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The Devil’s Isle – Day One

by Patrick O'Halloran
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The Devil’s Isle. So named by the early Spanish settlers here. Soon after their arrival, they were dismayed by the cacophony of shrill bird song they could hear at night. Something they said sounded not unlike a woman screaming. So dismayed by this along with other perceived evil creatures of the deep that they soon left the islands leaving it ripe for the taking by the British. The Brits were less dismayed by the noisy birds, soon discovering they tasted a lot like chicken and proceeded to kill and eat most of them. Problem solved. The British influence on Bermuda remains to this day.

At around 9am we get our first sight of The Devils Isle as Eclipse sails close to its northernmost tip. The sea water has turned a noticeable shade of blue where it shallows near the coast. The pilot joins the ship soon after and guides our ship on a north-westerly route around the island and down its west coast until we reach the Royal Dockyards. We dock at Heritage Quay with a clear view of the Commissioners House on the hill overlooking the dock.

We had a dilemma in coming to Bermuda for the first time. We wanted to see as much as we could in the limited time we had here. We were lucky that our stop was an overnight one but we still only had 24 hours. Our initial plan was to explore the Dockyard, have an early dinner on the ship, then do our planned sunset catamaran cruise and then take the ferry over to the capital Hamilton in the evening. We were thwarted in that the ferries stop running early evening which meant they only way to return was by road. A 70-minute journey compared to the 20-minute ferry crossing. So instead we decided to go visit Hamilton as soon as we docked.

We head out from Eclipse and make our way to the Visitor Centre to buy our tokens for the ferry. We get there just ahead of most people as the line grows very long soon afterwards. We board the ferry and are soon crossing the sound over to Hamilton. Gorgeous, and obviously expensive, looking houses can be seen to the left. Once docked we make sure to check the time of return ferries as we don’t want to be late for our excursion later.

Hamilton is very small so there is not a lot to see. We learn very quickly that you would need deep pockets to live here. It’s very expensive. As an example, we find ourselves in a local supermarket looking for sweets to take home with us (we buy Rum Cake instead). We spot they sell a lot of familiar British products. Noticeably tins of celebration, heroes and quality street chocolates. Back home you can pick up for £5 per tin. Here the same would set you back £22…eek. Good cure for chocolate addiction.

We wander the narrow streets and up to the impressive looking church and parliaments buildings. A stroll through a quaint looking park where office works are lunching. We see so many guys wearing the traditional Bermuda Short with long socks. They look kinda comical. Doesn’t stop Peter buying himself a pair of shorts although he does skip the long socks. After a nice ice cold beer, we head back to the ferry for the trip back to the Royal Dockyards.

We get back aboard, shower and change and head out to the pier again to join our tour. It’s a White Night Catamaran Sunset Cruise. The theme as you guessed is white. It’s easy to spot our fellow cruisers as most are dressed accordingly. Some clearly didn’t get the memo. Since when did beige become white?

We were met on the pier by the captain of the vessel who escorted us all personally to the Rising Son ll Catamaran. There we meet and are introduced to the other 3 members of the crew. All were very friendly and pleased to have us on board. There was plenty of alcohol freely available in the shape of Champagne and Rum Swizzles (delicious). Peter and I sit toward the front of the ship with a few other guests. The rest stayed at the back where the drink is.

One of the crew joined us up front and gave out lots of information on the route we would take as well as the history of the islands, it’s inhabitants (both human and animal) and lots of fun and interesting facts all told in a tongue in cheek manner.

We sailed close by to the houses of some of the wealthy people of Bermuda that we saw earlier on the ferry. Prices are eye-watering. We sail almost to Hamilton again before turning around and heading back toward the Royal Dockyard through a group of small islands. We were treated to a stunning sunset and the crew had timed the position of the boat to perfection to enable us to enjoy it to the max.

It’s dark by the time we come ashore. We have a quick walk around the docks themselves but most shops have shut up although there are a couple of pubs open. We head back onboard the ship and prepare for dinner. Rather than our usual routine, we head up to the Sunset Bar at the back of the ship. As we are docked overnight there is a nice view of the dockyard all lit up. Mhairi & Graham had the same idea as they are sat up here and so we join them for a couple of drinks.

Dinner is in Moonlight. Service and food are gain excellent. Our Sommelier was pouring our wine before we had even sat down.

We end the night up on the pool deck for the first pool party of the cruise. The nighttime temperatures are now nice and balmy. We would never have been able to do this last week during the crossing. It’s well attended with people hopping along to a variety of popular songs and older classics. It’s a fun end to a great day.

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