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Sunday, May 9, 2010

Bermuda 3 to 9 May 2010

Entered the narrow Town Cut entrance to St George, Bermuda at 1300hrs on Monday 3 May

and tied up to the customs dock on Ordnance Island.

After filling in a few forms and paying our 35 dollar each check in fee to the friendly officials, we anchored close by in the Convict Bay Anchorage - good holding in 5 meters (32deg22.7N 064deg 40.3W).

There was one Cruise Ship in the harbour - since we were here last June, very few cruise ships stop here partly because the Town Cut is too narrow for the larger ships. Most dock in Dockyards close to the capital Hamilton.

Bermuda celebrated its 400th Anniversary last June - The first UK settlers arrived by accident from the UK on the Sea Venture which was ship wrecked close to St George on 9 June 1609 on its way to the colony in Jameston in Virginia.

There is a statue of Sir George Somers, admiral of the Sea Venture and generally honoured as Bermuda's founder, on Ordnance island.

Many of the well preserved buildings in St George date back to this period onwards.

In the Town Hall there is a case displaying some of our Queen's crowns (so she does not have to bring them from the UK when on official visits?).

Every Wednesday at 1000hrs BIOS (Bermuda Institue of Ocean Sciences) welcomes visitors to a tour of the facilities.

Vanessa, our very informative guide, gave us an overview of BIOS's role in monitoring the state of the ocean providing amongst other things, invaluable data on the effect of global warming on the planet.

We were taken to various labs where the researchers gave up some of their time to explain what they were researching - from chemical defence mechanisms of marine organisms to inorganic carbon disolved in sea water profiling to trace elements to growing algae to produce diesel.

Every so often the researchers sail on their large research vessel the Atlantic Explorer to take samples of the ocean water using there computer operated sampling equipment down to depths of several thousand meters.

Being situated on top of a seamount, Bermuda is in the unique position of having safe harbours surrounded by the ocean with depths plummeting to over 4000 meters within a few miles of the coast - most ocean research centres would have to sail many miles before reaching such depths. Bermuda is also unique as, due to the close proximity of the Gulf Stream, the water is warm enough to allow Coral reefs to thrive at such a high lattitude (32deg N).

Bermuda has an excellent transport system with a comprehensive bus system plus regular fast cat ferry service between St George, Dockyards and Hamilton - for 55 US dollars, one can buy a month pass entitling one to unlimited bus and ferry usage.

During the week we have been here we have visited Hamilton a few times as well as other parts of the island. The Dutch Cruise ship Veendam was in Hamilton.

During one of the trips, we paid a visit to the High Court where a trial was underway of a gang who had conducted a brutal attack on the defendant. That night someone was shot dead at the same house where the first attack had taken place a month earlier - although tiny, Bermuda also has its crime problems - may be exacerbated by the current economic downturn.

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