Sunlit reefs, vibrantly colored fishes, prowling sharks, accessible wrecks: These easy- to- get- to locales have it all
Southwest Reef New Providence Island, Bahamas
Take your camera for this series of patch reefs — 25 feet at its deepest — that are covered in finger sponges, anemones, star corals and sea fans. Although there’s always the chance of seeing big stuff — namely nurse sharks and hawksbill turtles — this site is more about smaller finds, including lettuce sea slugs and channel clinging crabs.
Calvin’s Crack Roatan, Honduras
Named for the 10-foot-wide cleft in the reef — starting in about 20 feet of water — that takes divers to the wall’s edge at about 85 feet, Calvin’s Crack is a beautifully coral- and gorgonian-decorated tunnel. When divers wind back to the top of the wall, odds are high for encountering seahorses, toadfish, lobsters and a host of crabs.
Many ships have come to grief on Bermuda’s shallow reefs, but Hermes, one of the island’s most intact wrecks, is not one of them — it was purpose-sunk in 1985. This 165-foot former U. S. Coast Guard buoy tender now sits just 1 mile from shore in 80 feet of water, with its wheelhouse at just 45 feet. The location features average visibility of 100 feet or greater, and it’s a habitat for sergeant majors, damselfish and barracuda.
Black Coral Wall Turneffe Atoll, Belize
Try not to be distracted by the beefy nurse sharks and