This is a travel log of touring Bermuda and visiting my brother Denis and his wife Leah.


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Natalia has a real fear of losing baggage since Air Canada lost her overnight bag coming back from
Portland last summer. Here she is betting that her bag wouldn't make it (mostly because we almost
missed our flight - "we only need to be at the airport 45 mins before departure...") Needless to
say, the power of Priority baggage handling was evident as we were totally through Bermuda
customs, immigration, and bags in 10 mins.


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Denis arranged to have a cab drive us back to their place in Pembroke Parish. This is a funny
sign inside the cab. I think what always cracks me up about signs is that typically signs go up
because the message on the sign needs to be said. In this case, I suspect that people's feet
have a funny habit of being attracted to the roof.


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Since Denis and Leah are "lifetime members" of the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute, we stopped
in for a visit.


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The institute (as it's called - it's actually a museum) had some great old diving tools like this cast iron
helmet. That's Natalia looking through it.


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I'm not normally one of those "flower picture people", but Miss Lynn quite liked these and seeing as how
she didn't have film yet, I took it for her.


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Denis, Leah, and Natalia out front of the BUEI.


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Denis arranged to have a scooter rented for us while we were in Bermuda. The Sunday after we arrived,
we toured part of the South Shore (where the nice pink beaches are) by following Denis and Leah on their
scooter with us on our scooter. This is Elbow Beach, made famous by Tony Soprano, among others.


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Denis and Natalia walking down to the water. As the skies show, this wasn't really tropical weather,
but it definitely wasn't cold compared to the snow we had left behind.



Picture of Natalia and I on the beach. Photo credit to Denis.



Picture of Natalia and I on the beach with the sun on us. Photo credit to Denis.


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Natalia looking out onto Warwick Long Bay I think. That's our scooter to her left. Good ol' G554.
They don't allow tourists to drive anything larger than a 50 cc bike, so I had power to spare in this
hog.


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Denis with his bike. I took this picture when Denis pointed out the sign. I don't think the top and
the bottom of the sign match.



Picture of Natalia and I with our scooter. Photo credit to Denis.


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One of the stops we made along the South Shore was in Southampton at Horseshoe Bay, what is said to
be one of the nicest beaches in the world. Indeed, the pink sand was unbelievable and felt like sugar.


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Natalia and I toured independently for a few days with Denis and Leah at work. We took the scooter
on a ferry out to Dockyard (or The Dockyard as some like to call it) to start our trip. I think it
was actually the first time I had driven a vehicle onto a ferry.


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Natalia with some of Hamilton behind her.


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Me with Hamilton Harbour behind me.


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Some of the nice homes across the harbour from Hamilton.


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Since Natalia likes museums and dolphins so much, we took a tour of the Maritime Museum in Dockyard.
It had both museum exhibits about the history of the island, as well as dolphins you can ride.
After much debate, Natalia decided to pass on the dolphin riding experience. This statue of Neptune
can be found in the courtyard at the Museum.


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Natalia sitting on a cannon. Dockyard was originally a British fort and a lot of the British navy
influence is still easy to see.


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Inside the Commissioner's House are rooms full of old paintings, maps, old coins, and exhibits on the
history of the island. This table seemed worthy of a picture. "Can you pass the salt?"


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A view out the top floor of the Commissioner's House. They have sheep all over this property to
keep the grass grazed. The grass was definitely grazed but also had the luxury of sheep poo everywhere.


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View from the Commissioner's House. From here the water looks awesome. The white buildings behind us
are in Pembroke near Spanish Point, where Denis and Leah live.


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Natalia looking out to the water. In the winter, the water is clearer than in the summer, but also a
good bit colder.


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A view across the Dockyard property. You can see how it's out on a peninsula with ocean all around it.


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The requisite cannon picture.


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Can you say Christmas picture?


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Of course, the Dockyard is also a tour stop for cruise ships, so there was a lot of tourist stuff
to be had, including rum cakes. I thought this sign at the rum cake shop was funny.


