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F.A.Q. Bermuda
If your question is not here, or elsewhere on this undersea walk site, use the bookings page to email it to me, and you may see it here later.

Comensal anemonies in Bermuda Q. How much is it?
A. Our 2013 prices are $95 per diver. Riders are half price and can look through the glass bottom. Undersea portraits are $15 per person, plus a $10 charge for the CD. We do not do prints. One usually gets over twice as many photos as there are people. Two people will get at least one shot per person and three of them together ($15+$15+$10=$40). We accept travelers cheques, MasterCard, Visa, American Express, Diners Club, eldest child and... oh yes cash. (Eldest child must be Bermudian, and able to lift diving helmets as crew.. otherwise keep child and we will take the cash instead). Do not change your US dollars into Bermudian dollars, as the US dollar is accepted island wide and is considered equal (by us). Some banks charge you a foreign exchange fee when you use your US card here, so yo save by using cash.

Senior helmet diving in Bermuda Q. Are there any age or fitness requirements?
A. It is best if kids are at least five years old. They then have an attention span that will last the 25-30 minute dive. They will also get much more out of the dive because they can read the message stick and know that the pretty blue one is an angelfish, and the one with the big nose is a hogfish. Kids are less likely to back out if they can reason that, if the first dive came back up smiling and with all their feet and fingers intact, then they can do it iven if they are a bit scared, and I have never done this before. Some adults have problems making this cognitive leap. There is no upper age limit really. If you are fit enough to get out walk up one flight of steps without wheezing and clutching your chest, then you pass the fitness test. Those with diagnosed heart and respiratory conditions must have written consent from a doctor.

Q Are contact lenses and glasses OK?
A. Yes! Your head is totally dry.

Q. Should I bring my clear prescription glasses?
A. Yes. More light brings out colours better, butt is never so bright that you would need sunglasses underwater. Some wear sunglasses for the Joe Cool or Jacquie O look. I often put people's glasses on their heads for their photo, so you do not get white spots from the flash.

Chris Hartley helmet diving with cat Q. How long is the trip?
A. The ride to the reef is about 30 minutes and each dive is about 25 to 30 minutes, and then the ride back. If we are fully booked with four dives, as we can be mid week in July and August, then the trip can be up to 31/2 or even 4 hours.

Q. Can I book on the Nassau trip?
A. Chris is presently conducting small tours.His site is www.underseawalk.com .

Q. Should I bring my snorkel gear?
A. It is not necessary. You will see enough to satisfy your quest for the undersea. At the moment our fish associate food with the goldenheaded divers. They will get killed by spearfishers if they associate food with the rubber footed divers. Most carnivores would love to kill Charles the Hogfish(Charles III Speared 2003), Stormin Norman or Oliver the Snapper (Died of old age2005), Barry the Black Grouper(Disappeared 1992),Herb the Hind or Graham the Grasby.

Sandy Hartley Bermudal Q. Do I need shoes?
A. No foot protection is necessary. Divers are encouraged to go bare foot as this is supposed to be a sensory experience (sand between your toes, wind in your hair etc.). Bermuda has no stingrays or blue crabs and never has the even most tenderfooted diver ever cut themselves on the sand. Severe diabetics can wear foot protection if they wish. Socks are best.

Q. Are there any sharks?
A. I wish! There has been a world wide decline in the shark population due to over fishing and a lack of food for them as well as their senseless murder for their fins and cancer cures. In my 40 years of helmet diving in Bermuda I have never seen a shark. No! I did not just close my eyes. We are not invading any shark's territory as we have been diving on the same site since 1984. There are no gallons of blood and guts being poured overboard as on TV shark programs to lure them to our area. We have seen the odd barracuda which we point at excitedly until the embarrassment of being seen sends him on his way. They are no threat to helmet divers anyway.We can't give you sharks but we have seen shark suckers or remoras. Click here to seeYouTube of Hartleys helmet diving with a friendly shark sucker in Nassau.

