Our arrival in Bermuda went very smooth, although we arrived at night. They are very well organized and talk to you on VHF so loud and clear and in perfectly spoken English that you exactly know what to do and where to go. On most places you have to deal with bad VHF quality and broken English or dialects that are difficult to understand in a place you are not familiar with. In Bermuda there is someone on duty 24 hours. The port authorities checked our documents, the Travel Authorization. They let us stay at the customs dock for the rest of the night and next morning we had to move over and tie up alongside the harbour wall. We just had to wait until health authorities were in the harbour to do our Covid test.
We got our test and a red wristband and were advised that we will be tested again on day 4, day 8 and day 14, if we do not leave until then. Whatever… for us Bermuda was more a functional stop as we wanted to get an appointment at the US embassy to get our US visas. Bad luck though as Bermuda just went into a lock down, shortly after we had left Antigua. So the embassy was closed and it was not clear yet when they would open again… Earliest appointments would be more likely end of May, beginning ofJune….
ARIA had arrived too and we discussed what we should do. André did a lot of research and found a solution, we could apply the ESTA visa. He described the process in detail in a seperate post you can read. It seemed to be our best option so Karsten decided to fly to New York with a one night stay to get the visas and we booked a flight to Atlanta with a two nights stay. We were there to watch ARIA while they were away and when they got back they watched MIRABELLA while we where in Atlanta.
Of course there was also time to explore Bermuda before our flights to the US. It is a beautiful island with some of the most pristine beaches we have ever seen. If you are more into hiking, there is also the Bermuda Railway Trail National Park. Spanning the island from end to end, the railway trail follows an abandoned railbed that winds through tranquil landscapes and along stunning rocky coastlines. This combination and also the very pleasant clima makes Bermuda a great holiday destination. The only downside is the high prize level which is not very cruiser friendly. Even basic groceries are expensive as everything is flown in. There is no agriculture on the island. If you are aware of that, it is really a great destination.
Everything went well with Karstens flight to New York and we were just about to get ready to fly to Atlanta. We had chosen a good anchorage with a lot of room around and we had stayed there already a night to be sure that everything is gonna be fine, as there was quite some wind forecasted for the next day. André just wanted to quickly ask something at the harbour master office about the checking out procedures (when we are back from Atlanta). When they realized we are going to leave the island, they told him that we can not leave the boat unattended at the anchorage. Sometimes it is not good to wake a sleeping dog… if we would have not told them, nobody ever would have noticed that we are not there. But anyway, André came back quite angry and said they want us to move to the harbour wall…. that was just about two hours before we had to leave for the airport… and it was blowing. Not really an easy thing to do…
We lifted the anchor and moved towards the small harbour. The guy from the marina showed us where he wanted us to go. I asked him if he is sure that it is deep enough there…. he said “Yes, I think so!” by that time we already felt that Mirabella was touching the ground….this was just no good! I was getting really angry…we just hit the ground a second time. André reversed and the guy from the marina told us to grab the last buoy…the one really close to that shipwreck which lay there grounded. Honestly we trust our anchor more than some buoys, where we do not know how well they are maintained… We grabbed the buoy and I managed to get one eye over the starboard cleet. Before André could help me to get the second eye over the port cleet it snatched! The line of the buoy was torn apart! André ran back to the helm as the wind was blowing us right into that shipwreck. He managed to pull forward just on time and moved to the anchoring area to anchor in a good spot. That was just a lot of unnecessary stress! Not really what we needed before flying out to Atlanta. But except that hustle before leaving everything worked out perfectly. We got our visas, managed to get a PCR Test on time for our flight back to Bermuda and had a great day in the Aquarium of Atlanta.
After our return to Bermuda we got ourselves ready to leave for New York. It will not be an easy passage as we will have to cross the gulf stream. But the reward will be priceless… this will be another ultimate highlight of our trip. Arriving in New York will be just as unforgettable as arriving in Sydney Harbour. We were really looking forward to that, so let’s go!