We were really excited for our day of kayaking in Bermuda.
But when we work up on the big morning, it looked like this outside:
A little drizzle had become an all out thunderstorm by the time we made our way to the tour center on the dock. Our disappointment was confirmed: all tours had been cancelled & tomorrow’s kayaking excursion was full. How about snorkeling, the woman asked? We both hesitated. B isn’t much of a swimmer & it seemed unfair to drag him along on an activity he couldn’t do. Plus I hadn’t snorkeled in years. But she assured us that the boat would dock in just 3′ of water & that there was a nice beach for B to sit on while I snorkeled. We were game.
The next day brought brilliant sunshine & bright blue skies – the perfect day for snorkeling. We met at the dock at the appointed time & all boarded the Reefcomber for our little tour out to the snorkeling beach. Captain Joe took us out to sea, as Zoe, a native Bermudian who was now attending university abroad, narrated. We learned all sorts of interesting Bermuda facts along the way (Bermuda has one of the highest GDPs in the world, almost everything is imported so most Bermudans hop on cheap flights to the U.S. in order to buy clothes, poverty & crime are pretty much nonexistent). We cruised past enormous waterfront homes costing millions of dollars & saw a few sea turtles pop their heads out of the water to say hello.
We stopped near a shipwreck to observe the coral reef which had formed around the partially sunken ship. Bermuda coral isn’t nearly as colorful as Caribbean coral due to the wild fluctuation in temperatures in Bermuda (it gets down into the 50’s in the winter), but was still beautiful regardless. We saw all the main types of hard coral, including brain coral, star coral & branching coral, all in the comfort of inside the boat. It was our first glass bottom boat experience & I have to say, it was pretty cool.
We finally arrived at the snorkeling area, a small collection of islands with a nice built up sandy sea bottom. We were given snorkel masks & fins (although I opted out of the fins – they always seem harder than what they’re worth!), as well as noodles for floatation (it’s Bermuda law that floatation devices be issued by snorkeling tour guides – plus, lets be honest, snorkeling requires so much less effort with them!). We were all set!
Stepping into the crystal clear, bright blue water for the first time was magical. It was up to my armpits & yet I could still see my feet! While B played around in the shallow water near the beach, I strapped on my mask, adjusted my snorkel & swam off. I forgot what a surreal sensation it is to snorkel, even in the shallowest of water: with your head partially submerged & your eyes open, breathing comfortably, it’s like a whole new world. The only sound was my own breathing & there was something incredibly serene & calming about that. I swam around, saying hello to several types of colorful fish, slimy jelly fish, mellow sea cucumbers & spiky coral.
Unfortunately, since we weren’t planning on snorkeling, I didn’t have my underwater camera housing, so I don’t have any underwater pictures. In a way, though, it was nice to just be able to explore without worrying about achieving the perfect shot.
Our hour & 15 minutes at the site went by quickly & soon it was time to get back on the boat. We picked up two stragglers who had been left at the site by their boat (note: always pay attention when snorkeling off an island!) & headed back to the dock. We were supposed to get a rum swizzle, Bermuda’s official drink, on the boat ride back, but unfortunately the ship ran out of cups, so only about half the passengers got one (we never did end up trying one our entire trip!). Regardless, it was a great way to spend the morning & explore a new area of Bermuda: under the sea.
Our snorkeling trip was provided compliments of Fantasea Bermuda. Even if it hadn’t been, it’s well worth the $65 per adult they normally charge for the trip. Fantasea is an especially good option if you’re on a cruise ship, as their tour booth is located right in the Royal Naval Dockyard, where most boats dock. I look forward to trying kayaking with them on our next trip back!