Hamilton, the blue-hulled sailboat transports its passengers to unspoiled locations like Great Bay for an afternoon of cliff jumping, snorkeling, stand-up paddle boarding and kayaking. Often overlooked by locals, joining a tour of Bermuda by water and seeing our island through visitors’ eyes may just foster a new-found appreciation for the place we call home. Visit Island Tour Centre at www.islandtourcentre.com to book.
23. Party in Paradise Lake
Coolers of swizzle, people clad in bathing suits and plenty of good music: it isn’t officially summertime unless you’re partying on a boat in Paradise Lake. Indeed, venturing out to the lake in the heat of summer is serious business: one must never leave land without plenty of sunscreen, a great group of friends and, of course, an ample supply of flotation devices for when things get really rowdy.
24. Learn Something at the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute
Bring the whole family to BUEI to visit the latest instalment, the Bermuda Triangle: Unlock the Secrets exhibit. This interactive experience is complete with a 3D hurricane hologram, shipwreck simulation and games that help decipher myth from reality. Where better to uncover the mysteries and truths of the Bermuda Triangle than on the very island it was named after? Just one of the many exhibits on display at the BUEI, you can also celebrate Bermuda’s past involvement with the America’s Cup with the Built to Win exhibit. The interactive exhibit opened in April 2016 and perfectly showcases the technology and history of America’s Cup, even displaying pieces from the first-ever race in 1851. Visit www.buei.bm for more information.
25. See the Glowworms
On the third night after a full moon, precisely 56 minutes after sunset, the uneventful life of a female glowworm starts to get exciting. She springs up from her home on the ocean floor and heads for the surface of the water, where she radiates an amazing green light to attract her mate. Take your kids to watch the glowworms one summer evening; the magic and splendour are unforgettable—even for adults. The best places? Ferry Reach Park, Flatts Inlet and Shelly Bay. Those who wish to see the glowworms by boat can venture out with either BAMZ or BUEI, both of whom run seasonal glowworm cruises throughout the summer months.
26. Watch the Round the Island Powerboat Race
For the thrill-seekers among us, the annual Round the Island Power Boat Race is an unparalleled event that all enjoy, whether participant or spectator. It is common for locals to pull up along Ferry Reach, bring out their barbecues, mix a cocktail and wait for the winners to cross the finish line. This summer, claim your own waterside spot and watch the action up close.
27. Dive for Mussels
Mussels (Acra zebra) are in bountiful supply in Bermuda, particularly in the Harrington Sound area. The brown and white striped shell houses the mollusc, which is the principal ingredient in traditional Bermuda mussel pie. Although it is legal to dive for mussels recreationally (selling is illegal without a permit), mussels must be obtained without use of SCUBA gear—free diving only! This summer, go out and collect your own mussels and cook a traditional mussel pie for your loved ones. For more information about mussel diving, contact the Bermuda government’s Department of Conservation Services, 236-4201.
28. Spear a Lionfish
By now the whole island is aware of the Eat ‘Em to Beat ‘Em campaign, initiated by the Bermuda Lionfish Task Force, urging locals to take up permit and spear and annihilate the local lionfish, an invasive species threatening our ecosystem. This summer, support the Bermuda Lionfish Task Force and our marine life and obtain the special permit to hunt lionfish. The permit allows its user to hunt the spiny pest in situations usually prohibited under law which include hunting while using SCUBA, hunting within one mile of shore and on wrecks and other prohibited sites. To learn more about the Bermuda Lionfish Culling Programme and how to obtain a permit, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
29. Take a Class at the National Sports Centre Aquatics Facility
The pool at the National Sports Centre Aquatics Facility is the perfect place to stay fit this summer. Partake in a water polo training session, feel the burn with water aerobics or aqua fitness, simply swim laps in the eight-lane, fifty-metre pool, or use the diving tower and springboards to pull off some impressive moves; it really doesn’t matter how you choose to use the facility—just that you do. Visit the National Sports Centre Aquatics Facility at www.bermudanationalsportscentre.com for
30. Dine Waterside
Hot summer nights are best spent with a lover enjoying a meal at the water’s edge. Bermuda’s best waterside restaurants include The Waterlot Inn (238-8000) situated on Riddell’s Bay in Southampton—go on Saturday night when the live entertainment adds to the already delightful ambiance. The Lido Complex at Elbow Beach hosts two spectacular restaurants, Sea Breeze (232-3999) and Lido (236-9884), both with great food and phenomenal views. Coconuts at The Reefs (238-0222) is the ultimate getaway, the place to go when you wish to be transported. Situated on a roofed deck built into the cliff face of the hotel property, Coconuts literally overlooks the Atlantic Ocean. Breezes at Cambridge Beaches (234-0331) has old-Bermuda charm and always seems to be doused in sunshine. Of course, if you’re looking for low-key ambiance, you can take a picnic to Horseshoe Bay and find a spot on the beach close enough to the shore so that your toes catch the waves every so often.
31. Explore the Ocean Floor through Helmet Diving
Perhaps one of the most interesting ways to see Bermuda underwater is through the window of a dive helmet. Much less complicated than SCUBA, you don’t need certification to journey to Bermuda’s depths. There’s no need to surface for air, and you’re able to get closer to fish than you could with a mask and snorkel. Join Greg Hartley, whose father invented the Hartley Diving Helmet, for an afternoon of close encounters with fish who are so used to the diving boat’s arrival, they allow you to hold and pet them. Even better, Hartley will take your photograph underwater, so you’ll have proof of your descent. Visit www.hartleybermuda.com to book.
32. Kiss a Dolphin at Dolphin Quest
You don’t have to be particularly young to enjoy the dolphins at Dolphin Quest; the young-at-heart are welcome, too. Frolicking in a pool at the National Museum of Bermuda in Dockyard, the resident dolphins, Ely and Bailey and the rest of the dolphin family, kiss, swim and play with visitors. This summer, take the kids and experience first-hand this safe, informative dolphin encounter. It is the perfect opportunity to get close to some of the friendliest, most intelligent creatures in the ocean. Visit www.dolphinquest.com/bermuda for more information.
33. See the Big Blue from Up Above
Sometimes it takes seeing the ocean from a different perspective to garner a new-found appreciation. Take flight with Blue Sky Flights and tour the island from above, taking in the constellation of the reefs, our dazzling beaches and famous wrecks. A number of different tours are available, all of which are extraordinary and play to different tastes and preferences. No matter which you choose, seeing the island from the clouds is an unbeatable experience and one that will take your breath away. Don’t forget your camera; you’ll want to document the vistas and views along the way. Visit www.blueskybermuda.com for more information and to book.
34. Go Line Fishing Off the Rocks
Fishing off the rocks is simply Bermudian. Most locals grew up taking pride in the special spot they shared with their fishing buddy, reeling in their catch and throwing most back (a squirrel fish, again!). This summer, take someone you know line fishing off the rocks—the experience never gets old.
35. Watch the Dinghy Races & Catch a Capsizing
Bermuda fitted dinghy racing is a tradition that has endured for centuries. It can get dramatic, as the crews throw themselves overboard to either lighten the vessel’s load or help push the boat forward. This is legitimate—rules allow a boat to cross the finish line with fewer crew members than when it started.