Bermuda – Tropical Island Paradise

Bermuda Island

The beauty of this United Kingdom Island in the Atlantic Ocean is beyond measure. Discovered in 1503 by Juan de Bermúdez when the 16th Century Spanish navigator sailed from Haiti, then called La Española( Spanish ) back to Spain for a provisioning voyage. Settlements began on this remote island in 1609.

Pirate ShipBermuda first was famous for its piracy. During the 1700’s, it was discovered that the island was rich with sturdy cedar trees that grew all over the island. Building and shipping naturally evolved.  Along with industry came civilization and people and of course, privateering – or in other words, piracy.

The Isle of Devils, as it was called, was a strategic location. Ships sailed from England, Spain, and France to the Caribbean and the New World in North America.

Pirate Ship-2Bermuda pirates were legendary for not only capturing merchant ships that made the misfortune of sailing into their local waters, but they also plundered all the way from North America to the Turks Islands and Bahamas. Privateering died out in the early 1800’s due to strong militaries interventions.

We visited Bermuda while sailing on Norwegian Cruise Line. Embarked from Boston Harbor, enjoyed a fun day at sea.

Bermuda Royal Naval Dockyard -1024x360Our ship docked at the Royal Naval Dockyard, in Bermuda where we spoiled ourselves with  four glorious days of the most beautiful and scenic tropical adventures we can ever recall.

During our heavenly vacation we explored the picturesque island several ways, from the Dockyard, we enjoyed a scenic ferryboat ride to the charming city of Hamilton, the capital. We sailed across the Great Sound and enjoyed a spectacular ocean view of the rich and famous’ residences. A narrated aquatic tour that was both fascinating and informative.

Catherine Zeta Jones, Michael Douglas, Bermuda House

We saw Catherine Zeta Jones and Michael Douglas’ Bermuda House

Rich Homes

Multi-billionaire’s homes

bermuda homes and boats

Beautiful Bermuda homes and boats

bermuda-open-air-trolleyWe also enjoyed learning interesting facts about the island while riding an open-air trolley. One result of the high permeability of soil and rocks is the absence of freshwater streams and lakes. There is almost no fresh water on Bermuda.

The first Bermuda houses were similar to those in England, but construction quickly adapted to indigenous materials of cedar and limestone. The strong European influence in architecture is unmistakable. The houses are painted in soft pastels with white, limestone, roofs.

Military House on BermudaA unique feature of Bermuda roofs is their role in catching and containing water. Until the 1930s, rain water provided the only source of fresh water. Water was collected on rooftops, where wedge-shaped limestone, glides, were laid to form sloping gutters on the roof’s surface, funneling rain water into vertical runners and then into storage tanks. In this photo of a military home the unique roof design is apparent.

Early storage tanks were rum puncheons or cisterns made of cedar, while others were made by excavating rock and sealing with mortar. Before the 20th century, tanks were located at the rear of dwellings outside, partly or entirely above ground. Water was removed by bucket or hand pump.  Later systems, hand pumps transferred water to elevated indoor storage tanks. Today’s systems with storage tanks under buildings use electric pumps and pneumatic tanks. Most households today are provided with piped indoor water supplies.

For Bermuda residents, tropical storms and hurricanes are a much-needed source of fresh water to fill their underground storage tanks.

Coral Reef

Coral Reef-2

Diving in Bermuda

Bermuda Island is a coral reef island. Bermuda’s coral reef is mostly made up of organisms  from the Caribbean, Bahamas, and Florida via the Gulf Stream. The same Gulf Stream that carries the warm current that has created this tropical paradise in the Atlantic Ocean. The waters are so clear and shallow snorkeling is accomplished in some areas offshore Bermuda for up to seven miles into the Atlantic, a paradise for snorkelers, less for ship captains.

Bermuda triangleDue to the colorful homes, soft pastels with white limestone roofs, and the vastness of Bermuda’s coral reefs, as planes fly over the island low at night, the island and surrounding ocean is almost gemlike for the pilots. From space, the island glows.

Bermuda pink beach 2

Pink Sand beach in Bermuda

Bermuda-6

Bermuda Horeseshoe bay

The famous pink sand beaches are a result of dark red skeletal animals that grow on the underside of Bermuda’s coral reefs. When the red animals die, the skeletons plummet to the ocean floor. Wave action erodes the forams. They become mixed with other debris on the seabed such as the white shells of clams, snails and sea urchins then form sedimentary sand. This is what causes Bermuda’s white sand to take on its pink hue. It’s simple beautiful.

Royal Navy Dockyard

Anchor in Bermuda

On our final evening, we toured the Royal Naval Dockyard. We enjoyed visiting the fort and learning more history. Many of the artifacts were reclaimed from the sea, badly rust decay but authentic.

The next morning was a sad day as our ship sailed away from the tropical island oasis in the Atlantic, supported by the Gulf Stream.

We enjoyed two fun days at sea while sailing back to Boston Harbor.

The island of Bermuda is one of the most beautiful places on earth beyond a doubt. The picturesque European homes, sparkling coral reefs, pink sand beaches, and tropical island aura.

Moped Scooter RentalThis cruise allows ample time to explore the United Kingdom island in whatever manner one chooses. There was no shortage of bicycles and mopeds available for renting. Cars drive on the left side of the road.

Bermuda-7Bermuda is unique with its dream-like beauty, fascination history, and topography. An island oasis in the Atlantic Ocean, fed by the Gulf Stream, a tropical island paradise  that I recommend everyone places on their want to visit someday list.

May good fortune guide your path.

J.A. Ireland

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