Day 3 - Dockyard
|Monday, July 25, 2016: Here is the very best photo we took on our vacation: the luggage tags of the luggage that finally arrived around 11:30 PM the night before. Hooray! We finally had shorts! Snorkel gear! Swimsuits! Sunscreen!
|We had a big day ahead of us, so we headed out around 9:00 AM. These are the grounds of the Fourways Inn.
|Hello, Cobb's Hill. We meet again. But going downhill is much faster than going uphill, so the walk took only six minutes.
|We decided to get a photo of a different property each time we walked up or down the hill. Most of the address signs are quite ornate, like this ceramic oval.
|Even in the morning, shade was the place to be, since the temperature only varied between 78 and 85 degrees between night and day.
|Fortunately, there was a small area where we could watch for the ferry in the shade.
|Here are our 7 day transportation passes. They note that they are for the pink ferry route, but they were actually good for all four ferry routes and all public buses. At $62 each, they saved us a little money off the individual price of the rides we took, but more importantly, they saved us the hassle of figuring out what each trip costs, so we were glad to have them.
|Lizards were everywhere, but we still love photographing them. This guy joined us while we waited.
|We took the ferry into Hamilton, opting to ride in the enclosed section instead of the sunny top deck, since we knew we'd be getting plenty of sun later on.
|In Hamilton, we just milled about for a few minutes to get a quick look at Front Street, ...
|... then turned right around to get on the blue route ferry to Dockyard, shown here.
|This ferry is much larger then the pink route ferry, with two air-conditioned indoor sections, including the main large one we opted for. At this time of day, there were very few people heading toward Dockyard, so had plenty of space for ourselves and our backpacks.
|Ferry rides are scenic tours with small islands and inlets everywhere.
|There's Darrell's Wharf on the south side of the bay.
|A second cruise ship, Royal Caribbean's Anthem of the Seas, had joined Norwegian Dawn at the Royal Naval Dockyard.
|As we arrived at the Dockyard, we caught a preview of the parasailing tour we'd be taking later in the week.
|Door-to-door is about a half hour trip, ...
|... and we were off to spend the morning with the cruise ship passengers in the tourist mecca that is the Dockyard.
|We were on a mission - to get to the National Museum of Bermuda, so we walked ...
|... and walked ...
|... and made it to the entrance.
|Come on in with us!
|This entire end of the island is called the Keep, which is Bermuda's largest fort. That's the Commissioner's House up on the hill. We'll get there soon - patience, dear reader.
|Surrounding this square are ordnance houses which now serve as museum halls.
|Let's go in one, shall we?
|This exhibit is called Shipwreck Island. It covers Bermuda's rich history of shipwrecks, which were common due to Bermuda's extensive reef system that extends far beyond the island.
|We took a picture of this ...
|... just for this. According to Bundlings tradition/inside joke, the name "Carrack" must always be pronounced in a New Jersey accent and Tom doesn't quite have it down yet, but he tries.
|Here's a display of some of the treasure that's been found in Bermuda's shipwrecks.
|Here's another building containing boats, ...
|... with more boats upstairs. Apparently, boat racing is a thing here.
|Tom is obsessed with knot tying, so clearly this framed knot display should be in our living room where it can be cherished properly.
|This contraption is the back of a clock that is located on the front of the building. Of the hundreds of photos we took, not a single one records the existence of the front of this clock.
|However, we did get a closeup of this excellent Neptune statue. We were too hot and sweaty to actually walk up to it, so hooray for the zoom function on our camera!
|Next, it was time to head up to the top level.
|Looking back from the ramp, we could see the Dolphin Quest attraction.
|Near the top of the ramp, we found a dark corridor and decided to see where it went.
|It led to a couple of stone rooms that overlooked the outside of the fort, including this one. The rooms were dripping and were slowly forming stalactites on the ceiling.
|Here's the view on the top level.
|Right across the water was the Anthem of the Seas, ...
|... with its theme park ride, the North Star, a capsule that rises 300 feet above sea level.
|Meanwhile, back to the fort. Here's a big gun.
|There's the Commissioner's House again.
