First impressions of Bermuda


From St George Bermuda


We are at anchor off the town of St George , going over the steering system ( essentially good news) and taking occaisional wanders ashore . The town itself dates from the first settlement with nice old buildings , and in high summer is probably aswarm with tourists. For now however it is sleepy and attractive – and TIDY! In fact the whole island is an OCD’s heaven with never a bush or flower or tree that isnt beautifully pruned and in regimental rows.

I think that the clue to all this is in the street names : Blockade Alley , Barrack Hill , Old Military Rd , Retreat Hill, suggesting that this part of the island at least was very much a military garrison, and the Armys obsession with orderly streets and manicured lawns has passed on down the generations. Walking around the outskirts the architecture is colonial with some fine old two story verandered buildings , but mostly the kind of bungalows that my father grew up in in India , and that I remember from Singapore in the 50’s. They have tha same low pitched roofs overhanging wide verandahs on all sides , with covered vents in the roof for the hot air to escape and pull a cooling breeze into the house. Where they differ is the roofing which is manufactured out of porous coral “slates” covered in a white wash cement giving them a distinct air of wearing pith helmets , and of course adding to the colonial feel of the place. As I walked round I felt the spirit of my anglo-indian father by my side, and knew that he would have been very much at home here.

From St George Bermuda


The Bermudans speak with a soft American twang – literally I suppose a mid-Atlantic accent , but everywhere you look , and indeed listen , there are reminders of the strong connections with Britain. From 100 miles off you begin to pick up Bermuda radio who carefully monitor all the traffic in to and out from the Islands ( it is an archipelago not a single island). I swear the radio operators are on secondment from Solent Coastguard as they all have strong English or Scottish accents and the same polite but slightly weary intonation as they shepard their charges carefully in and out of the coral strewn approaches. After the cheerful anarchic chaos of the Caribbean all thisefficiency and tidyness is very striking , and to be honest , rather welcome !
The astonishing thing is that the little harbour is so busy . Every 20 minutes another yacht arrives , moors alongside the Customs jetty , is politely and efficiently welcomed and cleared in within minutes to make way for the next one. It’s a bit like Yarmouth harbour , except that each and every one of the arrivals has just completed a 900 mile trip , and is about to set off for an even longer distance. Apparently over a short 6 week period , over a thousand yachts will pass through , and then nothing happens until a smaller number call by making their way South in December.

In a day or so we will sail round to the west end of the archipelago to explore the lagoons and Islands of Hamilton Sound. True to form the weather is on the change , with easterlies at high latitudes so rather than rush off we will take a few days to really study the weather and enjoy the unexpected bonus of Bermuda.

One Comments

  1. Hi Phil, Philip here. It sounds so wonderful Janet and I will fly out and see you immediately. We arrive Sat 22nd May in the evening and will stay at Salt Kettle. Meet in the Yacht Club? I presume we have reciprocity. Salt Kettle number is 001 441 236 0407. Janet’s iphone is 0044 7778 596102. See Ya

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