Happy Bermuda Day!

Published: August 2nd 2013
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BERMUDA - Delays & Frustrations...

Having arrived in Bermuda with a suspected broken forestay we were in need of a full assessment of its strength and some spare parts. We anchored in St Georges at the east of the island and having enjoyed abuse from dressing down from the irate Custom’s Officer and finally found a good hold for the anchor.

The first thing that strikes one in Bermuda is the cleanliness and neatness of the island. One is back in the first world and oh my and the prices first worldly! Everything has been imported to the island – even the most basic necessities. Nothing is actually made in Bermuda – shipping and re-insurance are big business. There is however a huge disparity between the rich and poor; and the poorer end of the spectrum have to hold down a number of jobs to make ends meet. Gun crime is twice that of the United States (per capita) and urban violence is rife in the poorer suburbs. This seems inconceivable as it is set against a backdrop of such obvious affluence.

The attitude of workers rings of an air of indifference and, if our rigger was anything to go by, nothing is to be rushed. Things take time and there is nothing that can be done about it. Steve might well have been played by Jeff Bridges in the same style as he played “The Dude” in The Big Lebowski – mid-Atlantic drawl and clearly a little too much of the herb! Trying to inject urgency into him was an uphill struggle “it takes as long as it takes, man...”

In the context of the challenges in getting speedy repairs undertaken it seemed that the most sensible thing was to embrace this slower pace of life and explore this fascinating island. There are some amazing beaches, historic castles, port and arsenals that Alex was keen to explain to the boys and served by a first-rate transport network; it was easy to get about. The boys wrote up their various visits.

PORTUGUESE ROCK - shipwrecked...

Historians believe Portuguese castaways from a wrecked slave ship carved RP 1543 into a cliff face on Bermuda’s south shore. The accounts describe 32 men making it ashore where they lived for 60 days on sea turtles, prickly pears, cedar berries and seabirds.

If I was a Portuguese sailor this might be my story.

We found this fruit, it was very sour but ok to eat. We called in prickly pear because it has spikes on the outside and they don’t poison you.

We were really hungry so we saw some turtles so we made a spear and one of us jumped into the water and stabbed it through the shell. We carried it onto the beach, cut its fins off, took its shell off and then cooked it on the fire and then we ate it. It tasted like seafood.

We saw a ship on the horizon we lit 5 signal fires but they would not come to us. I do not know why it didn’t come. Finally after we had been on the island for 60 days we saw another ship. So we lit 10 signal fires. The ship looked familiar. It had a Portuguese flag and they came to us and set the sails, to go back home. We were saved.

The End


West Indian Sea Egg

The largest sea urchin in the area, it is 15cm.

Nurse Shark

The nurse shark has a small mouth with a bar-bel extending from below each nostril, it has two fairly close set dorsal fins that are nearly equal size.

Yellow Sting Ray

These species has almost a round disk up to 76 cm (2ft, 6 in) across and a fairly short tail.

Green Moray Eel

This is the largest moray in the region reaching a length of 1.8m (6ft) it is a uniform olive and green in colour.

Green Barracuda

Ciguatera – you can only eat a barracuda if it is smaller than the length of your arm.



A few days ago Mummy, Samuel, Bertie and I went to the Under Water Exploration Museum. We had to get a bus into Hamilton, the capital city and walked from there, it only took five minutes. As we arrived we ate sandwiches but I unfortunately had a nose bleed, so I didn’t have time to eat my sandwich. As we went in a huge giant squid was hanging from the ceiling, it lives about 4,000 feet down and mainly lives in the Pacific but has been seen in Bermuda. We saw a suit that looked like a space suit but it is modern equipment for divers that went to observe creatures of the deep and it is called Jim and will reach up to 2,000 ft under water. In 1690 Sir Edmund Hally invented a piece of dive kit called the Dive Bell, which could only stay in for 9 minutes at a time. Inside the next room had a tank of lionfish which Mummy and I have swam with before. It said that a female can lay up to 2 million eggs per year. As well as they spread by current and can live in up to a foot of water or up to 1,000 feet. It is believed that they were introduced in the 1980’s, they also eat mostly parrot fish and other herbivores and have venomous spines.

The next room was about Bermuda and the Titanic. The Titanic sank in 1912 on April 14th and at 02.20 it eventually sank. The two parts of the Titanic are roughly 1800m away.