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In the Dockyard area, they have a clock tower with two times on it. One is the real time, the other
is the tide clock. This earns the Paul Perrault stamp of approval for good use of space.


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We spent the required amount of time in gift shops, with Natalia looking around at stuff. I took this
shot for Bohdanna, Natalia's sister, who quite likes tanzanite.


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Since the bike was rented in my name (and since I have SOO much experience - ie: none), I was the only
one who got to drive the bike around the island. But that wasn't going to do, so Natalia drove
around on an old railway trail near Somerset. I now have photographic proof of her doing something
illegal!


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Natalia and I stopped in Somerset to find a bakery. After that, we took a stroll around a beach on the west
side of the island and saw a kiteboarder.


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We also stopped at Scaur Hill Fort to check it out. Natalia looks hot with the helmet on. I thought
this weather stone was a monumental leap forward in Bermudian technology.


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Apparently, this is the smallest drawbridge in the world. It's on the west side of the islands in
Sandys Parish.


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One of the places I really wanted to see was the world's first cast iron lighthouse (built entirely
by Irish convict labourers). Unfortunately it was closed for repairs and has been for awhile. The view
from up here was pretty nice though.

Bermuda Botanical Gardens


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On Tuesday Leah joined Natalia and I to see Bermuda's Botanical Gardens. I found this gem inside
the cactus greenhouse. I was surprised to discover prickly pear cactus is indigenous to Bermuda.


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This cactus is called "Mother-in-law's chair". Not very hospitable, is it?


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Beauty next to beauty. I can't tell you anything about the flowers, but I can tell you about the cutie
next to them.


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Here we are inside one of the greenhouses of the Gardens.


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For some reason Natalia really wanted a picture of herself hugging a palm tree.


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I took this since I thought Denis would like it. Yup, that's a barbeque in amongst the fruit trees.


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So this is a bit of an odd one. Apparently birds in Bermuda are either confused or blind. This
bird is called a 'chuck'. That's a combination chicken and duck. Those are webbed feet, a bill
and white feathers and chicken body. We saw an interesting altercation with two of these "chucks"
at the golf course later in the week. One of the chucks took a bill to the back of the neck...


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Alright Renee, where's the cheese factory now?


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Natalia riding a pig in part of the Gardens.


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I have no idea who this pig is supposed to be, but I think he's great. I think I'll name him Norman.

Beach time


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We took a drive out to Horseshoe Bay since someone wanted to spend some time on the beach. On the
far side of the beach is a large amount of sandstone and not quite calcified limestone rocks right
near the water. These make for interesting coves, and for fun bouldering.


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Natali really liked these circular rock formations in the water. They're actually limestone and coral,
making for interesting fish habitats.


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This is about as far as Natalia got into the water.


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I think this is Jobson's Cove. We waded into the water and I borrowed a snorkeling mask from
a really nice French lady to see some of the fish. We saw a giant fish swimming around the rocks
here as well.


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Okay, so Natalia went in a little further, but overall, the water wasn't really warm. Although, it was
still warmer than Waskesiu in the summer, it wasn't too much warmer. The limestone in the water gets
carved out by the salt water, making incuts under the water's surface. Lacking coral right at the water's
edge, all of the fish hang out under the incuts.


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Right near Jobson's Cove, we found a great spot to enjoy the sun and climb around on the rocks.
As it turns out, the sand hasn't quite turned to limestone, and I ripped and tore my way through
quite a bit of chossy, sandy rock. Here I had found a neat little chimney that I climbed in.


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Natalia looking down onto some of the South Shore between Warwick Long Bay and Horseshoe Bay.


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On the front of my Bermuda guidebook from the Lonely Planet is this businessman with green Bermuda shorts.
I laughed when I saw the cover, thought it quaint, and moved on.
As it turns out, this is actually the fashion that businessmen wear all year, worn here by my brother Denis.
He's currently in the middle of what I would call an "Anti-bet" to see who can not shave the longest.
As a further note on this "outfit", the socks are supposed to match the shirt.

