Jun 3, 2011

Reef Explorer - Snorkling, Glass Bottom and CFS Bermuda

Our last full day on the island before heading back to Canada :-(    Today will be some final shopping, take the bike back and an evening out with friends.

Yesterday was yet another great day.  A quiet morning hanging around the pool and then off for the afternoon on one of the local reef exploring boats called the Reef Explorer.  The trip was recommended by a friend here on the island - Glen (who comments occasionally) and the trip did not disappoint.  Captain Michael Gladwin is a very friendly guy, has wonderful knowledge of the island and a great love of the environment.  I've lived and visited the island for over 20 years now and he definitely taught me a thing or 2 on the trip.  3 wonderful hours traveling from Hamilton Harbour, out through Paradise Lake, through the Great Sound, around Mangrove Bay, out to the Vixen and then to the islands in Mangrove Bay for snorkeling.   A simple boat but very clean and effective.  A WONDERFUL way to check out the island and worth every penny.  His rum swizzle is pretty good as well ;-)   If your visiting the island I highly recommend taking a trip on the Reef Explorer.   His website and contact info can be found at - http://www.bermudareefexplorer.com/index.asp

The day was followed by supper at the Hog Penny again and then a lovely walk along Front St and up Pitts Bay Road and back.  A wonderful day.

Enjoy the pictures (lots of them) and the stories underneath.  Click for bigger versions.

Our boat, the Reef Explorer
A good size boat - 70' long, 20' wide
Captain Michael Gladwin entertaining everyone
Boaz Island where I used to live.  Very very run down now and slummy.
Pink Bus going over Watford Bridge
Watford Bridge
Outside the islands of Mangrove Bay

One of the numerous sea turtles pointed out by our Captain.  The population has been making a great comeback and most of the turtles are very near the old CFS Bermuda
One of the turtles surfaces for air

The old CFS Bermuda and 9 Beaches.  Both which are now closed.  The main structures are part of the old base and the huts are part of the eco friendly 9 Beaches which was just crazy construction for a place with dampness and hurricanes.   Many of the old CFS buildings are gone now (Canex, JR mess, SR mess) but many still remain (Ops, HQ, Observation tower, Rec Center, Gym, Sail Boat storage, CO's house).  It looks much better from the ocean then it does on land.  Jen and I drove past last week and the place is in very rough shape.  Squatters have taken up living in the huts, grounds have not been kept up and the buildings are crumbling.  9 Beaches claims they will reopen in 2012, I seriously have my doubts and the property will probably have to be re-examined.  What a waste!

The huts/cottages of 9 Beaches on the old antenna pad

Over top of the wreck of the Vixen looking through the glass bottom of the boat.

The wreck of the Vixen blocking the channel off the west coast to keep U-Boat from transiting during WW1 and 2
Looking towards Daniel's Head Island, note all the fish in the water waiting for food.  They know the boats and know what's coming.
Feeding Frenzy
The Vixen, a cast iron freighter that was later covered in Teak.  She was a coastal defense vessel for the island and had a ramming spreed of 7mph.

Someone took a decent picture of me ;-)
She'll kill me for this picture, but it'll be worth it!  ;-)

Anchored off Mangrove Bay for some snorkling
A strange fish?
We borrowed an underwater camera (thanks Heather!).  The water was a bit murky but some interesting pictures.  Underwater photography is HARD!

Definitely a MERMAID!!!!!   ;-)

Time to load up and go home :-(


  1. Was just over on fb and saw your reality comment. Sorry that it went so fast. Thanks for sharing all that glorious light and colour with us. Looks like you both had a fantastic time!

    Would love to hear more about the underwater photography -- how you found that. I can see that being a lot of fun. :D

    I love the shot of the fish through the boat bottom (DSC_6738).

  2. Hey Candis! Ya, back to reality hahaha. Jen and I have been trying to settle back into the routine. Got both houses opened up and the fridges restocked, back to work tomorrow :-(

    The underwater photography was down right hard! It was a small Canon SD something or other. So you had to view though the LCD, no viewfinder. The water was a bit murky and seeing anything on the LCD was next to impossible. The next problem was trying to hold yourself in place to take the picture. My butt floats and keeps wanting to rise hahaha.

    Re results actually came out better then I expected, I did do a bit of a curve on the image to clean them up, but the murk can still be seen. I'm thinking it would be better if you were in scuba gear with weights!

    I enjoyed it enough that I've been thinking about getting one of these - http://gopro.com/