Sunday, November 20, 2011


Bermuda Triangle in the Atlantic
On Friday we arrived in Bermuda, a island directly east of South Carolina. Most people think of Bermuda as being in the Caribbean, but it is actually on the edge of the Sargasso Sea with the nearest land 1,000 km away. Bermuda is often also associated with historical accounts of the "Bermuda Triangle," which describes an area of the Atlantic where many ships and airplanes have been reported to go missing under "mysterious" circumstances. Modern research has revealed that there have no more disappearances in the Bermuda Triangle than in any other part of the ocean, but the name has stuck.

The pilot boat pulling up next to the R/V Knorr
Although the tales of the Bermuda Triangle are somewhat exaggerated, there are many shipwrecks along Bermuda due to the reefs that surround the island. This makes navigating the island in a boat tricky if you are not a local. To prevent an issues when a ship like ours comes in from a foreign port, it is common at all ports to have a "pilot" boat come out to meet your boat before you come into the port. This consists of a small boat coming out to meet you, pulling up alongside your boat, and the "pilot" jumps on board. The pilot is someone who has intimate knowledge of the local waters, and the pilot directs the captain as we pull up to the dock. This is especially important in Bermuda, as the harbor entrance is extremely narrow. It was hard to imagine how the huge cruise ships could fit through such a small passageway!
Pulling into the harbor at St. George's, Bermuda

Once we docked, customs came aboard to make sure everything was in order and we were allowed to go on dry land! even though we have only been at sea for 2 weeks, the prospect of going on shore was like a mini vacation. We headed directly to Tobacco Bay, a really nice beach in St. George's (one of the municipalities of Bermuda, the other one Hamilton). On our way we viewed the town, and took in the beautiful landscape. Bermuda is really colorful, owing to the crystal clear waters and the brightly painted buildings in blue, pink, green and white (these colors are mandatory in Bermuda, and are chosen based on what year the building was built). We then went to a nice dinner, and a party at the local oceanography station, called Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences (BIOS). Fellow collaborators at this institution put on a wonderful party for everyone on the ship, and we got to explore the station. Most people who work at BIOS live right next to the ocean science station, as the living expenses in Bermuda are really expensive, but living is subsidized on the station (the government helps pay the bills for rent so that most can afford to live there). This makes for a really fun, close-knit group of people living and working on station. 
Dinner at Wahoo's in St. George's, Bermuda

We are finishing up our work at BATS, our next station after Bermuda, and then moving on with the rest of our cruise on the way to Cape Verde. From now on the stations are much further apart (about 20 hours), so everyone is looking forward to having some nice breaks in between working hard on station!

Taking a break at Tobacco Bay, Bermuda

1 comment:

  1. If you continue to post pictures of beautiful seas and people eating fancy dinners (or cheese plates) I'm gonna start wondering if this isn't a pleasure cruise you're on ;) How's shuffle boarding treatin ya? I'm sure you're kickin butt.