April 2006:

April 30, 2006

Walk Around Harrington Sound

We walked aroung the Harrington Sound today, as a preparation for the End-to-End walk next weekend.

Some fun facts about the Sound:

Harrington Sound is a large inland lake in the northeast of the main island of Bermuda. It is surrounded by the main island on all sides, only appearing open to the ocean via a small channel called Flatt's Inlet in the southwest. Much of the sound's water flows to and from the ocean via subterranean cavern systems, the largest being Crystal Cave and Leamington Cave. Despite this, the water in the inlet is fast moving, carrying water in and out from the sound as the tide ebbs and flows. A bridge (Flatt's Bridge) crosses the inlet, and the small settlement of Flatt's Village is located on its north bank (and that is where we live now), as is the Bermuda Aquarium and Museum (across the inlett from us).

The sound was named for Lucy Harrington, Countess of Bedford. It is the lowest point on the Bermuda sea platform, being over 20 metres deep at its deepest in the southeast. Its geological origins are uncertain, though it is not (as it appears to some) a volcanic crater. There are numerous small islands in the sound, notably Trunk Island.

Unfortunately, as Bermuda's human population (and fishing) has increased there has been an equivalent drop in the populations of the sound's formerly abundant shellfish.

We thought that this 16 km walk would be a good indication how we would do at the real event. Unfortunately, although it was a very nice walk, it was not an accurate measurement for a few reasons. I brough my camera with us, and there were many short stops along the way to take pictures. It also rained on us a few times, and hard enough to force us to hide in one of the bus stop shelter for 15 min. So overall, the pace is a lot more leisurly than we expected, and it took us over 4 hours to get home. Luckily we just made it inside before a thunderstorm.

Some of the things we saw a long the way: Bailey's Bay at the end of the railroad trail on the North Shore, bronze giraffes and zebras in the yard of one of home in Smith's and a chicken with a family of little chicks (I tried to take some photos of the chicks and in the process, I managed to greatly upset the monther-hen, so no photos).

April 27, 2006

Spittal Pond

Today we did one of the 20 hike/walks from the "Hiking Bermuda" book. We went down to nearby Spittal Pond, on South Shore....

Spittal Pond is owned by the Bermuda National Trust and the Bermuda Government’s Department of Agriculture. This 64-acre reserve is part of wetlands along the South Shore. It is Bermuda’s largest nature reserve and largest bird sanctuary. It is home to an amazing variety of birds, especially during the migration seasons. While home to many native and endemic plants, Spittal Pond has unique features such as Spanish Rock, the oldest evidence of humans on the island.

Without the guide book it would have been very difficult to the find the Spanish Rock and once again we were glad to have the book. At the end of the winding trail to Spanish Rock there is a bronze plaque of the cryptic inscription: TF (or TP) 1543. Many believe that the original was carved in stone by an early Portuguese "discoverers". Early settlers found this rock crudely carved with the date 1543 and other markings that were unclear. It's now believed that a Portuguese ship was wrecked on the island in 1543 and that her sailors built a new ship on which they departed. The carved initials RP probably stood for "Rex Portugaline" (for Rex Portugaline, King of Portugal) and the cross to be a badge of the Portuguese Order of Christ. Later these initials were incorrectly attributed to the Spanish, leading to the misnaming of this rock. Unfortunately, the rock itself has been destroyed, and what you see there today is a bronze cast of the original.

There is also something called "checkerboard" - a geological formation of marine limestone with a distinct pattern of cracks. Although you do have to use your imagination to see a checkerboard....

We also saw a nearby Jeffrey's Hole, a cave named for an escaped slave who supposedly hid out here for several weeks with his girlfriend bringing him food.

April 23, 2006

Easter Eggs, Cake, and Friends

After two full days of our Scuba course -- both in-class and in-water -- we had some friends over for (orthodox) easter drinks, snacks, easter cake and eggs. Michelle dyed some eggs in bright colours and Scott brought some eggs dyed in the traditional way, in onion skins (see photos of eggs and easter cake below). A huge Carnival cruise boat passed by -- apparently this particular boat is too large to dock in Hamilton, so it can only go to Dockyard.

