Pastel Paradise

Dispatches from the Road, Parties, Festivals & Events — By on April 28, 2010 at 2:12 pm

Any country that boosts a pair of Pink shorts as one of their national symbols, you would consider to either be:

1. Stuck in the 80’s era of bad dress sense and psychedelic drugs
2. Ludicrously drunk and attending a fancy (bad) dress party OR
3. Friendly, laid back, unassuming and keeping up with the current times of fashion.

I was crossing my little fingers, opting for option 3.

Like dirty washing hung out to dry, the pink shorts were proudly displayed on the airport terminal of Bermuda. I had bypassed the notorious and somewhat fictional ‘Bermuda Triangle’ and safely arrived in one of the most densely populated places in the world, 1300 people per square kilometer! Stranded by itself in the Atlantic Ocean, the main island of Bermuda is 23 miles in length, and 2 miles wide – the world’s perfect, naturally made Triathlon course! Resembling a fish hook shape from the air, Bermuda compromises an archipelago of 140 small islands. Bermuda had been on my ‘need to tick off’ travel list for quite some time, and FINALLY I had flown into Britain’s oldest colony. To have been Sir George Somers in 1609, captain of the Sea Venture, who found himself and his crew shipwrecked upon the uninhabited island of Bermuda. The town of St.George (the previous capital, the capital now being Hamilton) was officially founded in 1612, and lays claim as an UNESCO world heritage listed site.

Due to a volcanic ocean eruption, Bermuda splattered itself across the Northern Atlantic Sea, creating the largest coral reef system in the Atlantic Ocean, thus explaining the numerous ship wrecks around the islands of Bermuda. Like I had noticed in the Cook Islands and Hawaii, due to Bermuda being a lone ranger in the ocean, the waters are crystal clear and stunningly impressive. Bermuda is a water lover’s paradise – you simply wouldn’t survive on this island if you had distaste for water. The amount of water related activities is endless – snorkeling, scuba diving, jet skiing, sailing, (complete with Bermuda claiming the smallest draw bridge in the world, just big enough to fit the mast of a sailboat through) kite surfing, wakeboarding, waterskiing, fishing, boating and even the simple activity of swimming.

Pastel Paradise, as I had nicknamed Bermuda, due to the fact that the vibrant colours scream at you from every angle of the island, was an island unto itself. Houses, and churches are in the mix of pink, purple, light green, light blue and yellow. Even Horseshoe Bay – the most popular (best to be avoided when the cruise ship customers make a day of it!) and one of the most, if not the most, beautiful beaches, of Bermuda, is plentiful with pink sand! A rarity amongst the beaches of the world, pink sand beaches indicate a more stable coral reef system. Red Algae, which is also known as ‘reef cement’, helps protect the coral reef from destructive waves and storm surges. Such a brave, protective hero this Red Algae – a testament to how well they look after their coral reef. The tiny bits of corals and shell dust in the pink sand also allow the heat of the sand to be kept away. No one likes to look like a hysterical hyperactive hyena when strolling along a beach! Often when I went snorkeling, I could hear a scraping sound in the water, I usually popped my head out of the ocean in a state of fright, making sure the scraping wasn’t a rudder on my head from a boat..! (A gash to the head would have defiantly contributed to the ‘pink’ sand!) Turns out, it was parrotfish feeding on the coral. With their parrot-like beak they scrap away at the algae. Without going into detail of a digestive functions of a parrotfish – eventually the hard coral passes through the parrot fish as small grains of pink (as well as white) sand!! So essentially I guess some of the pink sand is the poop of a parrotfish!

Bermudians are notoriously friendly, however may have been a lot cheerier at the time of year I visited, due to a 4 day event of festivities. (Stragegic planning always comes in handy!) Many Bermudians that live off-island, regularly fly home at this time of year, to join the other “60,000 alcoholics clinging to a rock” (as Bermudians are claimed on a few tacky tourist souvenirs). The first of the festivities was CUP MATCH. A two day cricket match that saw the teams of St.George’s and Sommerset battle it out on the pitch. Being a Commonwealth country, the legacy of cricket lives strongly in Bermuda. The cricket game has long been a tradition and it is the only place in the world that declares a 2 day public holiday – for a cricket match! Originally, when this cricket match took place, so many Bermudians were skipping work or turning up rottenly hungover (possibly still drunk), that the government simply declared CUP MATCH to be a two day public holiday! The two day holiday also serves as the ONLY time Bermudians can gamble!

