Friday, March 31, 2006

On Holiday

Mid March I traveled to the good ole US of A to visit by best bud Carey in the Philadelphia, PA area and my family in Oklahoma. Carey orchestrated fun-filled days that had us visiting museums and assorted exhibits by day and music venues or concerts at night, including exceptional shows by James Blunt and Lunasa. A certain highlight of my trip was visiting The Barnes Foundation which houses one of the finest collections of French early modern and post-impressionist paintings in the world, including the worlds largest collection of work by Renoir, Cezanne and American artist Maurice Pendergast. FYI, a visit to this gem of a place requires a reservation, but this unique art experience is alone worthy of your visit to the Philly area. Oklahoma was all about eating, visiting with family and eating more, often my grandmothers signature coconut cream pies. My grandmother was relieved to see me unharmed and happy despite my life afloat, and I relished, as always, being spoiled. I spent fun days with my Dad exchanging news about mutual friends and him updating me on the latest in the beef cattle industry, and with my aunt, uncle and their kids (7 of the most adorable and loving miniature schnauzers) or hanging around my uncles newly restored Corvette funny car, Moby Dick. Now I am back on the rock (in Bermuda) where my captain and I are carefully studying 5-day weather forecasts in preparation for our return sail north to Rhode Island. Visit here to see when we officially set sail.

The Rock

Bermuda, locally referred to as The Rock, is a land area of only 21 sq miles long (56 sq km) and about 2 miles (3 km) at its widest point, made up from several islands, many of which are now connected. One can travel from one end to the other in just over an hour (or in my case, about 90 minutes via the pink public buses) and from north to south in 15 minutes. Bermuda began as a volcanic mountain, but most of the volcanic rock is now 450 feet below sea level. The island appears to be made of limestone, clearly visible along the roadways and shorelines, which originated as sand from the reefs that formed dunes and subsequently cemented through the action of rain into rock. Upon close inspection, it is amazing what you can find inside the limestone! As I travel the shorelines there is frequent evidence of quarrying and cutting. Apparently the limestone was commonly used as a building material for protection against hurricanes but the laborious process is used little today (mostly for roofs) and now Bermudian walls are made with concrete blocks. As I roam the island I can’t help but think the concrete companies are doing well as new construction abounds and repairs are still being made to destruction caused by Hurricane Fabian in 2003.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Intoxicated by Flowers

After yet another 7 day stint of only looking at land through a thick wall of wind and rain, today was a cherished play day ashore. And oh what a day. The sun is shining again and the flora is as happy as I am. Influenced by trade winds, Bermuda has a subtropical, not tropical, climate. That means winters are cool and damp, and summers are rarely very hot. Gardens flourish and arable land is farmed year round. I find it interesting that only a few of the many species of plants growing in Bermuda are endemic. Most were introduced and many have become native, meaning they arrived by natural occurrence without the aid of man, but can be found in other places too. For example, Hibiscus, which is not endemic, is everywhere, including exotic red, yellow and white varieties. One of my favorite walks in St Georges takes me past the the Bermuda Perfumery which has been producing fragrances inspired by the flowers of Bermuda: Easter Lily, Jasmine, Oleander, Passion Flower, Frangipanni and Bermudiana since 1929.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Goodbye February!

Just in case you don't believe me, Bermuda Weather February 2006 Summary: "Cold and Windy. Temperatures, including the sea surface temperature, were below normal for the month. A series of well developed low pressure systems brought strong winds, with hurricane force gusts. Precipitation was nearly an inch above normal, with hail being recorded on three different days."

And the strong winds remain.