Watching the Cruise Boat Pass Big Boat Easter Festivities Relaxing and Eating Cruise Boat Siting Easter Eggs over Flatts Inlet Easter Cake Easter Eggs and Cake Eggs Galore More Easter Eggs Easter Eggs on Balcony Eggs and Easter Cake Easter Eggs around Cake Easter Morning Eggs on Cake

April 20, 2006

Biennial at the Bermuda National Gallery

Today was a Grand Opening night for the Bacardi Limited Biennial Exhibition at the National Gallery at the City Hall.

From National Gallery of Bermuda website:

Featuring 83 diverse works from 50 equally diverse artists, the Bacardi Limited Biennial Exhibition of Contemporary Bermuda Art is once again a must-see exhibition for anyone interested in the Island’s art scene.

The exhibition was very nice, and included paintings, photos, and even performance art. Some of it was very unique and definitely a must see. Plus, its sponsored by Bacardi, so that means free drinks.

April 18, 2006

XL Bermuda Open Tennis

Today we went to watch a match of the XL Bermuda Open Tennis tournament at Coral Beach Club. We actually went to see 2 matches, but it started to rain and we left as the second match was delayed. Here is the only photo I took, with my 0X no-zoom camera:

Bermuda Open Tennis

April 14, 2006

Bermuda Kite Flying on Good Friday

There is a tradition in Bermuda to fly a kite on Good Friday. We saw kites flying all over the island, but nowhere more than at Horseshoe Bay Beach, where thousands of people converged to fly kites and take part in the festivities. We were no exception, we brought our cameras and Polly the Parrot. Polly is Macaw Parrot, who also happens to be a store-bought kite that flaps its wings (really). Polly flew quite well, getting up quite high in sky.

We also watched the judgung for the Bermuda kite contest. There were several different categories, including smallest kite, largest kite, age groups, and "visitor". The contest featured many different home-made kites. Some of these featured colourful and intricate designs made out of hundreds of individual pieces of tissue paper. Bermuda kite flying on Good Friday and Easter weekend is serious business. I didn't see any of the kites from the competition flying, but after all the hours of effort that went into making these kites, I wouldn't blame them for not risking their destruction in the (crowded) skies of Horseshoe Bay.

Michelle and PollyLargest Kite Runner UpLargest Kite WinnerMe flying Polly the ParrotKites GalorePolly the Parrot (Kite)

April 13, 2006

Rustico Restaurant

Tonight we locked ourselves out of the house! Well, more specifically, I locked us out of the house. We went for a run -- and I didn't forget my key -- we returned from our run, I unlocked the deadbolt, only to discover that the lock in the door handle was also locked. To make things worse, our landlord and landlady were not home, and the sun had just set, and it was getting quite cold in our running outfits. Luckily, our neighbour Joel, of Gombey Hot Pepper Jam fame, was home and lent us some sweaters and a little cash. He also left a message taped to our landlord's door, informing them of our situation.

We did not know how long it would take until our landlord and landlady would return, so we walked down to Rustico Restaurant, an Italian restaurant in Flatts Village. We had previously heard good things about Rustico, from more than one person. In our running outfits and newly acquired sweaters, we didn't exactly meet the "smart casual" dress code, but the kind gentleman at the door let us in anyway. We each had some Bermuda fish chowder and shared a pizza with anchovies and vegetables. The fish chowder was pretty good, warming us up after being out in the cold night. Of course, it was served with sherry pepper sauce and black rum, both of which contributed to the aforementioned warming up. The pizza was a very thin crust pizza, and quite tastey. I think it was the first pizza that I have ever eaten with anchovies -- and it was good. I don't really understand how or when anchovies got such a bad name as pizza topping, but I suggest you give it a try and judge for yourself.