Out to St George's


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On the way out to St George's, we stopped and saw a strange-looking bird. I still don't really know
what this is. Okay, a correction here. Captain Tony's wife, Rosalind, sent me a note telling me
that this is actually a yellow crowned night heron. Thanks Rosalind!


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The houses here are unbelievably pastel. This is a small inlet from St George's Harbour, but all of the
island is like this. Since there isn't a lot of freshwater on the island (the Bermuda Rise is actually
a volcanic outcropping, so not a lot of freshwater sources), the locals get their water from the sky
above them. You can see the white limestone roofs that all funnel water down to a main eaves that
sends the rainwater into a cistern. Then a small pump and filter produce most Bermudians drinking water.


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Another sharp catch! A mullet is actually a species of fish, but that doesn't stop me from
giving this road the thumbs up.


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St George's is apparently the longest continually populated British settlement in the New World. As
such, it has such wonderful colonial traditions as the blocks here, where local men could be
punished, as well as the ducking chair (keep reading).


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Okay, this is seriously worth zooming in on. This couple had the worst pair of hats I've seen in
a long time. Thanks to Natalia for being my foreground here.


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Here is Natalia inspecting the ducking chair, used mainly for gossipers and nags (seriously).


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Here is the town gossip and nag being brought into the (really long-winded) presentation from the
senior alderman. She was to be dunked today. Quite a fun little tourist staging.


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The nag about to be dunked.

I took some video too of the nag and her dunking. VIDEO 1

Here is one more right before she was dunked. Phew, she could scream. VIDEO 2


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And the nag, now thoroughly drenched. I think there would be much less gossiping if this were
instituted. I wonder if this is how the wet T-shirt contest was started...


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Natalia looking down one of the cobble-stoned streets of St George.

Crystal Caves


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Just to show how small the island is, Denis decided to ditch work a little early and drove out to the
East side of the island to come find us. We had just done a little snorkeling at Tobacco Bay
(not the warmest thing I've done), and Denis flagged us down near the airport. We then drove out
to Crystal Caves to see some really unique underwater limestone caves. This cave is called
Crystal Cave and had a cool floating dock on top of the cave lake.


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A better shot of what the bottom of Crystal Cave is like. Remember 'c' for stalactite and ceiling,
and 'g' for stalagmite and ground.


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Denis also treated us to the other cave at this location, called Fantasy Cave. It was far more
humid in this cave and the cave structures showed it. Obviously, over time, as the limestone seeps
and grows, the humidity impacts what types of shapes can grow. This is a huge shaped column that
formed from water dripping through the groundwater table and into the cave.


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This is a formation that I thought Bohdanna would be interested in. It's called "bacon".


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Picture inside the Fantasy Cave showing stalactites.


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Another one showing the very strange shapes that can be formed over millions of years. I think one
of the tour guides said something like one cubic centimetre per hundred years.


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Natalia had never had lobster before so we drove down to St David's (after trying the Rum Swizzle at
the Swizzle Inn - not my idea of a party) to try out the Black Horse Tavern. The fish chowder was
lovely and so was the wahoo.


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Thursday, Denis and Leah took the day off to tour with Natalia and I. We climbed the steps of the Bermuda
cathedral to get a nice view of Hamilton and the harbour.


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A view into Hamilton. This is where Denis' boat was moored when he had it.


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Denis arranged for a really great glass-bottom boat tour in the reefs off the island. On the way out
we saw this sailboat coming into port. Obviously, there is a little bit of money on the island. The homes
behind the boat start in the 10M range, so it's not a place for paupers.


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I don't normally take house pictures but this "complex" is worth ~ $80M. Yeah, that's what I said.


