That is usually the first misconception people want to correct about Bermuda. Located just over 1,000 kilometres east of North Carolina, in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, Bermuda is clean, friendly, and home to countless “pink sand” beaches. Coincidentally, it was also our destination of choice for this year’s summer cruise.
My grandparents love cruises, probably because we all get to do our own thing, at our own pace, while still seeing each other for dinner every night. Claire and I can spend our days at sea by the pool with a good book, my parents can go to lectures and art auctions, and my grandparents can take naps whenever they need. We are slowly but surely moving our way up Royal Caribbean’s Crown and Anchor Society levels, and it makes cruising with a different cruise line a difficult thing. This time, we headed aboard the Explorer of the Seas (our first time on this boat) for a 5-night cruise, sailing out of Cape Liberty, NJ towards King’s Wharf, Bermuda.
When we first arrived in Bermuda, we were blown away by how beautiful the place was. It docks right near the Royal Dockyards (used to be a British Naval Base, and is now – like many other such buildings – a shopping/arts and culture haven). Seeing as how it was our first time in Bermuda, we wanted to get a feel for the island on Day One, and there is no better way of doing that than by going on an island tour.
We went from tip to tip on our 5-hour drive with our wonderful driver, Eddie! We passed little inlets full of boats and moors, travelled over Somerset Bridge (the world’s smallest drawbridge, at a whopping 18 inches), stopped briefly in Hamilton (where we spent the majority of the time looking for swimming trunks for my grandpa…without success), ventured through Flatts Village, and finally arrived at St. George’s on the other end of Bermuda. The entire town is a UNESCO world heritage site (like Old Quebec).
We probably could have spent half a day in St. George’s alone, but alas, we had other places to see. There are all of four main roads in Bermuda (North, South, Middle, Harbour), so on our way back to the boat, we ventured along the South Road, passing through Millionaire’s Row, where tons of rich people own homes in Bermuda. We caught a glimpse of so many south shore beaches, stopping briefly at a few, and lingering a little longer at our last one, Sea Glass Beach, to pick up some sea glass to take home.
We boarded the cruise ship once again, to satisfy our increasing hunger pangs, and give our grandparents a chance to rest. Because it was already close to 3, our only real option was to venture up to Windjammer’s, where we proceeded to stuff our faces full of food we probably shouldn’t be eating before going to the beach.
After our meal, we took a taxi out to Horseshoe Bay beach, arguably the most famous beach in Bermuda, and got settled right as many of the other cruise ship passengers were leaving to head back to the boat for dinner. It was really nice to go at that time, because the beach was much less crowded, the sun wasn’t as hot, and the locals were starting to come out for the beach volleyball league.
There were these beautiful coves on either end of the beach, and we spent a lot of our time in those calmer waters rather than on the main strip. We took our new waterproof GoPro camera with us, which gave us really awesome wide-angle shots. Unfortunately, I forgot to download them onto my computer before leaving Toronto. Here are a few shots from my regular point and shoot, though.
Once it started to get dark, we decided it would be smart to head back to the ship. Because all the taxis had left from the entrance of the beach, we had a long walk up the top of the hill to hail a cab. I love Bermudian taxi drivers – they all give you commentary on the area :) We learned lots about the place, including how many people work two or three jobs, how cost of living is so high, what the education system is like, why all the roofs are white and look like steps…
The next morning, sister and I had breakfast bright and early in the Diamond Lounge (we love that place), and headed ashore for our paddle boarding adventure! Again, most of those pictures are from the GoPro, so I do not have our action shots, but here is a picture of our boat dock. Yeah…that alone was super cool. It was actually not as difficult as we thought it would be to go paddle boarding. Once you get the hang of it, you can actually go pretty far, and the board itself is very stable. Because the rest of the party that came with us on our boat was going kayaking, Claire and I had our own little private paddle boarding tour. It was great! We stopped near the end at this deep pool area, where we did some swimming, some rock jumping, and lots of swallowing mouthfuls of saltwater (we always forget how painful it is to get seawater up your nose…)
We whiled away the rest of our afternoon at the Royal Dockyard, checking out the Glassworks and Ceramic Studio, the Bermuda Arts Centre (highly recommended because they have these working artist studios there which are so interesting), and the old buildings. We wandered through alleyways, and the workers there looked at us funnily because we were taking jumping shots and laughing really loudly. Sorry about that…
Needless to say, we absolutely loved our trip to Bermuda, and we will most definitely be back when we have the chance. Our father has already said that he will return and maybe rent a villa, or perhaps go on another cruise that stays over multiple nights in Bermuda. The place is magical, though insanely expensive, and you just can’t beat the friendly folk that live all around :)