|We headed inside to check it out, but stopped first to get a photo of our fine selves.
|This is the Bermuda's Defence Heritage exhibit. Flash photography is not allowed but Debbie messed up and accidentally took a flash photo anyway. Oh, the shame, but oh, what a cool photo of one of these deep, oval-shaped windows.
|Here's the non-flash version of a closeup out this window.
|Here's another window with a different view.
|And here's another window, but this one comes with a major weapon to use with it.
|Like the rest of the museum, we had the place mostly to ourselves because the cruise ship tours hadn't yet shown up.
|What a huge tool.
|This display was interesting because it offered this, ...
|... an aerial view of the Keep prior to it turning into a tourist fun zone.
|Pretty ferns and moss growing on one of the doorways.
|We exited the relative cool of the museum back into the beautiful but hot sunny day.
|This plaque commemorated the 88 officers and crew lost when the HMS Valerian sunk in a hurricane in 1926.
|We found a nice bench where we could sit and enjoy the view in the shade, plus chug some of the melted water in our frozen water bottles.
|Tom got some photos with his phone to post on Facebook.
|We headed over to the other side of the Keep, ...
|... to get a look at Snorkel Park Bermuda.
|It's geared toward cruise ship tourists, but it looks like a pretty nice little setup, with a decent reef for snorkeling.
We took a quick look at a little more random fort stuff, ...
|... and some more cannons, then we had to get going.
|On our way out, we got distracted by a little entrance marked High Cave, which turned out to be this little gem.
It's not something you'd expect to find tucked away in the middle of a fort, but there it was.
|Ahhhh, that explains the millions of tiny turds we found while walking among the cannons. Sheep. We never actually saw any sheep, so we were glad when this sign solved the mystery.
|We headed out through the Cooperage, where we'd return two days later, ...
|... and through the Victualling Yard, ...
|... past these gigantic buoys, ...
|... and this little park next to the Clock Tower Shopping Mall.
|We were looking for Freeport Seafood, but couldn't find it, so we decided to eat at the Anchor restaurant. When we got home, we discovered that the Freeport got sold and became the Anchor, so we're glad we didn't spend much time looking for it.
|Oh, sweet air conditioning! We started with fish chowder, and this time, we got the rum and sherry peppers with it. Still delicious!
|Tom got the crispy fish sandwich, ...
|... and Debbie got the quintessential Bermudian fish sandwich, served on raisin bread. We tried several during the week and this one was the clear winner.
|After changing into our swimsuits at the restaurant, we headed to the bus stop, conveniently located across from the mall that we never had time to visit.
|We took the bus ...
|... past a pretty church, ...
|... and a pretty cemetery, ...
|... and pretty water.
|This pink building houses a medical laboratory that uses Debbie's software.
|Just down the street from the lab was the bus stop where we got out.
|Across the street from the bus stop was Mangrove Bay Park, ...
|... where we followed Mangrove Bay Road, ...
|... to Cambridge Road, to Mangrove Bay Public Wharf, where we waited for our afternoon snorkeling tour.
|Ewww, what is that on the beach? Here's a closer shot of the four foot long fish skeleton washing up on the sand.
|It wasn't a fluke, since we saw two more by the dock, including this poor guy with a fishing line still in his mouth.
|We completely forgot to get a photo of the Hat-Trick when it pulled up for our 2:00 tour, nor did we get one while snorkeling, nor when we left. In our shame, we have no choice but to grab someone else's photo from the Internet to show you and remind us what it looked like.
|Our hosts Gwen and Keith welcomed us onboard, along with several other guests and some friends of theirs and we were off.
|Captain Keith almost immediately pointed out a green sea turtle, one of many we saw swimming on the water's surface.
|From our vantage point on the catamaran, we could see the laboratory building across the water.
|Let's zoom in on it.
|There's Watford Bridge, ...
|... and Dockyard.
|It's a long way to the outer reef six miles offshore where we were headed, so Captain Keith passed the time by telling us all about the fish and marine life we'd be seeing. That's Gwen in the background.
|When he was telling us about parrotfish, he passed around a piece of parrotfish jaw so we could see what their teeth look like.
