The National Museum of Bermuda

The National Museum of Bermuda explores the maritime and island history of Bermuda. The maritime museum is located within the grounds of the fortress keep of the former Royal Naval Dockyard.

The Commissioner’s House is used to display a number of exhibitions. The basement shows Bermuda’s Defence Heritage, a display about Bermuda’s defenses and fortifications since 1612, and the role of local forces in World War I and World War II (this is devoted only to the British aspect of Bermuda’s naval and military history, although there is a separate exhibit devoted to the United States bases). The pillared hall is site of a two-story History of Bermuda mural by the Bermudian artist Graham Foster. The main floor has a number of themes related to Bermuda’s history including slavery, immigration, and tourism. One room is dedicated to the history of the Bermuda Race. The upper floor contains collections of maps, books, coins, maritime art, and exhibits concerning activities of the Royal Navy and the US Forces, specifically during World War II. Other buildings show shipwreck artifacts, local watercraft, or are under renovation.

Other outbuildings house various exhibits. The Queen’s Exhibition Hall/1850 Ordnance House contained a display pertaining to underwater archeology. The building known as the Boat Loft contains historic local watercraft, a collection of vintage outboard motors, and a fascinating two-story clock mechanism.

The “Other End” Of Bermuda: St. George’s

On our second day in Bermuda we took a ferry from the Royal Naval Dockyard to the town of St. George’s, located on St. George’s Island on the east end of Bermuda. St. George’s was established in 1612 as New London, and was the original English settlement on Bermuda. St. George’s served as the capital of Bermuda until 1815, when it was moved to Hamilton.

Downtown St. George’s is a quaint little place, pretty quiet except just before and after the arrival of the ferry. It also serves as the dock for smaller cruise ships, and the Oceania Insignia was docked there during our visit. The shops and restaurants there were very nice. For my money I would revisit St. George’s before returning to Hamilton, due to the hustle and bustle of the larger capital city.

After our tour, waiting for the time to return to the ferry, we had a very yummy lunch at Wahoo’s Bistro, a restaurant recommended by our guide. They are known for their fresh seafood, including their “Fish Sandwich” which consists of lightly fried local fish on raisin bread, with a tangy sauce. It’s a little hard to imagine the combination, but believe me when I say it was delicious! Sadly, I don’t have a photo of it. πŸ™ We also indulged and had a Yellow Bird, a Bermudian cocktail made with rum (Gosling’s, of course!), pineapple and orange juice, Creme de Banana and simple syrup. We only had one (each) so we would be able to make it back to the ferry dock!

Royal Naval Dockyard

Most cruise ships that visit Bermuda dock or tender at Royal Naval Dockyard, which sits at the very northwestern tip of the island. Originally established as a base for Britain’s Royal Navy, the Dockyard occupies a strategic location in the Atlantic and has played a role in many naval operations, including a key role in the War of 1812, when the British blockade of American ports was orchestrated from Bermuda.

Today the Dockyard is primarily a marina and shipping port, complete with a requisite shopping areas and restaurants, including the ubiquitous Diamonds International. The “shopping mall” was a disappointing collection of t-shirt shops and souvenir stands, a far cry from the high end shops on Front Street in Hamilton. We wasted too much time there, missing out on visiting the Bermuda Transport Museum as well as a potential lunch at a restaurant that one of our guides recommended. Next time!

Adjacent to the Dockyard is the National Museum of Bermuda, including the former Commissioner’s House which sits atop a hill overlooking the bay. I’ll detail that in another post as it is a destination unto itself.

Wikipedia article about the Dockyard

More From Bermuda

I got a bit out of sequence with my Bermuda posts and intend to finish them up this week. Here are a few more photos from our Day One tour around the “west end” of the island outside of Hamilton. It included stops at an apartment complex where we saw examples of lower-end (although still pretty nice!) housing and a higher end neighborhood. We made a stop at the Gibbs Hill Lighthouse, The Reefs Resort and Club, a beautiful oceanfront resort that we could easily go back to, and the Port Royal Golf course, which hosts a PGA tournament in October.

Interesting factoid: the white roofs are symbolic of Bermuda because the houses collect rainwater from the roof system to cisterns beside or below the structure. Water is very expensive to buy, and outside the cities there is little to no infrastructure. The design of the roof has multiple benefits. Made of limestone it is heavy and not easily shifted by hurricanes. In the past the limestone was covered in a lime mortar, which had anti-bacterial properties. Today, the mortar has been replaced by paint. It’s still white, because this reflects ultra-violet light from the sun, which also helps to purify the water.

Bermudans are very water conscious. In fact, one of our guides told us he uses a bucket to collect the water that runs while he waits for his (solar heated) shower to warm up. He uses that water for other household purposes rather than waste it.

Tale Of A Print

Fishing trawler “Cape Point” in the marina at Southport, North Carolina

I don’t do much to promote my work these days, and never really have, actually. I did assignment work for a couple of magazines and I had photos with a local stock agent at one time, but both of those went away as microstock took over. Since then it has been completely hit or miss. Now, I mostly give prints away to friends and family, but once in a while I get an inquiry from an art consultant, magazine or website wanting to purchase a print or license an image. Mostly by accident, I’ve actually sold some photos that now hang in pretty interesting places.

