It really doesn’t matter how long you’ve lived in Bermuda – we’re betting that even if you claim to know our island through and through, there are parts of it you still have to explore. Here are 5 places in Bermuda that you probably haven’t been to, but should.
Higgs and Horseshoe Cliff Jump
Admiralty House is accessible and loved by visitors and locals alike, but Higgs and Horseshoe is where the real action is. In St. George’s Harbor, just a short swim away from Paget Island, the smaller island is the perfect place for cliff jumping. It has sheer, steep cliffs on one side, sending jumpers plunging into the Town Cut. Though you’ve got to watch out for boats, cliff jumping from Higgs and Horseshoe is actually much safer than at Admiralty House – there, at low tide, or even a mid tide, there’s a danger of hitting the sandy bottom. The town cut is deep enough, and the cliffs are neat enough, that one need not worry about hitting the bottom, or any jutting rocks.
Besides the epic cliff jumping spots, the island is also a perfect place to camp with a few friends. There’s a campfire pit set up already, with a few comfortable logs scattered around the edges, perfect for perching on while roasting marshmallows or sausages. The reefs are also rich with fish, as the island is on the very tip of Bermuda, where the shallower waters give way to deep ocean.
Smith’s Island Archaeological Dig
In 2012, an archaeologist passionate about Bermuda’s heritage started a dig site on Smith’s Island to get a better understanding of the people that lived there. Coming back every other summer with research students from the University of Rochester, Dr. Michael Jarvis has found some astonishing things.
The most exciting find was a house dating back to the 1600s, which has been excavated enough to reveal the foundations and what is believed to be a hollow that acted as an oven. It is believed that three settlers left behind when the Sea Venture continued to Jamestown continued to live there. This site and other exciting excavations can be visited with permission, or by volunteering for Dr. Michael Jarvis.
You may have seen the whitewashed walls of BIOS across the channel while driving along Kindley Field, or perhaps the hulking research vessel, equipped with radar and crane, the Atlantic Explorer, covering completely the buildings while docked. Many Bermudians, however, have never ventured into BIOS itself, which is a shame because the site is far from being reserved for scientists alone. Like BAMZ, BIOS is committed to educating the public about preserving our oceans, and how much our oceans can bring to us as humans.
The staff at BIOS are very friendly, and they offer plenty of work experience opportunities, summer camps, and lectures that you can attend and get involved with. If you’re lucky enough to spend time with some of the research staff, you’ll get to see the inner workings of a marine science laboratory – perhaps growing corals in water with different pH’s to study ocean acidification, or keeping crabs to study how the same phenomenon affects their fragile calcium exoskeleton.
Walsingham nature reserve, or Tom Moore’s Jungle, as some locals call it, is one of the best loved Bermuda parks. Though not the largest, it undoubtedly offers the most diverse range of Bermudian habitats, from mangroves, to rocky shorelines, to caves, both dry and wet. Most locals have taken an expedition here at some point in their lives, but can you say you’ve truly explored it? Most trails take you in a route around the impressive central brackish pond, but that’s where all the action is!
The pond is an impressive natural habitat, fed by tiny underground openings to the sea. All the animals in the pond came in through these openings too, and when they grow past a certain size, are unable to get back out again. This happened to a little turtle hatchling very early on in his life, who has grown to a huge size trapped in the pond. You might spot the leviathan if you spend time overlooking the pond’s expanse. The mangroves also hold an impressive collection of mangrove crabs, and birds of all kinds. Though you have to get permission to do so, kayaking or snorkeling in the pond is a unique opportunity to experience a fragile miniature ecosystem up close.
Trust us on this one! You might not think of a dump as a very enjoyable place to visit, but what you find there may surprise you. Just past the drop off point at the airport, the island gives way to a desolate flat-tarmac landscape, with a final outpost that consists of a vending machine, an ancient TV, a single chalky chair, for the taxi drivers waiting to pick up incoming visitors.
The airport dump is not home to household garbage like its Pembroke relative, but instead holds discarded machinery and appliances. Abandoned behemoths of cranes jut up into the cloudless sky. Cars abandoned with CDs and family photos still in them pile up on top of each other. An alleyway made up of pale turquoise used up gas canisters lie in the baking sun. Although not a family trip, an expedition to the dump may leave you spellbound, and if you’re one to tinker with machines, you may find just the spare part you’ve been looking for.