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The day that we chose to go for a boat ride happened to be a neap tide. According to wiki,
"When the Moon is at first quarter or third quarter, the sun and moon are at 90 to each other
and the forces due to the Sun partially cancel out those of the Moon. At these points in the Lunar
cycle, the tide's range is at its minimum: this is called the 'neap tide', or 'neaps'. "
The cool thing about this was that all of the soft coral was sticking up from under the water.
That's what you can see here sticking up near the beach.


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These houses on stilts were actually built by the Canadian navy when it had a presence on the island.
Now, they're used for rental beach property.


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I thought this turtle sign was pretty funny.

Pictures through the glass


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So, a bunch of these pictures will look like they have a white grill. This is the roof of the boat
being reflected in the glass. This is showing some of the soft coral just below the surface.


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A sample of some brain corral.


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Some fish that might be bream.


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More fish.


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This is a great story about the British navy. So, apparently, the Brits saw this great ship design
where the shipbuilders put a sharp ramming device just below the water's edge. This would be used
to ram other ships and sink them. Seems like a good idea, right? Well, the Brits took this idea,
built a boat out of solid cast iron and then covered the whole thing with teak. The end result was
a boat that wasn't fast enough to be useful as a ramming boat, and basically useless for anything else.
The boat - called the Vixen - was eventually towed to Bermuda where it was sunk in the middle of
the main approach through the reefs into Bermuda. Well, I guess that's one way to protect the harbour.


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Showing how close we were to the Vixen. We actually tied up right on the sunken ship to look for
rockfish as well.


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Tied up to the Vixen, we hung out and fed the fish with old bread. The fish were frantically churning and
jumping out of the water trying to get their own piece of the action.


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Here you can see some of the fish in the water. It was pretty thick with fish.


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I actually got to climb on the Vixen. This is a picture through the inside of the boat.
If you look close, you can see the shadows of a huge rockfish.



I thought this shot was pretty cool.


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A little bit dark, but it shows the gorgeous weather we had for the boat ride. Thanks Denis!


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Nati and I onboard the glass-bottom boat - the Coral Reefer - with Captain Tony. For more information
about this boat tour, check out Coral Reefer website .


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Denis and Leah onboard the Coral Reefer.


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A nice-looking boat in Hamilton Harbour.


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Walking through Hamilton, we spotted a great place to buy perfume. The store is actually called
Peniston Perfumes.


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On Friday, we spent some time at Horseshoe Bay. Note the beautiful pink sugary sank. It wasn't
quite as warm as we had hoped until later in the day but we found a nice spot out of the wind to
enjoy the sun when it did come out.


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Natalia enjoying her new white beach skirt. Note the fact that I actually found Alexander Keith's
in Bermuda. Funny that I can't find it in the US.


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Leah enjoying a little downtime on the beach.


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Natalia investigating the fish-filled pools in one of the coves off Horseshoe Bay.


The rock was pretty grippy except if it was wet.


I wound up going snorkeling here, but it wasn't really warm. I think I'll have to come back
sometime and snorkel when it's bath-water-warm.


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Just down the road from Denis and Leah's house is a great little beach at Admiralty House Park.


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As is typical the day you're going to go home, the weather was absolutely perfect. This picture
is from the top of a rocky cove down from Admiralty House.


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Because limestone is so readily soluble by water, there are caves everywhere. This is a cave
near Admiralty House Park.


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Me playing with light.


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More playing with light.


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Someone was here in 1874 by the name of Candy.


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I had never seen squid in the water before. I guess they travel in packs.


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I had to take a shot of the outside of Denis and Leah's house. Apparently it took 94 days or
something ridiculous to paint it. Leah LOVES the new colour (just kidding) !


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As you arrive into Bermuda, there is a band playing "Welcome to Bermuda". It's pretty awesome.
In this case, I got a picture of them as we were leaving.

I want to say thanks to Denis and Leah for opening their home to Natalia and I for a great
visit and tour of the island. Leah, get well soon!

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