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Crossing – Day 0 – noon local time

We’ve checked out of customs. Reef lines fitted. Now all we need to do is top up the fuel, stow the dinghy and lash down a few things on deck. We should be leaving Bermuda between 2pm and 3pm. Some boats in the fleet have already left. Seems everyone has the same idea.

Right now I am uploading more photos / vids. This will be the last set before we reach the Azores as I won’t have the bandwidth. If I get a chance I’ll place one more blog as we leave the island.

Crossing – Day 0

May 20 10:42GMT
32º22.743N 64º40.139’W
SOG (Speed over Ground): 0

Yesterday evening started off in St Georges Dinghy and Yacht club. There was supposed to be food laid on followed by prize giving for the boats that came up from Antigua. In the end there was no food – something to do with the cook going AWOL and no substitute available. The prize giving did occur though. Windancer IV won a couple of prizes in the Multihull division – first and last. That’s because she’s the only Multihull in the fleet going east this year. First prize was a bottle of rum. I say was because now it’s just a bottle. Rum punches both at the bar and back on the boat were the order of the evening. We stayed up quite late chatting about stuff and each other so we’ve learned one or two things. So far no one seems to be a closet axe murderer which is comforting.

Today’s goal is to leave as soon as we can. There are some lows coming in from the west which we really would like to get ahead of. The forecast suggests that the faster boats than can leave sooner will suffer the least from the bad weather associated with these fronts. Before we leave we have three or four chores. We need to have two of the reefing lines fixed. A rigger is due this morning to fix these. We need to fill up the fuel tanks. We need to do one last reprovisioning and we need to check out. With a bit of luck we’ll be off soon after midday. We’ll see.

Early departure

Today we visited the Crystal Caves which I would recommend to any visitors to Bermuda. Helen and I had lunch nearby and went for a walk at the shore before heading off to the airport where we parted company.

I have now officially joined the crew of Windancer IV. Looking at the weather for the next few days it is looking more and more like a Tuesday departure being preferential to the originally planned Wed departure. We know two boats are leaving in the morning. We may stay until after a 4pm weather brief but that’s not fully decided yet.

That’s all for now.

Walking in Bermuda

Yesterday the weather forecast wasn’t too good but it started off nice. We decided to walk to the Horticultural Gardens and see how the day panned out. The gardens were pleasant and peaceful but not exactly inspiring. The weather was still holding out so we decided to try and find a road that led to the coast. In trying to find a shortcut out of the gardens we managed to stumble upon a rubbish dump which we hastily moved on through. Finding the coast was not so easy but it did mean we walked through some very nice residential areas. The properties reminded us of those in South Africa but without the bars on the windows. We did eventually find our way to the coast but it was a private bay which we felt we shouldn’t explore.

We then walked back to town and on the way we passed the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute which we entered. The museum was interesting although it was geared more for children.

We then had a pub lunch. Helen had steak and kidney pie and I had bangers and mash – absolutely delicious. Having walked for a total of four hours and after the previous days cycling we were feeling pretty exhausted so we headed back to the hotel and rested the afternoon. In the evening we went out and had pizza and a few glasses of wine at a dockside bar.

Today Helen will be flying home and I will be joining the crew of Windancer IV. Before then we intend to squeeze in a visit to the Crystal Caves.

Cycle Ride

Yesterday morning we rented bikes to explore the island. On the advice of the store owner we took the bikes on the ferry over to the Naval Dockyard in order to cycle back to Hamilton. Most of the cycle ride was along an old railway track. The rails and sleepers are long gone. Much of it is paved over and in a lot of cases simply gone. The old bridges are gone as well as the trellises over dips in the land. While the majority of the trip was fairly even, following the railway grade, where we came to missing trellises/bridges the was an inevitable dip and a climb out on the other side.

Along the way we took a couple of stops. The first was Scaur Hill Fort. We spotted a sign pointing to it up a footpath up a hill through the trees. Helen wisely pushed her bike up the path whereas I decided to cycle up it. At one point I ended up falling off my bike and landed in a bush which was not too prickly. The fort was pretty interesting. It was built in the 1860s at the time when fortifications of this sort was becoming obsolete. It had a few innovations to deal with the changes in warfare at the time. Best of all it was empty of visitors. I don’t know what it is like on cruise ship days but yesterday we had the place to ourselves.Later on our ride we were getting hungry and passed close to Gibb’s Lighthouse which was situated on a high point. Helen wasn’t so keen on ascending that far but was torn when she realized we could eat lunch there. We had seen little signs of places to eat along the way so lunch won the day. The path we saw leading to the lighthouse rapidly became very steep which required us to carry the bikes. We eventually reached the top feeling pretty exhausted.Lunch was nice. I had a cornish pasty, the first in many years, and Helen had fish and chips. We decided not to climb the 180 odd steps to the top of the lighthouse as our legs outvoted our minds (my mind at least). The remainder of the cycle ride was uneventful but quite pleasant.

Back at the hotel we crashed for a bit before heading off to the football ground to watch the soccer. The game was so-so with the visitors winning 1-0 from a penalty in the first four minutes. We ate fish and chips (Helen seems to be missing it) from the concessionary stand and had a few beers while we watched. I’m glad we went as we picked up the local atmosphere. In the second half the local team seemed to be getting the upper hand and every one was quite excited and cheering on.

Plans for today are not extensive. There are some underground caves which seem pretty interesting. I also fancy a pub lunch which we don’t get in the US. The weather is not expected to be brilliant so somewhere underground may be appropriate.