Helmet Diving

A different, less technical type of diving popular in Bermuda is helmet diving, offered between April and mid-November. Although helmet-diving cruises last three hours or more, the actual time underwater is about 25 minutes, when underwater explorers walk along the sandy bottom in about 10 to 12 feet of water (depending on the tide), wearing helmets that receive air through hoses leading to the surface. Underwater portraits are available for an extra charge. A morning or afternoon tour includes wet suits when the water temperature is below 80°F.

Hartley's Under Sea Adventures. The Hartleys schedule two diving trips per day, usually at 9 am and 1:30 pm during high season. Nondivers (who pay about half of what helmet divers do) are not allowed to snorkel or swim in the same area as the divers, the theory being that fish that are used to helmet divers and approach them may endanger themselves by becoming used to snorkelers, swimmers, and eventually fisherfolk. Underwater tours typically last between 30 and 40 minutes in a maximum depth of 8 to 12 feet. Heritage Wharf, at cruise ship terminal, Sandys Parish, MA16. 441/234–3535; www.hartleybermuda.com. $108 per diver; $50 per rider.