Handicaped helmet diver Bermuda Q. Are there lockers for valuables?
A. Lockers are not required as we are all on the same boat. I threaten to frisk everyone if anything goes missing but I have not had the opportunity to make good on the threat. The bulk of your cash should be in the hotel safe and watches and cameras are easily identifiable, so no one would take them.

Q. Is this suitable for individuals with 'special needs'?
A. Folks with Downs Syndrome, MS, amputees, visually impaired, (deaf people are at an advantage so they are not in the discussion here), mentally challenged, and even 'normal' have all participated with ease. Anxieties and mental baggage are most likely to give divers trouble. People with the previously mentioned issues have had so many real difficulties, that they are unlikely to allow self conceived anxieties to stop them. The fellow in the photo opposite was one of six similar individuals a cruise ship sent without warning or notice. I had to split them up to go on separate dives, as each of them needed to be watched and attended without distraction, which would not have been possible if they were all on the same dive. Check out the fellow with the broom stick three photos down.

Hogfish in Bermuda Q. Can we go swimming while others dive?
A. You can deduce from the fourth question from the top about snorkelling that we prefer not. We have quite a few fish we have known for several years. All of them are non-toxic. This is a term I use to avoid saying that they are 'good eating'. Oliver was over twenty years old and this is a testament to the wisdom and suspicion gained by his years. At the moment the fish associate the vertical walking creatures with the gold heads as friends and providers of food. If we allow swimming and snorkeling while we are diving, it will blur the distinction between the good and bad guys. I have lost several hogfish and a couple of groupers over the years to spearfishers, as it is difficult for them to differentiate between benign snorkelers, and deadly spearers. Other tours do not have the kind of fish we do. If you throw food casually, as you would throw bread in the park, you will get a certain type of agressive creature: pigeons,sparrows, chub or breams depending on the environment rtaking over the show. Therefore, we do not encourage them to participate. Breams are only palatable if eaten with lots of ketchup. They might know this as they are not too wary of helmet divers or spearers. They will totally take over a dive area, if fed, and the pretty angelfish and butterfly fish will retreat. With your 25-30 minute dive, complete with hands-on contact with the fish and creatures, you should have your fill. Armed with the info learned on our trip, you can rent a small boat with snorkel equipment, and go on your personal adventure. The fish will not be as tame as at our site, or look at you as friends, but it will be your adventure.

Helmet diver in Bermuda with one leg Q. I have heard it could be a long time waiting for others to have their dive. Is this true ? What do I do?
A. The only criticism that can be rarely pinned on us is that the wait can be long if we are fully booked (Mainly July and August, mid-week). We take 6 or 7 divers down at a time. A boat load of twenty divers means three dives where you have to wait for only two others to be completed. This is perfect as the time flies quickly. Having to wait for three other dives is OK, but a full boat of 28 people can seem long time, especially if there are lots of exuberant kids on board. July-August is our busy time when the kids are out of school. They demand their parents take them on that undersea walk thing, regardless of family finances. We can not turn them away because folks stay on the island for such a short time and 'When the sun is shining you must make hay'. The wait is shorter than some lines at Disney World during the holidays. If you can pick and choose the time you visit Bermuda, then come the week after Labour Day. Parents are getting their kids back in school and business drops right off. It is a good time to join us as the water is still warm and the wind still mainly southerly. The other option is to contact us in advance and ask when we think (according to past bookings), will be a relatively slow time of the week. Fridays can be slow when all the ships have left. We often do not go out on Friday unless the other days are overflowing. Some people (Who view time as more valuable than money) have rented a small boat, which we tow behind us to the reef. We stick them on the first dive and then they take off on their own after that. I think a perfect trip size is three dives, but we can only take people when they call and tell us when they want to go. One option is to make the dives shorter which I am loathed to do. This is a tour where you are given personal attention. I can not dismiss a diver, who is having difficulty on the ladder, knowing they are so close to overcomming their fears and can so easily have a great time. Even when fully booked, our tour offers great value for the time and money spent. There is a glass bottom, fish books and other books to peruse. Or perhaps you could view it as quality time with your spouse, child etc without the pressure of having to do something else or be somewhere else. Think about it...Why are you on holiday?

