Forts of St. George

It didn’t take Brian and I long to get acquainted with St. George’s Island, Bermuda. One afternoon we took a lovely walk around the eastern coastline of the island and paused for self-guided tours of the forts along the way. We cut through the former St. George’s Golf Course to first have a peek at Tobacco Bay.


Fort St. Catherine was built by Governor Richard Moore in 1614. The fort houses exhibits, but it was closed during each of two of our attempts to visit. Thus, self-guided fort touring…



Alexandra Battery was completed in the 1860’s.


This muzzle-loading gun was fired through a Gibraltar Shield, this is actually the only intact shield remaining on Bermuda. The muzzle-loading gun could fire a 256lb shell 1,000 yards through 10 inches of iron plating. Another fun fact is that this gun weighs 4,000lbs more than Rode Trip.


Gates Fort overlooks the Town Cut entrance to St. George’s Harbour. The fort was first shown on a published map in 1626.



At the end of our fort tour we had a great view of Rode Trip among the anchored boats.


St. George’s, Bermuda

Our home this week is St. George’s, Bermuda.


This wonderful Harbour is set up very well for visiting cruisers. There is a great place for us to tie up the dinghy near the center of town right across from the customs dock. From here we wandered directly into the heart of the historical district for which st. George’s has been named a UNESCO world heritage site. The old town square, King’s Square is set up with a stage where live music plays in the afternoon. There is even an old set of stocks set up in front of the Town Hall.



The first recorded “landing” on Bermuda was when the British ship Sea Venture wrecked on the north shore of the island in 1609. Sea Venturewas bound for Jamestown, Virginia carrying desperately needed supplies for the colonists there. One-hundred-fifty crew members survived the wreck and managed to salvage enough of the Sea Venture to build two smaller ships and continue on to Jamestown with some of the supplies. Only two crew members from the Sea Venture remained in Bermuda. This ship, the Deliverance, is a replica of the larger of the two ships salvaged from the Sea Venture. The Deliverancereplica is located on Ordinance Island and open for $1/person tours.


Along one of our walks on the coast of St. George’s Island, we discovered this monument above Sea Venture Shoals where the Sea Venture had wrecked and washed ashore.


This statue is Sir George Somers, Captain of Sea Venture.


The UNESCO World Heritage Center is located just minutes from King’s Square. A scenic walk along pedestrian only Water Street, the town’s original coastline, will bring you to Penno’s Wharf where the center museum is located.


Brian and I walked toward the north end of town and stumbled upon the Unfinished Church. It was begun in 1874, intended to replace St. Peter’s Church. But after a series of problems construction ceased and was never resumed.


We enjoyed a picnic in Somers’ Garden, having found and stopped at the grocery store amidst our exploring. All of this history was within a five minute walk from the dinghy dock, marvelous! We were well informed with maps and brochures from the Visitors’ Information Center (literally at the dinghy dock) and began plotting our Bermudian stopover. We paused under the park’s moon arch to wish ourselves good luck for upcoming days.


Welcome to Bermuda

Land Ho!


We’d sighted Bermuda; this tiny, 20.5 square mile island in the mid-Atlantic was within reach and we were anxious to drop the hook for respite from the sea. When we spotted the island, we were still approximately 20nm away and some quick mathematics confirmed that we’d not make landfall until after dark. We were approaching from the southwest and needed to sail the length of the island to the entrance channel on the east end.


Knowing we’d arrive after dark, we consulted the chart to determine whether the entrance channel would be safe. The conditions were calm and the entrance, Town Cut, was very well marked with plenty of water for our draft. The decision was unanimous, we’d sleep at anchor tonight!


Bermuda Radio monitors all incoming and outgoing boat traffic for the island. The radio has a strong signal accompanied by a powerful radar system that can spot boats along a 50nm radius. Per my Bermuda clearance research, I’d learned it was necessary to hail Bermuda Radio on the VHF once in hailing range which for us is about 20nm. Per Bermuda clearance research, I’d also learned that Bermuda has an online pre-arrival form. I had completed this pre-arrival form prior to departing Grand Cayman; the information provided is the standard particulars of the vessel and crew (vessel type, length, draft, number of crew, etc). You can find the link for the pre-arrival form here, as well as general information about Bermuda clearance. When I hailed Bermuda Radio the dispatcher was able to pull our pre-arrival information. We provided our latitude and longitude and ETA. We continued sailing as we watched the sunset over Bermuda.

We reached the sea buoy for the Town Cut channel at about 9:15pm. Once again we hailed Bermuda Radio and received excellent directions for entering the St. George’s Harbour and locating the Customs dock. We dropped the sails and motored through Town Cut channel; our only engine hours during the entire passage. We found the buoys to be exact.

Once in the harbour, we located the Customs dock to the north of the harbour, at the northeast corner of Ordinance Island. It was just after 10:00pm and we were thrilled to meet three fellow cruisers at the dock who voluntarily assisted us and welcomed us. After a short chat, we made our way to the Customs office, the building is on the dock; the office is open from 8:00am – Midnight. The woman who assisted us at Customs was pleasant and efficient. We completed one form, surrendered our flare gun, paid $70USD (via credit card, USD accepted) and within 15 minutes were cleared. We found a cozy spot to anchor just off the Customs dock. The hook was set in soft sand by 11:00pm.


By Midnight we’d converted Rode Trip back into a home and had sprawled in the very spacious v-berth. Our bodies rejoiced for the stillness, the flatness of this new resting place and we slept soundly.