"The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in
its net of wonder forever."—Jacques Cousteau

July 12, 2019

July 11 - Day Five: Exploring in Bermuda (Part I)

“We wander for distraction but we travel for fulfillment” – Hilaire Belloc
The problem with only having a few days in such an amazing place like Bermuda is not having enough time to take it all in or do all the wonderful things you'd like to do. We made the best of the time we had and we took in sights from the west end all the way up to St. George and Fort St. Catherine. In fact there's just too much to report on in one blog post, so I'm cutting it into parts...part II will come later.
Our first stop...actually our first stop yesterday was Somerset Bridge. It's a small bridge connecting Somerset Island with the mainland of Bermuda. With an opening of just 22” it's said to be the world’s smallest drawbridge. The bridge is just wide enough for the mast of a well-sailed sailboat to pass through. Boats have to either have an appointment or wait for a kind passer by to help out by lifting the gate.
The original bridge dates back to 1620, and although the bridge was largely rebuilt in the mid 20th century, much of the original stonework remains. The bridge was originally raised using a hand crank, but now consists of two cantilevered half-spans made of thick timber panels. The panels can be grabbed by the sides and lifted to create a narrow gap just wide enough for the mast of a sailboat to pass through. Judging by the size of the gap, I believe it would take a lot of skill to navigate the gap without mishap.

Our next stop was Gibbs Hill Lighthouse. It was first lit on May 1, 1846. It's one of the oldest cast iron lighthouses in the world and stands on a hill 245 feet above sea level. While ships now use advanced navigation methods, the Gibbs Hill Lighthouse offers a backup method of shoreline navigation and is still appreciated by modern mariners. The light can be seen from 40 miles away and airplanes can see the light from a distance as far as 120 miles away. 
The lighthouse is 117' high and gave us a panoramic view of Bermuda and its shoreline, but to get this view we had to climb 185 steps. It was well worth our effort.
Looking north toward the Royal Naval Dockyard and our ship.
Looking west towards Southampton Parish
Looking south
There are 34 fabulous beaches in Bermuda that offer 75 miles of dramatic coastline. Some have long expanses of sand, while some are just tiny coves separated from one another by rocky cliffs, and several beaches have beautiful coral reefs surrounding them, but  the best thing about beaches in Bermuda...they all have pink sand. Some are pinker than others. The best "pretty in pink" beaches are found along the island's south shore between Horseshoe Bay Beach and Warwick Long Bay Beach.
 Warwick Long Bay Beach 
Jobson's Cove is a beautiful, secluded, small beach surrounded by cliffs and is completely separated from the sea. The perfect place for kids to play.
Stonehole Bay
Long time followers of the blog know I love to hunt for beach treasures...all kinds of treasures, but one of my favorites is sea glass. Bermuda has two glass beaches and we made it to both of them. There wasn't much variety in color, but the pieces are large and well worn. Very impressive.
What makes the sand look pink? Well here's the answer...the sand in Bermuda is not volcanic but formed from finely pulverized remains of shells and skeletons of invertebrates such as corals, clams and forams. The south shore of Bermuda is lined with coral reefs, which are home to red foraminifera that are the minuscule marine organisms behind the stunningly pink beaches. The single-celled foraminifera live in shells made of calcium carbonate with a red color. When the foraminifera die, their shells collect on the ocean floor and get washed ashore by the continuous tide. The red hue gets exposed to the sun and mixes with the sand, thus Bermuda's beaches take on their famous pink shade.
Here's a map of the places we visited and some that were on the list and we didn't have time to see while we are in Bermuda.

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