Esther and I left for a cruise to Bermuda on 10-6-02 from NYC. I was able to take the digital camera with me on this trip (Olympus Camedia C-2100).
We went up on deck as the ship was going through NY Harbor. It gave us a different view of the City and Harebor and a chance to get closer to some Lighthouses.
We knew the Cruise had started because the waiters and waitresses were already coming around with the "Special Drinks" that you got to keep the glass from. We would see them quite often for the next week. (They were wasting their time with us , though. I had maybe 6-8 drinks the entire cruise )
I took a picture of the Chart house Restaurant on the NJ side of the Harbor. It includes a faux lighthouse.
We continued down through the Harbor passing by the towering buildings of Manhattan on our left. When we got to the area of Ground Zero a gentleman started singing "God Bless America" and manged to get a good number of those on the upper deck to join in with him.
I got a picture of the Statue Of Liberty at this point.
I was shooting almost into the sun so I was not getting the best shots. I also got some pictures of Robbins Reef just after passing the Statue Of Liberty.
We continued our trip out to the sea and passed under the Verrazano Narrows Bridge. I got some nice shots of Fort Wadsworth and in particular Weed Battery.
I tried to get a shot of Coney Island (Norton's Point) but we seemed to be too far away to pick it out from the buildings around it.
The Sun was starting to set at this point (we pulled out of the berth at about 4:30 PM) so I was having difficulty getting shots of some of the other Lighthouses.
I was able to get some pictures of West Bank Lighthouse.
We were then passing by Rhomer's Shoal and Sandy Hook.
We continued on our way. At this point I was the only person still on the Upper Deck. We had been traveling through NY Harbor and the Ambrose Channel for about 2 hours and it was very windy and cool and most left the deck after we went under the Verrazano Narrows Bridge.
The first time Esther and I had seen the Lighthouse on Weed Battery there was a group of people waiting there for a Cruise ship to pass by so they could wave at their friends who were on it. I could not talk my son into doing this, so there was no one there that I knew of this time.
At this point it was getting almost completely dark. The Pilot Boat came alongside and picked up the Pilot. I was unable to get a picture of it due to the shape of the boat. You can't see right next to the ship from the top deck.
We were now on our merry way to Bermuda. It would not be a smooth passage. Tropical Storm/ Depression Kyle and the Gulf Stream would conspire against us.
I did confirm one thing on this trip- I'm not a Cruise person. I think things like a phone booth sized shower (ever try and take a shower holding on so you won't fall out ?), failing to get from Point A to Point B in a straight line and food that , while it was very good, was a little fancy for my tastes( Do you have just a plain chocolate Cake?- I used that line on my wife so much that when I got home she had arranged for my Sister to have a plain Chocolate Cake waiting for me).
Don't misunderstand me- the ship was everything they represented it to be. It just wasn't for me. Esther loved it and wanted to sign up for another Cruise .
I may Cruise to Alaska or even possibly on the Carribbean, but never on the open Ocean again. The ship did not calm down until we were almost to Bermuda.
We spent our time at Sea eating, playing Music Trivia games at the Bar, checking our e-mail and surfing the web (at the unbelievable cost of $.50 a minute so we did not do that much), eating some more , going to the shows (some very good entertainment on the ship, lazing on deck and oh, yeah eating.
We came in late Tuesday morning and the weather was lovely. I did not learn my lesson though- I was able to get a nice shot of the Pilot Ship approaching, but I was back on the Upper Deck so I did not get a shot of the transfer of the Pilot.
We learned later that the area of St. David's is where the heritage of the Sea is the oldest on the Island. Almost all of the Pilots and most of the Fishing Ships come from this area of Bermuda.
We continued along the coast of Bermuda which is surronded by Coral Reefs extending out as much as 8-10 miles on the North shore (which we were on) and just of the South Shore where most of the Beaches are. We went past the Cut for St David's which Cruise Ships must use to get into St. George's Harbour. There is as little as 36' on either side of the shipos that go into that Harbour. Our ship, the Nordic Princess, used to stop there but had lost that berth 3 years ago to the Princess Line.
We continued down the coast past the opening for the Great sound which is the way to Hamilton the largest city on the Island and the Capital. You can see Gibb's Hill Lighthouse in the distance as you pass by here.
We docked for the first two nights in what was the Royal Navy Dockyard at King's Wharf. We had our first scheduled Shore Excursion which was a Taxi tour of Dockyard, Hamilton, the south shore Beaches and Gibb's Hill Lighthouse.
The island of Bermuda is just as beautiful as it looks in the pictures. We had a great ride through the countryside (it helps to close your eyes on the curves ,though - the roads are very narrow and the cabs, buses and native scooter drivers just love to see how fast and close they can go).
Our first stop was for the "Smallest Drawbridge" in the world. Basically , it's a wide plank that allows sailboats to pass through from one side of one of the many bays on the island to the other.
We continued on our way and stopped at one of the beaches along the way, Warwick Bay.
We continued our tour driving around some of the hotels and homes on the South Shore and then on to the Lighthouse.
Gibb's Hill Lighthouse is on the highest point on the Island. It's a cast iron lighthouse that has stood on that spot since 1846. The hill is 245 ft tasll and the Lantern is an additional 117 ft making the Focal Plane of the Light 363 ft above sea level.
The Lighthouse has 185 steps to the top. Luckily, there are 8 platforms along the way to stop at and I think I used all of them- either on the way up or down.
We got a nice view of our ship, the nordic Empress, from the top of the Lighthouse.
We unfortunately only had 15 minutes here so I did not have time to look closely at the exhibits on the many platforms that spelled out in detail the history of the Lighthouse.
We made a quick stop in the gift shop- I needed to get my Post Cards for Exchange #12. I had brought the envelopes along hoping that Bermuda had a Lighthouse stamp in use at this time. Unfortunately, while they have a series of Lighthouse Stamps they were not currently in use. So, I brought them back and mailed them from NJ.
We stopped in the Dockyard area to look around at the Shopping Mall (Clock Tower) and to meet the woman ( Wendy)who runs the Glassworks / Bermuda Rum Cake Store. Our daughter, Beth, had done an Internship at the Marine Museum and had met her son, J. P., while there. Very nice people. We contacted J. P. and arranged to have dinner with him on Thursday.
We went back to the ship and went to the bar for the music Trivia game and then to the show and dinner and got ready for our second excursion- the Glass Bottom Boat.
We ventured out into the Bermuda Triangle looking for marine life, coaral reefs and ship wrecks. We found them all and lived to tell about it.
We crossed the Great Sound and came out into the Sargossa Sea and rode over the reefs. We did see many small fish , some larger ones and a great deal of Coral Reef. We also rode over the wreckage of a ship built like the Monitor that nobody thought off the fact that if you build a large ship with the same characteristics it will not move very fast. It was the slowest man-o-war built and never manged to fight a battle.
On Wednesday we took a bus tour to the Crystal Caves and the Aquarium. We got a more detailed tour of the Hamilton area along the way. Unfortunately, like the other excursion you don't have much time at each attraction.
We had only 40 minutes at the Aquarium which you need at least 2 hours at to do justice to the Museum, Aquarium, Zoo and other attractions there.
More in Part 2