Cristobel Colon was 500ft and weighing 10,600 and it’s the largest ship to be wrecked in Bermuda.

There are quite a few wrecks in Bermuda, but the most important is San Pedro. It was a sailing boat from Cartagena in Colombia and on the way to Cardiz in Spain. It wrecked on the reefs off Bermuda in November 1595 in approx 25ft of water. In 1955, Teddy Tucker discovered in a sand hole artefacts, including a spectacular emerald and gold cross. At that time the cross was considered the most valuable artefact ever found in the western hemisphere and in 1963 the entire collection was sold to the Bermuda government. In 1975 Teddy Tucker was asked to show the cross to Queen Elizabeth the second and just before she arrived, Teddy discovered that the cross had been replaced with a plastic replica. It has never been seen again.

We then picked up a piece of paper talking about boats that have been lost in the Bermuda triangle, here are some examples:

In 1840 The Rosalie, a large French vessel was found with its sails and its cargo intact but all the men were missing.

Mary Celeste was found in 1842, abandoned near the Azores, the binnacles had been knocked over and the compass was destroyed, the sextant and ships papers were missing.

A British frigate called the Atlanta left Bermuda for England in 1880 with 290 onboard. It vanished not far off Bermuda.

The two masted John and Mary was found in 1932 but abandoned fifty miles off Bermuda with her sails furled and her hull freshly painted.

The Rubicon, a Cuban cargo freighter was found abandoned in 1944 off the coast of Florida, all items were still on board.

Then we left the museum and missed the bus so we headed to the service station and bought some sweets and got the bus back to St George.

Here are some facts about the environment and how long it takes things to decay:

Paper Towels 3-4 weeks

Cardboard 2 months

Waxed Milk Carton 3 months

Cigarette butts 1- 5 years

Plywood 1- 3 years

Tin can 50 years

Aluminium Can 80-200 years

Disposable nappy 450 years

Plastic Bottle 450 years

Monofilament fishing line 600 years

Glass bottles Undetermined

Socially we find that using the more urbane JB as the thin end of the wedge to establish himself on a very chi-chi beach lounger as though he was a resident and then we all descend around him and claim residency! Not every time could we act the parts of Messrs Caine and Martin of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels but occasionally they would pull up loungers for the scruffy misfits that should never been have been allowed to make a booking at the Elbow Beach Resort or similar establishment. Our image was not helped by Alex’s latest addition to his wardrobe in the form of a pair of shorts with a rapidly expanding hole in the groin! Classy.

We ventured into the capital, Hamilton, for Bermuda Day. No strangers to the odd carnival we were more than ready for street parties and packed into the bus we chatted with the locals – who are unrivalled in their politeness and eagerness to talk proudly of their island and customs. We watched as the smiling Bermudans explained Jumbies – white clad dancers with multi-coloured tassles who ward off evil spirits with their dancing – and the way in which locals camp out and prepare for the street carnival complete with masses of food, chilli-bins and all their garden furniture all along the pavements. True to form we found neatly lined chairs all the way along the paths of the floats and locals very generously offered to share their picnics. Despite our hunger and their delicious offerings we ate from the stalls and had a great day before finding our way into one of the top bars in Hamilton to watch the parade. JB attracted the attentions of a very attentive waiter – nothing was too much trouble – and I mean nothing!

Alex and JB very kindly assumed the role of modern-day couple and took on 24 hours of childcare to enable us to enjoy our first night away from the boat in 9 months! We found a small, pretty B&B on the opposite of the water from Hamilton and enjoyed a childless break. Heaven. I am not sure how many parents can appreciate how tough it can be spending 24 hours-a-day for 365 days-a-year with your children where you are parent and teacher all the time. We returned refreshed and almost-ready for the rest of the trip stapled at the hip to the children!

Eventually we were fully rigged again and prepared to make the crossing, fuelled and watered. Keen to avoid the punishing kinds of ocean passages we had so far experienced we made sure that we had a good understanding of how the weather would best suit us for the major part of the return to Europe. And on a calm morning we processed out and headed east around the offlying reefs and out to sea.

Additional photos below
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2nd August 2013

Hi Guys - Good to hear from you again and enjoying your blog as ever. The children have been asking when you are due back and are really keen to catch up. I am nursing a major hangover this morning - nothing changes!!! Keep safe Jackie & co

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