After some tea and espresso, we left the restaurant and walked back home, prepared for several hours of star-gazing, if necessary. But our landlord and landlady had returned, and we were able to get into our place.

April 12, 2006

BSAC Scuba Course

Tonight we (finally) started our Scuba course, which is part of the Bermuda Sub Aqua Club (BSAC). Tonight's lesson was just an in-class intro, but it turns out that the schedule will be moving quicker than we thought. Next week there are two theory classes, a swim test, and the entire next weekend is booked for classes, both in and out of water! The water is still a little cold, so its time to start wet suit shopping.

April 9, 2006

Whale Watching

We went whale watching today. The boat left hamilton Harbour at 10 AM and we didn't get back until 6 PM. Compared to whale watching tours in recent days, it took longer to find soem whales, and we had to go out much further to find them. At the furtherest point, we were more than 15 miles (25 kilometres) from shore, and Bermuda was no longer visible. It was a windy day and the seas were rough through much of the trip. A number of people become sea-sick, but Michelle and I were fine.

By 3pm, the tour operators were stunned by the lack of whales and began to turn around to head back, when, finally, one of them spotted a whale. After ten minutes, others were spotted in a different direction. As we started towars those, Michelle notices some more spouts to our left -- a lot of them. So we turned in that direction. From that point forward we saw numerous whales, sometimes in groups of 3, 4, 5, or more. It was well worth the wait. We took some photos and videos, but many of them didn't turn out that well. We will post some of them soon. The whales were humpback whales, varying in length from 30-45 feet, weighing up to 40 tons each.

Finally, it was time to head back. We were so far out to sea, that it took 2 full hours to get back on dry land.

April 8, 2006

Our new Apartment

We recently moved apartments, from Warwick Long Bay to Flatts. While we liked our previous apartment - especially the proximity to the beach - but the new place has a lot of good features too..

One of the benefits of the new place is definitely the view. The apartment is high on a hill, and overlooks Flatts Inlet, Flatts Bridge, the Bermuda Aquarium and Zoo and Harrington Sound. Here is an image of the view, which also happens to be the new header image on this site, at the very top of each page:

The above image is a combination of 6 photos, covering almost 180 degrees of view. This is the reason for the curved horizon (no, we are not actually that high up that we can see the curvature of the earth).

Here are a few more individual photos of the view:

View from the Balcony View to the South East View from our Living Room View from out Living Room right view View from the Den View from the Kitchen View from Our Dining Room View from Our Bedroom Flatts Inlet

A few days ago, I took this photo of a beautiful sunrise from our balcony:

By the way, this is what our apartment looks like from the other side, taken from the other side of Flatts Inlet (at the top of the photo):

Our Place

More photos later....

April 1, 2006

Lido Restaurant

Tonight we went for dinner at Lido Restaurant, which part of the "Lido Dining and Entertainment Complex" at Elbow Beach Hotel. Lido is right on the edge of the beach, surrounded on 3 sides by large glass windows. Needless to say the view is nice. While eating your dinner, you can look out at the horizon, or watch the waves lap against the shore. Summer evenings would be better than spring, because you will have more daylight during dinner.

The food was quite good. I had "specials" for both appetizer and main course. The appetizer was seafood carpaccio, with 3 types: swordfish, salmon, and I forget the other one. It was very tasty, but it didn't live up to memory of swordfish carpaccio. The only time I have seen this on a menu before was in an Italian restaurant in Amsterdam, and it simply melted in your mouth. For the main course I had the Mahi Mahi in a provecal sauce. I like Mahi Mahi a lot and it tased very good. Michelle had the scallops and the scallops, and both were good.

The service was good. Apart from a slight mix-up with Michelle's tea with dessert, they were attentive and friendly.

I recommend Lido Restaurant for a summer evening dinner - its better if you are there in daylight, because of the view. I am not sure if they serve brunch on weekends, that also would be nice.