Two weeks have transpired since we safely arrived in Bermuda. How does it feel to be sailing around Bermuda and anchoring rather than living in a marina?
It feels outstanding…and I mean amazingly outstanding.
Our five-day sailing to Bermuda trip from Charleston, South Carolina to paradise had it moments. There was a bit of wind, no wind, sun, rain – you name it, we had it. For most of the trip I was seasick often doubting my decision to be a sailor. At one point I cried out, ‘why did we choose our first sail to be five very long days?!’ (Watch our sailing to Bermuda video)
But I had to keep reminding myself that seasickness reduces in severity over time. My body was out of practice. It wasn’t accustomed to the Atlantic swell.
And previous to the long sail it took even longer to provision and prepare the boat for passage (watch that video to see how we did it).
With the swells behind us and the calm St George’s Harbour surrounding us in comfort, I was reminded as to the benefits of living on the hook.
Every morning I wake to a beautiful rising sun, the sent of Jasmine and Frangipani the air, soft waves lapping along the hull and a backdrop full of soft blues, oranges and yellows. A calmness pervades the boat and it remains all day!
I can see normal life in motion from the boat. The pink and blue number 11 bus heads down the road. Tourists circle the Town Square. Locals drive to their place of employment. The town’s men line up near the coffee shop to talk politics. But there’s a strong sense that I’m removed from that world. It’s a sense that I didn’t get when living in the marina.
The small amount of water between an anchored boat and the land provides enough space to see the reality I choose not to be wholly a part of. And when I do go to land I know it’s only temporary. Instead of being pulled back into the mainstream depressing media, commercialism, multi-tasking, fast-food, fast-everything, an incessant feeling of over-working and underachieving, I instead feel peaceful, do what I came to do and then head back to my island of calm.
I think I was born to live on a boat. It’s truly the only place I feel balanced.
With that being noted, my family and I have spent these first couple weeks doing a variety of ‘normal’ tasks like cooking, cleaning, searching out leaks and finding solutions to remedy them. We’ve polished the chrome deck fittings, had some repairs done to our mainsail and replaced quite a bit of teak deck calking.
Our daughter, Sienna, does her homeschooling right after breakfast. She does a bit of reading, mathematics, writing, language arts, spelling and special projects. We often save science for later in the day where we learn about the weather and log the vitals – temperature, cloud coverage, cloud type and rainfall. Or we perform some sort of chemical experiment and record our findings – combing vinegar and baking soda is always a winner.
In between our homework and chores, we enjoy at least three swims off the back of the boat each day.
The water is refreshing and enlivening. One dip provides a coolness that can revive any lull in energy.
At anchor there’s always fresh air and thus far we’ve found the Bermudian breeze to be perfect. It’s not too hot and it’s not too cold. If it wasn’t for the hurricanes this tiny little rock gets, the location would get my gold seal approval for the best summer anchorage spot ever. But alas, we faithfully check tropical storm formation off the coast of Africa every morning. It brings me great joy when my husband, Simon, yells out, ‘No tropical storms on the radar. We’re good for at least another five days.’
We’ve lived through one named storm and one Category 1 Hurricane. For me, that’s enough for a lifetime. I’ve never been more scared in my life than when Hurricane Matthew hit Charleston in 2016. But let me get back to my peaceful floating atoll…
Before leaving the States I acquired a couple solar cooking ovens.
A few months ago I never knew that cooking by sun was possible. Sure, my mom used to say, ‘it’s hot enough to cook and egg on the hood of the car!’ but I personally knew it didn’t work. Yes – I tried to cook an egg on our car when I was kid and all it did was leave a terrible mess.
While surfing Amazon for my next read their fancy system introduced a book to me called, ‘Cooking With Sunshine,’ by Anderson and Palkovic and I was immediately intrigued. I’m not sure how Amazon does it but they’ve got me pegged. A few minutes later the book was ordered and two day’s later I knew my future would be filled with sun cooked food.
Unable to test my solar cooker until we arrived in Bermuda, I was initially disappointed with the cloud cover. For our first week we had several severe thunderstorms and loads of dark looming clouds. I was about to give up but the weather broke and we’ve had over a week of beautifully sunny days.
The sun cooker I started my learning curve with is called the Solarvore Sport Sun Cooker.
It came with the cooker, temperature gage, two pots, a water purification device and an information booklet with some recipes. I thought I’d start slowly and make some vegetarian meals. The idea of having meat or fish sitting in the sun didn’t feel appealing.
Our first solar cooked meal was sweet potato and black bean tacos. I followed the recipe, threw a bunch of ingredients into the provided pot, stirred them up and put them in the cooker. Simon, Sienna and I kept watching the temperature gauge. Within ten minutes it was up to 200F. After an hour or so, we then left the boat and went for a swim at the famous snorkeling beach, Tobacco Bay.