Happy helmet diver on Hartley's Undersea Walk, Bermuda Q. Can my spouse go on a separate dive so we can take turns looking after our infant?
A. No Problem. Often when there are other families, very small children, can be distracted by feeding the fish and playing with other children, so parents and older children can go down together. I can be called at any time to bring up a parent to console a noisy child. It has not been required yet. Kids often behave differently when parents are not looking.

Q. What will I see through the glass bottom?
A. Not much compared to what will be right in front of your face wearing your Hartley diving helmet. Riders looking through the glass bottom do ooh and ahh and claim they saw lots of stuff that they are happy. Probably because they were not pressured to go outside of their comfort zone.

Q. Do the fish bite?
A. Well yes, and no! I dish out the food so I do suffer the occasional bite from Leroy. The snappers are not interested in biting you, as they must swallow food whole, and can not nibble.

Q. Can I dive if I have asthma?
A. It is mainly a problem if your asthma is very severe. If you use your inhaler daily, and never leave home without it, then this is not for you. I have other recomendations on how to reduce inflammation. Scuba diving is not recommended for lung scarred asthmatics where decompression from deep dives is required. If in doubt, see the PRINT, FILL OUT AND BRING THIS FORM, and check with your doctor.

Large helmet diver in Bermuda Q. Can I dive when pregnant?
A. This is a personal decision, like 'should I cross the road' or 'should I go up in a plane'. The second trimester is the safest. Our dive is less stressful than holding your breath and momentarily swimming to the bottom of a pool.
Q. I am very large, will the helmet hold me on the bottom?
A. We have different sized helmets, as not all people are created equal. We give larger divers weight belts if necessary. Note the belt and the extra air hose in the photo on the left of the larger diver.

Q. I am very thin/small will the helmet be too heavy?
A. No. We have floats to put on the helmets to make them lighter as well as small helmets for children.

Q. I went diving years ago in Flatts Village. Is it the same operation?
A. No. My father started his Flatts operation years ago but sold it to his crew a few years back to retire. Paul Pike renamed it Bermuda Bell Diving. He has since retired for medical reasons.

Fantastic shore tour in Bermuda Q. Will I get sea sick?
A. We dive just over a mile from shore to avoid the sediment near the coast. We do not go right out the edge by the reef line, where the water is the clearest, because the ocean swells can make people ill. We tie the boat by the bow and the stern and point the bow into the wind, and the surrounding reefs suppress the waves, so we are fine even if the wind is fairly strong. You may call us to confirm that the weather is good. We still go if it is cloudy or rainy. Only strong winds, especially out of the north, force us to cancel.

Q. Do I need to make reservations?
A. Yes please. Call us toll-free at 866-836 3989 when you are ready to make it happen. This is especially important if your stay is short, it is high season, or if we are not having daily trips, during the beginning or end of the season. There is only me to take you to see our finny friends. There are only so many days in a week, and the boat does have a capacity, so space is limited. If you call during the day you will probably get my wife or the answering machine if she is on the road. If you call after 5pm EST but before 9pm EST (10pm Bermuda Time) you may get me. We are an hour later than the east coast. Please, DO NOT wake us up in the middle of the night, to tell us you thought an answering machine would take the call. We have children, so we do answer calls in the night.

Weird fish in Bermuda Q. Do I have to bring a towel?
A. Yes please, and your bathing suit. If you wear your bathing suit, then bring dry underclothes, so you can have a rinse and change into dry clothes, after your dive.

Q. How do I get back?
A. You can take a bus, bike, ferry or taxi. We can use the cell phone to call one and have it waiting upon our return.

Q. Can I fly on the same day I dive?
A. We do not dive deep enough for such problems. Book early and do not leave our adventure for the last day. It takes nerves to take off on a boat when you are supposed to be at the airport later the same day.


What's Underwater     Departure Point & Procedures     Schedule     Prices & Booking     F.A.Q.     Cruise To Bermuda     Transportation     History     Testimonials     Boat Info     Undersea Poetry     Bermuda Maps     Links     Invertebrates     PRINT, FILL OUT AND BRING THIS FORM