Bermuda Islands, much more than the mystifying triangle

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Known as the “Isle of Devils,” the string of islands of Bermuda, is a history-filled paradise as a welcoming stepping-stone in the Atlantic. The unfortunate nickname came from tales of eerie spirits inhabiting the islands— now thought to be the loud indigenous callings of howling winds (thanks in part to its sometime stormy weather) and wild birds encircling treacherous ring of coral reef (most likely the Bermuda Petrel or Cahow) that tormented many approaching ships. Certainly, the impression of being haunted was attached, but the reality in the Bermuda is 180 degrees different: bathed in the balmy turquoise waters of the Sargasso Sea, the archipelago is ringed by treacherous reefs that make it one of the world’s top diving destinations.

First discovered by Spanish explorer Juan de Bermúdez in the early 1500s, Bermuda became a strategic site for ships sailing between Europe and the New World. The islands’ treacherous reefs and occasional stormy conditions prevented many from considering visiting, never mind settling. But that is until the fateful day in 1609 when Sir George Somers and the crew of the British ship Sea Venture wrecked on the reef off Bermuda’s shores on its way to Jamestown, Virginia in the aftermath of a hurricane and decided to stay. Within three years, Bermuda became a British territory, and it has remained one to this day.

When you hear ‘Bermuda’, your mind may immediately drift to a mysterious place called the Bermuda Triangle. Make no mistake, Bermuda Islands meant here is an island nation of 65,000 people in the waters of the North Atlantic. The state is located about 1,050 km east of North Carolina, United States. Yes, indeed, the name ‘Bermuda Triangle’ itself cannot be separated from the state of Bermuda – the enigmatic ‘triangle’ is formed from imaginary lines between Bermuda, Miami in Florida, and Puerto Rico. Although often thought of as a single island country, Bermuda consists of 181 islands of which 7 of them are the main islands that are grouped and connected to each other by bridges. Bermuda’s largest island called Main Island —where the capital city Hamilton is located— extends up to 22.5 km with a width of 1.6 km. About three-fifths of the total population of Bermuda Islands are native Africans or half-bloods. They were immigrants from the West Indies, Cape Verdeans, as well as descendants of slaves brought from Africa before the abolition of slavery in 1807. Meanwhile, the Caucasian people (of European descent) make up one third of the total population, including those of British, American, and Portuguese descent.

Bermuda Islands relies heavily on the tourism sector. As a matter of fact, today, tourism is its second-largest industry. Despite its remote location, according to a report done by the Bermuda tourism authority, Bermuda welcomed over 808,000 visitors in 2019. This was the third consecutive year of exceeding previous tourism numbers, with cruise ships being the main source of tourism.

The islands, shaped like a fishhook, are especially famed for the beauty and uniqueness of its pink beaches. The pink sand is formed from the collision of coral and shells. Indeed, its capital Hamilton, is a vision of pastel houses to match the famous pink beaches such as the Horseshoe Bay. Surrounded by sparkling blue, the waters in Bermuda are warm due to the location of the archipelago which is between tropical and subtropical climates. Another worth mentioning beach is the Tobacco Bay, where snorkelling is the main attraction. If you are visiting Bermuda between March and April, you are in extra luck for a once-in-a-lifetime experience as this is the time when there is plenty of sea life to experience such as a whale-watching, and they are always putting on a show. If you are more into a challenge, going underground to see the 62 meters deep Crystal and Fantasy Caves is worth a try. These massive underground caves were discovered by two young cricket players in 1907. But the most exceptional exploration adventure in Bermuda Islands comes with the diving spots of ​​the sunken shipwrecks that is also used for coral reefs planting.

Bermuda is different from most other island nations due to its stately demeanour. The archipelago is the oldest continually populated British settlement in the world. Thus, various historical sites with deep colonial heritage and stunning colonial architecture that witness the development of the archipelagic country can be found surrounded by fortifications. One of them is St. Fort. Catherine which is located in St. George, a UNESCO world heritage site. St. George retains the charm of its earliest days in the 1600s. Many of the buildings there are still stand strong today, including the Old Rectory and the Old State House, as well as the oldest Anglican Church that still in continuous use, St. Peters. The church was built in 1620, inside you will find an altar carved in 1615 by Bermuda’s first governor and a throne that is believed to have been salvaged from a shipwreck. You can also visit the National Museum of Bermuda opened in 1974. Despite its tiny size, the museum displays exhibit on the history of the islands, especially it is maritime history, dating back to more than 500 years ago. Additionally, Bermuda is known for having more golf courses per acre than any other place on Earth, used for professional tournaments where famous golfers like Adam Scott, Bubba Watson and Tiger Woods have teed off. There is no better way to soak up the Bermuda sun than playing a round of golf on one of its five golf courses.

Photo: Cruise ship docked at one of the piers in Bermuda via Shutter Stock
 

No matter your interests, company, or abilities, from historical wonders to natural beauty, Bermuda has it all. The islands have something to offer everyone. There are endless adventures, landscapes to explore, nature to experience, and mouth-watering cuisine to be enjoyed. The island nation is one of those islands that are truly beautiful year-round and is known for being a relatively safe country, in fact, it is much safer than the US. Crime is rare and the people are extremely welcoming and friendly. You could visit any month. However, there are less busy times of the year, such as the off-season in the winter months. The majority of people will visit Bermuda during the summer. But if you are coming without a cruise, the best time to visit is late spring, between April and May before the busy tourist season begins. Even though the islands of Bermuda are located about a thousand miles east of the Caribbean, these isolated islands are still considered to be in “Hurricane Alley” and are vulnerable to powerful storms. The probability of a hurricane making a direct hit is very unlikely since Bermuda is so small, but it is common for at least one storm per season to get dangerously close. The cruise liners will have sailings at the perfect months for the best weather. There are three cruise ports in Bermuda. The Royal Navy Dockyard is the largest with two piers, “Kings Wharf,” and “Heritage Wharf.” Hamilton Port is in the capital area of Hamilton and is the closest dock to the busy areas of Bermuda. St. Georges Port is located on St Georges Harbour, at the eastern end of Bermuda, however, this port can only take small to medium-sized ships.

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