Bermuda is strictly speaking not in the Caribbean, it is a hook-shaped collection of atolls linked by causeways and bridges to produce a 22 mile-long island. With a land-mass of only 21 square miles it is one of the smallest territories in the world
It is divided into nine parishes each named after shareholders of the Virginia Company that helped colonise the island. It has a remarkable history and was first spotted by Juande Bermudez from whom we get the name "Bermuda". A popular sailing destination and with the new docks at Point Pleasant Marina it makes the island even more enticing.
It was an English admiral with a crew of 150 men that actually landed in 1609, not by choice but by dint of being shipwrecked on the Bermudan reef. The island was uninhabited until then and in 1684 the island became a British colony. Celebrations to mark the 400th birthday have been taking place and Queen Elizabeth herself is to join in the festivities that close on the 12th of December 2009.
Bermuda's naval history is evident from the numerous disused forts and gun emplacements around the island but the tourists flock to see the coral pink beaches and enjoy the sub-tropical climate with average annual highs of 75 degrees F and lows of 67 degrees F. Although perfect for golf and other land- based games, swimmers sometimes find the water a little cool from January to March. This is because the island, though warmed by the Gulf Stream, has the Atlantic Ocean on both sides of the island and, it must be appreciated, is some 1000 miles north of the Caribbean.
To really enjoy the islands culture and its history the traveller by chartered yacht might start at the north-eastern tip of the island where the town of St George's is sheltered by the Castle Harbour with St David's lighthouse and the L. F. Wade International Airport. The town of St George has plenty of narrow streets to explore as well as the State House, once the home to Bermuda's first parliament. Nearby is St Peter's church, the oldest continually-used Anglican Church in the western Hemisphere. Not surprisingly, the town of St George has been added to UNESCO's World Heritage list since the year 2000.
Sailing round the coast anti-clockwise leads the yachting enthusiast to discover Hamilton, the beautiful capital and only city on Bermuda. This is the spot to jump ship.
A stroll round the waterfront (Front Street) leads to a raised area with a replica of the London Cenotaph at its centre. This backs on to the home of Bermuda's current parliament house called the grand Sessions House. Continuing past the Anglican cathedral and the white-fronted City Hall and Arts Centre, the stroll will take you back to the harbour. If luncheon on shore is needed the Hamilton harbour has Portofino and Fourways Inn or on the waterfront itself the lively restaurant called the Pickled Onion. If transport to the airport is required buses and taxis are available. The fun - day to enjoy Hamilton's waterfront is "Bermuda Day" which is held every 25th of May, originally to celebrate Queen Victoria's birthday. It was also a chance for the various organisations to parade along Front Street with colourful floats depicting different themes supported by Majorettes, Gombey dancers and local musicians. Thousands line the streets for this annual event, often booking their places the night before.
A tour of the island, by yacht, would not be complete without sailing from Hamilton across the Great Sound to view the Royal Naval Dockyard and "Sandys" or the western tip of the island. The Naval dockyard has parts of its fortress and crumbling Victorian warehouses, incorporated and on exhibition in the Bermuda Maritime Museum that is open from 9.30 am until 5 pm. (last entries at 3 pm. )
After returning home from such an experience you will be even more convinced about the pleasures yachting can bring, and Bluewater are here to be at your service.