Underwater Exploration Institute is one of the must visit attractions on the island; their focus is on education and appreciation of the under water world which surrounds Bermuda. The diversity of sea life contained off Bermuda’s shores is remarkable. Bermuda exists because of an old volcano – the land on the island is a limestone cap covering the original lava from the volcano. The drop off is precipitous around the island – down several miles to the floor of the ocean. As a result there is a wide array of sea life ranging from the most diversity within 50 feet of water around the coral beds all the way down thousands of feet to the giant tube worms and giant squid.
The Jack Lightbourn Shell Collection is on exhibit; this is one of the world’s largest and best shell collections. Jack has collected shells world wide for many years – one room contains over 1,200 shells. And this is only a quarter of his entire collection! Highlights here include colorful and intricate shells, the Coxcomb Oyster shells (in part providing the inspiration for the shape of the Sydney Opera House) and the first shell in Jack’s collection.
Because of Bermuda’s location and its treacherous reefs there have been many shipwrecks on the island. The “treasure room” contains some of the “bounty” that has been recovered from these wrecks including gold and silver coins, bottles dating back several hundred years and items from specific ship wrecks.
Seasonal highlights offered through the Institute include whale watching and their popular “evening glow worm tours” taking in the light produced from bio-luminescent fire-worms which swim near the surface of the ocean. Visit: www.buei.org