On Thursday, August 23rd Maggie and I departed Baltimore harbor aboard Royal Caribbean Enchantment of the Seas for an eight night cruise. As we headed for open seas we passed both freighters and pleasure craft on the water. The weather was a mix of sunshine and clouds. We passed Norfolk, VA around midnight and the ride was smooth as glass. Our cabin was on the second deck near the bow (front of the boat) with a window.

The next morning we came on deck and saw that we were heading for some storm clouds on the horizon. We sailed through light showers, but the sea stayed pleasantly smooth.

On Saturday we approached Bermuda and started to see the reefs surrounding the island. We took on a harbor pilot who sailed us through a narrow channel. At times we could see the reefs, which were barely covered with water. We found out later that this was the "shipwreck capital of the world" because of the treacherous coral reefs.

On Saturday morning the ship docked at King's Wharf, Bermuda. Our first adventure was an afternoon on a glass bottom boat with Captain Paul and his first mate Sea Biscuit. They took us on a tour of the islands while telling stories about the history of Bermuda and some local color.

Speaking of color, we passed a section that had all the houses painted in bright pastel colors. I believe this was the low income housing provided by the government. The water was that beautifully light blue and green with bright pink beaches.

As we rounded a bend there were three small islands in the distance. Captain Paul told us that these belonged to the famous treasure hunter Mr. Tucker. Each year he would allow the public access to these islands during the summer, then they would be closed for the winter to allow the habitat and creatures time to renew.

Our destination was the HMS Vixen, an English ironclad that was sunk in 1896 by the British as a deterrent to attackers. It didn't sink quite the way it was planned, and the bow remains exposed to the air. Many tour boats and snorkelers visit the site.

We moved to the lower deck of the boat where the glass ports gave us a view of the coral and fish living on the reef. Sea Biscuit identified species while Captain Paul maneuvered the boat for better views. On the way back to our ship we told Captain Paul that we were booked for the evening cruise. He remarked that he would try to not tell the same stories.

That evening we boarded one of Captain Paul's boats, The Looking Glass. As we were heading out he said, "you're out here in the dark of night, in an area known for ship wrecks, sailing through coral reefs in the Bermuda Triangle on a boat with a glass bottom. Really?" The view at night was better because they used flood lights to illuminate the sea floor. On the way back they flashed a spotlight on the water which caused a fish called the Gar to jump into the air. Then it was back to the ship because we had snorkeling scheduled for 9:00 the next morning.

Sunday morning we rode a small boat to the area near Mr. Tucker's islands. They dropped anchor about 100 feet out, and after a short lesson on snorkeling we hit the water. I stayed with Maggie as we swam along the shoreline. We found fish, plants, and even some red coral which is something you don't want to touch. I think we did a little better then our last trip, but I kept getting water up into my sinuses. I wouldn't stop draining until after my shower on board the ship! The crew served rum swizzles for the return trip to the dock.

Part of the evening was spent at the Viking Lounge, and then the Centrum listening to the Evergreen trio. We didn't get a chance to go into town this trip but hope to do it next time. Our next stop would be Boston.

Bermuda and New England

Cruise 2012

 

freighter

horizon

reefs

Brermuda port

Paul and Biscuit

Bermuda houses

three islands

ship wreck

glass day

glassnight

enchantment at nught

fish 1

fish 2

Bermuda docks