Bermuda Impressions


Overall we spent six weeks in Bermuda and will take with us fond memories of this gem.  We were focused on racing and didn’t get to explore everything we could have.  Even so, we got a decent feel for the place.  







One big impression was the friendliness of the people.  Our first walk off the dinghy dock we were greeting with a warm hello from this lady with a backpack and it just kept coming, along with a sincere “welcome to Bermuda!”.  My first stop in a telecom store to get a chip cutter resulted in the man spending 10 minutes to chat and cut my chip for me with his tools rather than buy a kit.  





Similar situations happened regularly.  The friendly guy on the street giving restaurant recommendations.  The fuel guy talking about their national holiday and saying how the locals were mixed about the Cup wishing such government money could be spent on the populace.






Local volunteers and linesmen for the races would often stop by to chat.  


Clark and Michelle would offer them cold drinks.  


Gaelen even swung by with his kids later at anchor to say hello and have a swim with us.







This is something we very much appreciate and do not take for granted.  We try to always stay well aware of our position as visitors.  Bermuda and the Bahamas are one of the few similar places that are extra friendly and open to meeting us travelers.  


In other countries, we’ve experienced locals in the throes of touristic burnout to long-standing, institutionalized bias against Americans.  This is not always predominant, yet is an important learning experience about humanity to find yourself in a disadvantaged position in a foreign country, especially where your primary language isn't spoken.  




Over the years we are getting better and better at spending time in areas we like to get to know a place.  


Bermuda is no exception, but we realize that it feels different just being here.  



This is due to sitting hundreds and hundreds of miles away from any other land mass!  



There is no day sail to the next island, nor even an overnight (or two) sail for that matter.  


I’ve never gotten "rock-fever” since we have our sails to take us to the next place, but being out here makes me imagine that it could happen.





Forts dot the shorelines and shipwrecks are a big part of the history of the island.  There are over 60 forts all over the island owing to its strategic location for Britain after the Revolutionary War.  





Few if any of the forts had to be used for defense… the north reefs did a good job of that for any ships approaching.  A tall ship visit earlier in the month gave us a feel for what it might have looked like back then.


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During the most crowded boating event anticipated in Bermuda, we could always find a beautiful anchorage.  There were even relatively secluded side-bays in both Hamilton and St. George’s.  During heavy weekend traffic the crowds were still relatively small and having good natured fun without being obnoxious (e.g., no waking nor super loud music).  






We explored Castle Bay by dinghy and it appeared to be a viable anchorage if you pay attention to weather.  









This was one of the places we visited to snorkel.  The water was warm and clear if you went at the right time, cloudy if not.  



This is the first time I saw the  blue angelfish (aka Bermuda angelfish), similar to the queen with brilliant colorings.  






There were plenty of cute hamlets, parrotfish and puddingwife and the native Bermuda bream, a type of porgy.  


Barred hamlet



Blue parrotfish



Puddingwife



Bermuda bream



I was very excited to find a new tunicate about 1/2 inch in size.  It is probably a variant of the painted tunicate that has purple colored rings.  Tunicates intrigue the hell out of me.  They are invertebrates that have nervous, digestive, reproductive and circulatory systems.  They come in all shapes and sizes, often colonizing into a new shape.  They are one of the most abundant marine animals but can be hard to recognize.  The siphons will contract if gently disturbed unlike a sponge.







Despite being one of the most densely populated countries, it doesn’t feel crowded and nature is everywhere.  It is also clearly an affluent country due to a vibrant business presence in banking and insurance.






Driving through the interior we noticed any open space was being farmed (similar to Guatemala, another dense country). We learned that these are private lands that are restricted from over-building, so the owners rent the lands to the farmers of the island.  These famers are predominantly Portuguese immigrants who settled here.  This interior almost resembled a quaint British countryside.  Colorful houses, trees and flowers add a Caribbean flavor and brighten every vista.





We didn’t have time to do much birding, but cool birds hide out in the Bermuda cedars and white-tailed tropic birds are overhead at all times.  Many of the songbirds were brought here as pets and released, including the cardinal, european goldfinch, and even crows.  Kiskadees were brought from Jamaica to help with the lizard population.  The osprey’s resurgence has made its way even here.  







Dining out for lunch was a regular pastime and a good way to enjoy the towns.  We had provisioned so well that this was one of the only expenses that we had in Bermuda… thank goodness!  In coming here we knew that the prices were high on this rock.  


A typical lunch would cost $50/couple without drinks ($20 sandwiches not uncommon) and $80/couple with drinks (>$10 drinks the norm).  The food was often very good and we even treated ourselves to dining at a Marcus restaurant at the impressive Hamilton Princess Hotel.  The artwork in this hotel was better than most museums we visit!




What else can I say about Bermuda…?  


How’s the weather?  Bermuda has the most PERFECT temperate conditions we’ve ever experienced.  Sunny days get moderately warm in the low 80’s F.  Nights cool off comfortably in the low 70’s.  Humidity is generally low until fronts pile up some moisture.  There are NO bugs to speak of!!  We anchor yards off of an island and sit out at dusk sipping cocktails.


It is touristy? A wee bit.  There are shopping districts for the cruise ships or an occasional shopping fix.  Price premiums apply.  Cruise ships were in port often but the streets never seemed crowded.  


Do I recommend it as a destination?  Yes!  Many cruisers stop here for respite on the way to and from the Caribbean or between the States and Europe.  In this case, I would plan to stay and enjoy for a while, if possible.  


Would I come back?  Definitely!  We’re not sure if we’d sail Reach here since we are heading in the opposite direction this year.  There are so many new places to see… however we’d jump at another opportunity if presented.


© M&M 2016