A few weeks ago I received an email from a partner in a new restaurant (now open) out on the coast of North Carolina. It’s called Salt 64 and is located in Oak Island. Turns out the chef is the former chef at a restaurant we’re familiar with in Mooresville, NC. And he is friends with a friend who runs a frame shop and gallery there. Small world.

So Erika (the partner) found this photo of mine on my website through a search, and wanted to know about buying a print of it for the restaurant. She said that she was decorating the restaurant with local photography, that the boat “Cape Point” is owned by a cousin of the chef, and she wanted to surprise him with the photo. So I had a print made and shipped to her. She loves it and so does the chef!

I asked her to pay me in food, so Kathy & I are going to head out to the coast in a few weeks with plans to stop by Salt 64 for dinner one night! Can’t wait to see my photo hanging on the wall!

By the way, not to give away trade secrets, but when I got the request for a print, I went back and re-processed the photo to make it more print-worthy. I had done some very basic work on the original version, but decided to use some of the tools in my Lightroom toolbox to kick it up a notch or two. I often do that anyway with photos I plan to print, but this one just hadn’t hit my radar. While the old version was pretty nice, the new one is really nice, I think!

Originally processed version

Modes Of Transport: Bermuda

Here is a brief look at a few of the forms of transportation on the island of Bermuda.

Small cars are big in Bermuda. Buses only hold a dozen or so people. Even the garbage trucks are small. Much more practical cars than we have here in the states. Electric vehicles are also very popular – the island is so small that you don’t need to worry about range, and with the tiny cars they are easy to park. Just don’t bring a lot of luggage!

The guy in the wheelbarrow? No idea! He might have been injured, but more likely had overindulged on Dark & Stormys. πŸ˜‰

A Bridge Not Too Far

Somerset Bridge, known as the “worlds shortest drawbridge.”

One of the famous “attractions” in Bermuda is the Somerset Bridge, reputedly the smallest working drawbridge in the world. The bridge connects Somerset Island with the mainland in the western parish of Sandys, crossing a small channel connecting the Great Sound with Ely’s Harbour.

From Wikipedia (almost as reliable as a Snapple bottle cap) πŸ˜‰ :

“The bridge is mentioned in the acts of Bermuda’s first parliament, held in St. George’s on 1 August 1620. Bridges were to be constructed at Somerset, the Flatts, and Coney Island. Additionally, the road from Somerset to Warwick was to be improved, and extended to Castle Point. The bridge appears on a 1624 map of Bermuda.

The bridge is opened by hand, creating a 32-inch gap that allows the passage of a sailboat’s mast. The drawbridge is depicted on a Bermudian banknote.”

Somerset Bridge, known as the “worlds shortest drawbridge.”
Somerset Bridge, known as the “worlds shortest drawbridge.”

The bridge is used very rarely these days, as most sailboats do not traverse that channel, either due to size or draft.

These guys are used to being fed. They didn’t stick around when it was apparent we had no treats!

Hamilton, Bermuda

Our cruise ship docked in Bermuda at the Royal Naval Dockyard, which is located on the northwest side of the island. We were there for essentially three days – from 8am on Wednesday until 4pm on Friday. The ship acted as our hotel – we could come and go as we pleased. No having to be back on board at a given time at night. As long as we made it back to the ship on Friday afternoon we were good! In fact, if we had friends there or otherwise wanted to stay at a hotel or a resort on the island we could have done that. Of course Kathy & I returned to the ship each night. Why, when we already had a place to sleep? πŸ˜‰

We booked a tour on the first day that took us around the west side of the island and included the capital of Hamilton. Hamilton is a busy little town, with a Front Street full of shops and restaurants, and the side and back streets occupied by the offices of multinational insurance and banking companies that take advantage of favorable legal and tax regulations. We spent a short time walking around the town, mostly ducking into shops to take advantage of the air conditioning – it was hot!

Our tour took us back to the ship in the early afternoon. We had a dinner reservation back in town that evening, so returned via ferry from the Dockyard to downtown Hamilton.

These photos are specifically from Hamilton, and I’ll do a series of posts from some of the other locations we visited. We did another tour on our second day, and spent the third day exploring the Dockyard. I’ve got photos from those days, too! Should provide plenty of material for a while. πŸ™‚


Bits From Bermuda

Celebrity Summit docked at Royal Naval Dockyard, Bermuda

I’ve finished processing the photos from our visit to Bermuda, and have posted them to my Adobe Portfolio site under ‘2022-07 Celebrity Summit to Bermuda.’ As usual, this is a lot of photos but a fraction of those I took! I’ll post a few at a time and talk about them here over the coming days.

Verandah of The Commissioners House. National Museum of Bermuda, at the Royal Naval Dockyard. (Yes, they eventually left! )

Photographs and stuff!