The passage; yachts in distress; gales; friends in Bermuda.
Once again on this passage we had some good and some bad weather. When it was good it was very good; calm seas and favourable winds. But when it was bad it was miserable; confused seas, head winds, squalls and thunder and lightening. However life aboard DW continues, you just hold on tightly to your flapjack or ginger cake, watch carrots fly across the cabin or other veg and fruit roll around on the cabin floor.
For the first time in 18 months our oilskins were out as temperatures cooled and the rain poured. In between, warm sunshine to dry out. With a rather gloomy forecast we raced to arrive in Bermuda before the next front with squally weather, making it with just a day to spare.
Other yachts were not so fortunate and over the following few days those arriving from the Caribbean and the USA took a bit of a pounding. Several yachts arrived with torn sails, damaged steering, in 2 cases no mast, and we listened to Bermuda Radio (coastguard) as 2 yachts were abandoned and left to drift the ocean. Plenty of tired crews could be seen in St Georges that week, grateful for the dry land and the peaceful setting of this historic town. Conditions had been tough out to sea, and even in the safety of St Georges harbour at anchor we kept an anchor watch for 24 hours as winds of up to 45 knots caused chaos around the harbour. All 4 of the closest yachts to us at anchor dragged their picks and had to re-anchor.
Bermuda is a very beautiful set of islands. Full of history, wonderful small bays, forts to explore, crystal clear water, and many friendly and generous people. When we were there we went to lots of old castles, and looked at the huge cannons and guns. We visited a castle called Martello Tower, it was a round tower with a revolving gun on top. We also went to Gates fort, Ferry Island Fort, St Georges Fort and the navel dockyard.
We stayed in the town of St Georges behind the nice protective reef. We went to Hamilton a few times by bus, and me, Grum, George and Jack went to see a parade there as well.
Most interesting of all was our visit to Bermuda Radio who provide safety and advice to all shipping in the Bermudan area, giving lots of reassurance to yachtsman. Ian (from Swansea) was our attentive and informative guide inbetween answering radio calls and contacting vessels spotted on radar. Ian was a star and before our departure visited Double Waters and left us with more books and magazines.
We also went to the Dockyard and watched Indiana Jones in the little cinema. We went to the museum and had a good time learning about the slave trade in Bermuda and about the floating prisons. George , Jack and jed also found new friends aboard S/V Fuerte from the UK and had a couple of good days out exploring. Plus we had the spectacle of watching the fitted dingy racing around the harbour (see pic). Lovely old dinghies with 6 crew.
After about 2 weeks at anchor we went onto a small dock called smokes dock, owned by Bernie the dock master, who was down on his moped whenever we needed him. Bernie (nickname Bitzy) and his wife Lilly were so kind, inviting for tea and rich fruit cake, always answering our questions and sending us on our way with magazines and a supply of oatcake. We had our gearbox checked because it was making strange noises but the mechanic said it was OK. So we started getting ready for the 15 day passage to the Azores. Our other friends, Juergen and Brigitte from S/V Impromptu were lovely neighbours for a few days and they bolstered our snack supplies by giving the boys extra chocolate supplies.
All in all we had a great time, strolling the streets, eating stuff we have not found for the last 18 months, exploring the island, getting freezing in the cold Bermudan water, using the great public transport, catching up on lost sleepů
Grum and Jed