Expect fun in Bermuda
Helmet Divers meet 20-30 minutes before departure, on dive tour boat Rainbow Runner to check in, hand in their
Waiver/medical form, and pay, if they have not pre-paid. There is a 25 minute briefing, while underway to the reef.
Latest Google image, with boat at reef. Divers are seated inside, out of the elements.
We pick up our mooring ropes and position the boat bow into the wind, with the stern at our sandy diving area (8-12 foot depth). The trip is 3-4 hours depending on how many dives we have. In 2016 we had only 1 trip that had four dives, many trips had three dives, most trips only had two dives, and too many times we went out with only one dive. Each dive other than the one you are on adds about 40 minutes to the tour length. You and another, walk down the ladder till the water reaches your shoulders.
Our attentive crew places the custom built Hartley diving helmet on your shoulders, and down we go. To equalize your ears, if wiggling your jaw is not sufficient, simply reach up in your helmet, hold your nose, and blow gently to clear your ears. Once on the bottom, whatever feelings of anxiety you had disappear as you realize: Yes! This is as easy as they said; I am doing this! No problem. Hey! This really is fun in Bermuda.
Using a message baton I first identify some of the living creatures. Then, after the sediment drifts away, while you are kneeling on the sand I take photos and videos. All with fish in the photo, some with you actually holding fish, like Herb the hind. Then we stand and walk to the first kneeling down spot. More life is identified and passed around. Then we will stand and walk and kneel at a couple more stops to demonstrate the breathing of the sponge, and the feeding of the corals. The Hartley helmet dive is special because we feed, make friends with, and handle the fish. After one last fondle with the fish, perhaps George the blue stripped grunt the 30-40 minute dive is over. Once the dives are all completed we cast off our floating mooring ropes and make the 25 minute journey back to dangerous land. There folks either walk back to their ship, or take a bus or ferry to Hamilton, south shore, or wherever they are staying. If you need a taxi, let us know at the beginning of the last dive, so we can call ahead of time and have it waiting. We have a fresh water shower, so divers leave dry, fresh and invigorated by their accomplishment and discovery.
Checking in by the moon gate, Heritage Wharf, Dockyard
Dive vessel Rainbow Runner is usually at the dock adjacent to Heritage Wharf, up in Dockyard, 30 minutes before the departure time. Divers are invited to scramble aboard thus proving their proficiency in the ability to walk (Usually a requirement, though amputees and...
The Dive Briefing
During the briefing I explain how the helmet works like a glass held up side down in water. As long as the open end is held downward, the air is trapped underneath. This is similar but opposite to how a drink is trapped in a glass held right side up. The helmet has...
Our reef is less than two miles from shore. It is half way between land and the outer barrier of reefs that surround the island. This means it is calmer and we never get ocean swells. The flip side is that the water is not as clear as it is out on the edge. Click...
What Happens on a Dive
You and another, walk down the ladder till the water reaches your shoulders. Our attentive crew places the helmet on your shoulders, and down we go. If the wiggling of the jaw does not work, then simply reach up in your helmet, hold your nose, and blow gently to clear...