Sat 20 May 2006 15:40
We spent nine days in Bermuda,  it's quite an odd place, a bit like the Isle of Wight on a hot day but with a lot of American cruise ships.  Hamilton is the capital but yachts in transit come into St Georges habour a few miles east.  It's very British, there are Union Jacks flying and teapots and tartan for sale.  We are now 12 degrees north of the Caribbean and the big shock is the cold.  Although it's warm, even hot, during the day the nights are chilly and there's dew on the deck in the morning.  We had to search out our duvets and sleeping bags, stowed since November, I think we may have to find some socks for the night watches to  the Azores.  
Regina came in a few days before us and secured us a place at the sought after Captain Smokes marina.  It only takes about six boats and they all turned out to be a very friendly bunch.  Most of them were headed north to the New York area but there are many yachts nearby leaving for the Azores.   Bernie runs the marina, he arrives every morning on his scooter and tells us how much he loves Europeans, he himself is from Swedish stock so Regina were firm favourites.  Among the facilities Bernie provides is a barbecue, it's almost like having a kitchen !
From the left, Jonathan, Leon, Carolina, Jessica, Penny, Anna and Jack.    And by lucky conicidence this week, it was Leon and Eddie's birthdays.  Eddie decided to have an official birthday while Andy and Jack and Regina were still with us, so managed to stretch his celebrations from the..
..the 13th to...
...the 18th May.  
The party on the 13th began with a walk to a nearby beach, Tobacco Bay.   It's on the north side of Bermuda facing the reef which protects the island, the sea is quite still,  and the rocks amazing, like hard pumice eroded into columns.  Andy (once a geology student) explained that it's sands dunes that have become limestone, well I think that was he said...
However the problem with the beaches on Bermuda is the sea is too cold !!  
A bone chilling 23 degrees and not one of the children put their shoulders under, the adults didn't even paddle.
We then walked around the corner to St Catherine's Fort and back into St Georges.
This is the view coming back into town with Ordinance Island in centre and our marina behind.
Later that evening we gathered on Regina where Leon put on his birthday T-shirt.  This is a Southbound II joke, and not a reference to Leon's illicit passtimes, I'm sure he has none  !!
We drank champagne and ate at Cafe Gio, a great restaurant in St Georges.
Andy was determined to see the whole island before he and Jack went home, and the best way by far is on a hired scooter.  It was a great success and we all got ride around the town.
Still seeking more thrills Andy hired a jet ski.  Here he is with Jack on the back, with their guide and Anna close behind, as they zoom past Tamarisk.
On Andy and Jack's last day we took a ferry up to the West End of Bermuda to visit the Dockyard.  It's very similar to Nelson's Dockyard in Antigua but bigger and with cruise ships. 
After a little swimming and climbing, there was time for a sit down and an ice cream.
Tim had stayed behind to service the engine and try to get our soggy radar fixed, he managed the first but the radar needed more attention.  So the next day we motored back the Dockyard to get the work done.  The quickest way was right through the centre of the island along a wide inlet and out into the lagoon, here we are en route going through the swingbridge. 
We tide up at the marina in the Dockyard and by lunch time we had a working radar and we headed back to St Georges.  The weather was on the turn, a deep low was expected to cross Bermuda the next day with 50 mile an hour gusts forecast.  On advice from Bernie we tucked into the south west corner of the harbour and waited for the wind to come.   We had the kedge at the ready and took turns on anchor watch, fortunately in our sheltered position we rarely saw more than 30 knots. 
At 10 o'clock the next morning the cold front past over us, the rain was tremendous and the visibility almost zero.   But in true Bermudan fashion by the afternoon the sky
cleared, the wind dropped to nothing, the temperature soared and we were back at Captain Smokes
This is Anna and Eddie on the quayside with some Volcano Science homework.  It involved some vinegar and some bicarbonate of soda...a little shake...
....and we have our own pyroclastic event.   Great goggles Anna.
Another low pressure is coming this way next week so all the yachts are moving to get ahead of it.  We, along with friends onboard Aromatic, are leaving on Saturday 20th.  The ARC Europe fleet will follow in a few days time.  Most of the friends we've spent  the past year are at sea now, some have chosen to bite the bullet and head straight for the Azores from the Caribbean on a three weeks passage, others are on their way to Bermuda and we hope will be close behind us.
John Sprange - an old friend, who sails out of Bradwell - has joined us for the crossing to the Azores. John is an ex-merchant seaman, who used to crew Greenpeace boats. We'll be joined by his wife Penny and daughter Sparky in the Azores. This is us having brunch just before leaving Bermuda.