|You need to have sturdy dental work if you're going to spend all day biting coral.
|That's a majestic sail, ...
|... and an equally majestic Bermuda flag.
|After an hour and 20 minutes, we arrived at our destination on the Eastern Blue Cut: Blue Hole.
|The reef is very shallow here and it forms a circle around a sand bed.
|Captain Keith gave us our snorkeling instructions and we were off.
|Right beneath the boat, a school of Bermuda chub were waiting for us.
|The star of the show here isn't the fish, it's the beautiful coral. Here's some sea rod coral, ...
|... and here is some brain and sea rod coral.
|This is a cleaning station with various juvenile wrasse.
|Here's a trumpetfish we followed for a little while.
|Here's are some sea fans. The front one is purple because its polyps are retracted and it is digesting something, according to Keith, and the back one appears brown because its polyps are extended to catch food.
|Here are a stoplight parrotfish and a midnight parrotfish.
|Perhaps another midnight parrotfish?
|Here's a bonded pair of foureye butterflyfish.
|More pretty coral ...
|... and more pretty fans.
|Here's another stoplight parrotfish.
|We're fish snobs, and there weren't as many fish here as we'd like to see, but the underwater scenery was just so beautiful.
|Here are some juvenile bluehead wrasse.
|We're pretty sure that this is a juvenile queen parrotfish.
|Here's a yellowhead wrasse ...
|... and a bluehead wrasse.
|Here's Tom with several comb jellies (mnemiopsis), also known as sea walnuts, floating in the water in the foreground. They're a couple of inches wide and you can't feel them at all in the water so they pose no harm.
|This is a school of blue chromis.
|Pretty blue tang.
|Debbie's a fan of the filefish, and here's the only photo we got of the only one we saw. He's hiding just off center in this photo.
|As we headed back to the boat, we ran into the Bermuda chubs again, this time joined by sergeant majors.
|Back onboard, Gwen came around with rum swizzles, one of the two mandatory Bermudian cocktails that all tourists must sample.
|Next, she offered us egg salad and tuna salad sandwiches, strawberries, chips, and cookies.
|A little later, her friend passed around cherries, sausage, cheese, crackers, and spread, but this might have been a special treat from the visiting guests rather than a standard tour snack.
|As we approached Mangrove Bay, we passed a small island where camps were already being set up in anticipation of the national holidays coming up on Thursday and Friday.
|We said our goodbyes and walked back to the bus stop. Just before crossing the street to the bus stop, we noticed that these trees had been decorated with ribbons in the Somerset team colors for Cup Match.
|We waited quite a while at the bus stop and were engaged in conversation by a Bermudian who shared his opinions about the upcoming American election and told us quite a bit about Cup Match. On the bus, a fellow passenger also struck up a conversation about Cup Match. By now, we had learned that it was true that Bermudians are all friendly. After being initially wary that we were about to be hustled, we realized that it just doesn't happen here - the people are just genuinely friendly. They also really, really love Cup Match. This sign shows St. George's navy and light blue colors on the left and Somerset's blue and red colors on the right.
|This Cup Match sign was spotted as we rode through Somerset, where the only colors necessary are Somerset's.
|We got off the bus at the Warwick Academy stop, then walked down the road a little to Lindo's Family Foods.
|We were the last people to enter the store before they locked up for the evening, so we quickly purchased some Lunchables, cherries, and Diet Coke to use for breakfasts. Debbie found some malasadas in the bakery section and was beside herself with joy.
|Then we headed next door to Island Spice to get some Caribbean food for dinner. We waited in the heat for 45 miserable minutes to get our food.
|When we finally got our food, it was nearly 8:00 PM and we were beat. It was just a couple of blocks uphill to our hotel, but it seemed like 10 miles.
|Here's Tom's jerk chicken and macaroni & cheese, ...
|... and here's Debbie's coconut fried shrimp with rice. The beef patty was thrown in as a freebie to make up for our wait. The shrimp and chicken were good and the beef patty was not really our taste. We were able to save coleslaw cups and some of Debbie's rice and Tom's jerk chicken for later meals.
Copyright © Deborah Schilling/Thomas Bundy