If you weren’t watching the cricket, or meandering around the grounds bumping into others you knew, you were witnessing a devastating loss or possibly a grandeur win at the Crown and Anchor tables, because naturally, gambling and drinking go hand in hand! One dealer was very comforting indeed, encouraging all, echoing through the whole tent on his microphone, that, “It’s only money; it’s only money!” Not one for gambling, even with the enticement of it ‘only being money’, I caught up with some Bermudian friends. Ki greeted me with, “Bermuda LOVES Cassidy!” This phrase needed to be reworked I told him, because “Cassidy LOVES Bermuda!”. The only part of this CUP MATCH that I couldn’t understand, after having tried to explain the game of cricket to a Canadian couple, was that every year, both the teams tie!?! I had Bermudian after Bermudian explain how this occurrence always happens, however I could still not fathom the obscurity of it all.

Ki had warned me that CUP MATCH is messy and alcoholic, but NON-MARINERS day is ‘off the hook’ – and it was! Jumping on board a friend´s boat with her crew, we headed out, like everybody else in Bermuda, to Mangrove Bay. Anyone who owns a boat in Bermuda (possibly half the island) charters their mates (the other half of the island!) out to Mangrove Bay. Anchor is dropped and boats are ‘rafted up’ (tied up) to each other – anywhere from 3 to 15 boats in a row. Once the anchors are dropped, the tops of bottles pop and the world’s best pool party begins! Jumping from boat to boat, with drink in hand, or floating around in the ocean on a lilo, every Bermudian is having a massive Sunday afternoon session on the mesmerising azure waters of the North Atlantic! Parties upon parties were happening in Mangrove Bay, and as much as you wanted to jump on the back of someone’s Jet Ski or paddle over in a canoe to another party scene, you find yourself pretty content with where you’re at, in an awe of such a marvelous idea! As a pure water lover, and not shy of an alcoholic beverage, this was definitely the best party I had ever been to!

Bermuda had achieved gold star status next to my tick off the list, due to its culture, (business attire = Bermudian shorts, albeit pink, with long socks, blazer and tie) people (friendly, laid back and unconcerned with the unnecessary calamities of the world) and location (water, water, water). Naturally Bermuda offers a lot more than my quick pick list, and with it also being a first world country, it is a lot easier, comfortable and convenient to enjoy than what some third world countries can offer. Sometimes Bermuda is considered ‘elitist’ or ‘snobby’, but I think Bermudians are just proud and like to take pride in their island nation, thus present themselves on an upper level scale. Hey, if they let a free spirited larrikin like me into their land, they can’t be that snobby!

-Cassidy Jackson-Carroll

Cassidy is an Australian by residence, a teacher by profession and a free spirited traveler by nature. Opting not to settle down into the Australian suburban lifestyle (for now), she often find herself teaching Physical Education to a variety of students – of late, Belizean female students! Holidays always call for extensive travel and that´s how she spends her free time… skylarking around the countries of the world!

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  • Hey Cassidy,

    You got an interesting job really :), but you are truly a traveler by nature.

  • Any1 can help us find this article. It’s title is Great PGA Tours

  • Cassidy says:

    I just read your comment, afew months later…?! I’m not a travel journalist or writer, I’m a teacher by trade…but you are right I’m a traveler by nature…have that gypsy gne in me somewhere!?

  • cait says:

    pastel island .. i like it … great info and welldone getting it published

  • Franklyn says:

    You actually make it appear so easy with your presentation however
    I find this matter to be actually something that
    I believe I’d by no means understand. It sort of feels too complicated and extremely huge for me. I’m looking forward for your next put up, I’ll try to get the cling of it!