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Birthday week

A couple of weeks back was my birthday. I’m not big on birthday’s, especially those when I’m stuck at home, but the party-planning-other-half had an idea. Let’s make it a birthday week she said. Not focus on the one day but let’s make sure we get out of the house, do something together everyday, and find things we’ve never done in our time in Bermuda.

Taking a full week off work was not possible, and only sat at home eating cake and watching the TV was sure way to have me back in front of the laptop in no time, so doing something out each day was a good balance and it was like a collection of mini vacations.

The first evening of my birthday week we could have been whisked off to a far away resort when we partook in a gin tasting at the Rosewood Bermuda. Bermuda doesn’t do enough of the simple things, and certainly not for free, and John the bartender navigated us through different gins in the charming Conservatory Bar.

Dinner followed at Little Venice where I soaked up the gin with a masterful Cacio e Pepe.

That night I turned my alarm off with no work to get up for, but our 5-month old puppy Labrador is now the alarm. We were up early so after breakfast we drove him and us to Spittal Pond, a nature reserve of diverse habitats that has a blood pumping walking trail loop around it. The pond is the star of course. A briny serene body of water covering most of the 64-acres and it had a seasonal pink hue to it due to a summer plankton bloom.

There are spectacular coastline views as cragged caves jut out into the Atlantic where the tides have created a collection of ornate limestone formations. Migrating humpback whales make their way closely past this vast part of the Atlantic Ocean’s shoreline in the spring.

Amongst these rock formations is a path leading to Portuguese Rock, the earliest sign of humans in Bermuda. A bronze cast now marks the spot where initials and the date ‘1543’ were inscribed by Portuguese sailors, the first adventurers to make it to this island.

Spittal Pond is very serene and a haven for birdwatching twitchers. I learnt that dogs chase birds a lot, but not so much the cows that occupy the working dairy farm near the entrance.

I hadn’t played tennis for an age. I had already gotten out of the habit long before Covid gave me an excuse, but I had no excuse that week, and my daughter and I played twice at Tuckers Point, and lunch and swim afterwards was the perfect incentive.

On my birthday eve we all went to one of our favourite restaurants in Hamilton called Pearl. The sushi should be good in Bermuda as we are surrounded by exceptional off-shore big game fishing, but at Pearl it is exceptional.

Weather-wise my birthday itself was the worst day and the surprise private sailboat charter from the gift-giving-other-half had hit on was postponed. Regardless there is always lunch and we leisurely watched the sideways rain from the Harboufront restaurant, which strangely enough sits tranquilly on the harbour and drunk cold Sancerre.

Next day the weather cleared and we were back outside. Located at the southernmost tip of Bermuda is Coopers Island, an unspoiled and in normal times, a tourist-free nature reserve with extensive walking trails and unparalleled views of Castle Harbour.

Up until the mid-1990’s this area was exclusively used as a NASA space tracking station and before that was a U.S. military zone. Today the 12-acres offers a fun-packed day of hiking, beaching, snorkeling, picnicking and turtle spotting.

Day 6 was Friday and the weather was perfect for our re-arranged sail boat excursion rebooked to take in the evening sunset, but before that we gave wakeboarding a go at Somerset Bridge. Kent has a fantastic reputation on the island, and we all had a run out, but in the end left it to our daughter, who flawlessly sped along within the wake on the Great Sound.

Then it was time to hit the water in a more undemanding way as we met our private sailboat at the foot of the Hamilton Harbour. Captain Mark and Alex on Island Time gave us the highlight of our week as we sailed around the Sound drinking champagne.

Then we got in the warm water and swam, paddle boarded and kayaked. Our daughter made good use of the floating dock and the dinghy all provided by the crew before we sailed sedately back through calm waters with just enough breeze under a cracking sunset.

On my final day, my daughter hosted a play-date at Horseshoe Bay for a few friends which involved a surf lesson. She has got into surfing this summer, and thinks she’s an expert. They loved it and I lost count as she and her friends scrambled up onto the board, surfed over a few waves, fell off and made their way back out again before repeating. All the time why I watched from the dry shore drinking cold beers.

It was a hot but a lazy way (for me) to wrap up my birthday vacation week.

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