As we swam our dinner was being baked with the power of the sun!
The solar cooking booklet highlighted that there’s a very small chance for overcooking so set the food in the cooker in the morning and leave it all day. And as long as the temperature is over 180F for the more than ½ hour in every hour, the food is cooking (rather than not cooking and potentially growing bacteria!). After a very enjoyable day at the beach, we all returned to the most amazing smells wafting off the back of Britican.
The sweet potato and bean tacos were a hit. The potato was perfectly cooked and all the ingredients infused to make a taste sensation.
After our first success, I went on to make a Moroccan Tangine, a pot of rice, baked potatoes and boiled eggs! The rice I cooked for three hours – 1 cup of rice and 1 ½ cups of water with a dab of butter. It was the best rice I’ve ever made.
So – I’m now hooked on solar cooking and I think the Solavore Sport Solar Oven is brilliant. When I try using other solar cookers I’ll be better apt to write a review on what I like/don’t like about the various options. As it stands now I’m such a newbie so I can’t really comment (so watch this space!)
And Simon and I are discussing our options for green energy.
Until our success with the solar cooker I didn’t feel that power from solar or wind would benefit us enough. We already have solar panels that help keep the batteries charged when everything is off. But my issue is that we need to run the generator to run our electric cooker, water maker and washing machine.
Currently there’s no green energy that will power such massive draws.
However, now that I have the ability to cook without our electric cooker, we’d only need to run the generator every few days (instead of ever day_ – that is…if we had green energy to keep the batteries topped up.
In other words, as it currently stands, we run the generator every day to cook, make water, do the laundry and top up the batteries. If I don’t have to use the cooker and I had something organically topping up the batteries, we’d only need the genset every few days to do laundry/make water.
So…discussions have started about generating enough amps to power our DC Panel. The main draws on that are the fridge, freezer and inverter (for our plugs – to charge our computer, Ipad, camera’s, etc.). By covering those, we won’t have to use the generator to top the batteries up…we’ll only use it for high-powered draws. So…interesting times ahead.
So, while anchored in St George’s Bay, Bermuda, life is easy for a sailor.
First of all, the anchorage has excellent holding and it’s sheltered from the Atlantic. The very narrow entrance provides quite a calm bay that feels worlds apart from the Atlantic rollers just outside the landmass.
The views in every direction of the boat are appealing. The water is often the sought-after turquoise green-blue that tells you you’re in paradise. The visibility of the bay, however, has not been very clear. After reading up on Bermuda we did however discover that the months of July and August have the worst visibility due to algae growth. But don’t get me wrong – it’s 100% better than the brown muddy polluted water of Charleston.
After a very short dinghy ride to the dedicated dinghy dock you’ll find a fantastic restroom. I’ve seen my share of disgusting public toilets… Italy is renown for them. Bermuda, however, is the exact opposite. The public restroom outside the Customs & Immigration dock is top notch. It’s a shame they didn’t install showers for sailors but at least you can get onto land and have an enjoyable, shall I say ‘movement’?! Hehehehe.
You’ll also find the Tourist Information office, a small supermarket with a good selection of items and ‘fast hot food’. Additionally, there’s a laundromat, pharmacy, bus station and several eateries close by. There are two mobile phone carriers on the island. SIM cards can be purchases in a handful amount of places. If, however you want a data SIM, you’ll need to get that at the main Digicel branch in Hamilton.
And the options for day trips from St George’s is plentiful.
The amount of things to do and places to go within walking distance of the anchorage are plenty. Furthermore, the buses are easy to understand and there’s even a fast ferry that takes passengers from St Georges over to the Naval Dockyards directly. And every museum, attraction, display and even public restroom is kept to the highest standard.
It didn’t take long to realize that Bermuda is a well kept, wealthy island. Unlike the poverty you see in the Caribbean and other islands around the world, Bermudians have a high standard of living.
But allow me to stop here. In future articles and video’s I’ll cover what to do and see in St George’s, Hamilton, Naval Dockyards and Beyond…and an overall review of the island (from a sailors perspective).
And if you’re interested in sailing to and around Bermuda make sure to read/watch:
- How to prepare and provision your boat for passage and provisioning a boat for passage – Video
- Sailing to Bermuda Video – Video showcasing the five day trip from Charleston, SC to St George, Bermuda
- Sailing to Bermuda – Article detailing the preparing, provisioning and five day sail across the Atlantic Ocean
VIDEO: Sailing Around Bermuda – Life at Anchor
What more from Sailing Britican?
Well…if you like reading about our adventures, please make sure to read my book! It covers our first three years and over 18,500 miles of traveling from the Med across the Atlantic, up the Caribbean and along the east coast of America. The book also covers the lead up to why and how we sold up to sail away.