Tuesday, August 31, 2010

And We're Back!

Clearly I've been away for awhile: My last two posts were about recent assignments in Colorado and today's is about a Smoky Mountain getaway in North Carolina, which of course has nothing to do with Bermuda but I'm hoping you can cut me some slack given the frantic pace of travel this August. That said, all of your Bermuda news will return promptly tomorrow morning. In the meantime however, check out today's post on Outside Television about my latest trip to a rustic yet luxurious inn called The Swag adjacent to Great Smoky Mountains National Park (also known as one of the 1,000 Places to See Before You Die as chosen by author Patricia Shultz). As you'll see it was a wonderful place to call home for a few days. That, and the pictures just might speak for themselves. See that overlook? That's the view from Hemphill Bald. Want more? Then head on over to Outside Television and read The Life Outside.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Just Back: Aspen

I know, I know. This has nothing to do with Bermuda. But after two weeks on the road this is by far the biggest news I have to share. As today's post on Outside Television's blog The Life Outside attests, I've had a wonderful few days in Aspen. Wanna know how to tackle the town? Then check out my latest post about this uber-luxurious city in the middle of the mountains. And if you're wondering, that's Maroon Bells in the distance—a legendary peak that's more than 14,000-feet tall. Happy travels and thanks for reading. Bermuda Shorts will be back with more island news and tropical updates in no time.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Live From Telluride!

We interrupt this regularly scheduled Bermuda Shorts program to bring you The Life Outside, my Outside Television blog about my latest assignment in Telluride, Colorado. As you'll see, I'm blogging from the road from a vibrant town filled with arts, culture and some of the best mountain views I've seen in awhile. Interested? Then head on over to The Life Outside for updates about my show, the Outside Film Festival, complete with production photos from our latest shoot. In the meantime thanks for reading! (And have no fear, I'll be back with your island news and tropical updates very, very soon).

Thursday, August 12, 2010

It's a Bird, It's a Plane, It's a Meteor!

It’s clearly one of the greatest aspects about living on a tiny island in the middle of nowhere—there’s a serious lack of light pollution here. Think about it. Bermuda cottages barely emit any light to the open air, streetlights are few and far between and the island has nary a skyscraper, ala New York's Times Square, that needs to get lit throughout the night for the public to see. That’s why I’m especially excited about this year’s Perseid meteor shower, which will be best viewed from 10pm tonight through early Friday morning. According to Eddie McGonagle of the Bermuda Astrological Society and first reported in the Bermuda Sun, “stargazers will be able to spot shooting stars at a rate of 50 per hour.” Wowsa. That's a whole lotta stars! So what exactly should folks in Bermuda expect to see when looking at the night sky tonight? Long slow streaks of light from the northeast (like the picture above) then shorter more rapid bursts, which will eventually move directly overhead (like a typical shooting star). Time to get out the telescopes!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Bermuda Triangle Mystery Solved!

It’s been a decades long question: Why do so many vessels, airplanes and people disappear in the so-called Bermuda Triangle? Theories about the nearly 1,000,000-square-feet slice of Atlantic, which is connected by south Florida, Puerto Rico and Bermuda, have ranged from space aliens to meteorological phenomenon. But according to new reports yesterday, a pair of research scientists have finally found the answer. It turns out the Triangle has a gnarly case of gas. In a paper published in the American Journal of Physics, professor Joseph Monaghan and honor student David May at the Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, determined that methane is the culprit behind the mysterious disappearances. Reports the South Atlantic News Agency, “The two hypothesized that large methane bubbles rising from the ocean floor might account for many, if not all, of the mysterious disappearances of ships and aircraft at specific locales around the world.” The report continues, “Any ships caught within the methane mega-bubble immediately lose all buoyancy and sink to the bottom of the ocean. If the bubbles are big enough and possess a high enough density they can also knock aircraft out of the sky with little or no warning. Aircraft falling victim to these methane bubbles will lose their engines—perhaps igniting the methane surrounding them—and immediately lose their lift as well, ending their flights by diving into the ocean and swiftly plummeting.” So there you have it folks. It looks like Bermuda needs a big 'ol bottle of Beano.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Life Outside

As most of you now know, Tropical Storm Colin was officially a bust—the storm that wasn't times ten shall we say—so I won't bore you with nonsensical musings about hunkering down for a punishing rain that never came. Long story short: It was a lovely weekend in Bermuda. In other news it's Tuesday, so I'm filling the web with tales of The Life Outside over on Outside Television. Today's topic? Twitter, the micro-blogging service that opened my eyes to some pretty incredible things last week, like Mount Everest mysteries solved, sustainable woods for Gibson guitars and Northern Rockies wolves getting put back on the Endangered Species list (which, as you'll see, is a good thing). You can read all about it here or just bookmark OutsideTelevision.com and pop in every Tuesday for your weekly update about The Life Outside. Thanks for reading!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Storm Watch: UPDATE

This latest image comes from RMS Cat updates, which tracks potential catastrophes including natural hazards, terrorism and mortality risk, among others. According to its recent report, Tropical Storm Colin has maximum sustained winds of 50 mph, which are expected to reach 70 mph when the system nears Bermuda on Saturday. (Click it for a larger image. That thick white cloud in the middle is the storm. Bermuda is the tiny speck in its path). Flying to Bermuda this weekend? Travelers on U.S. Airways can change their itineraries without penalty and Continental just announced a similar policy that will waive change fees for island-bound passengers this weekend. No word yet from Delta or JetBlue, although travelers on low-cost carrier WestJet should have nothing to worry about: The Canadian airline unveiled a Tropical Storm Colin travel advisory earlier today and its Hurricane Promise automatically waives change fees if travelers rebook their itinerary within fourteen days. The skies are now clear, but isn't there some sort of cliché about a calm before the storm? Batten down the hatches Bermuda, I think it's time for Dark n Stormy's!

Storm Watch

Here we go again. Last year Hurricane Bill threatened to punish Bermuda with high seas and 135 mph winds. Remember that? I even shot this crazy Al Roker-esque video from Church Bay, with strong winds whipping around the camera and gnarly waves crashing steadily upon the shore. It all looked pretty grim for awhile. I went to Gorhams—our local Home Depot-type hardware store—and stocked up on everything I was told I'd need: Batteries, water, rope, flashlights (even though I already had four). And while everyone here on the island hunkered down for a direct hit the Category 4 storm spared us and passed to the west, with the bulk of damage being trashed beaches and hysterically, this doormat (no not really, but it was one of the most humorous pictures being circulated around Bermuda the day after the storm). Well, consider this the first official scare of 2010. According to the National Hurricane Center, Tropical Storm Colin has reformed and is making its way up the Atlantic—and it's got Bermuda in it sights. With maximum sustained winds of 45 miles per hour, the storm was 400 miles south-southwest of the island heading north-northwest at 11 miles per hour at 8:45 a.m. Atlantic Time this morning. On the current forecasted track, Colin should pass within 86 miles of Bermuda at its closest point at about 11 p.m. tomorrow, with storm force winds extended up to 105 miles from its center (for the latest visit the Bermuda Weather Service). Who knows what'll happen but there's one thing I'm certain of: I definitely have enough flashlights.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Reasons: An Addendum

Even casual readers of Bermuda Shorts know of my great affinity for the island. Back in March I posted my top ten reasons why living in Bermuda is so darn delightful—things like lobster season, the prevalence of Dark n Stormy’s, the opportunity to grow a winter beard. Ya know, the basics. Well my friends, consider this an addendum to my original list, because living in Bermuda would not be the same without the one and only Johnny Barnes. You see, Johnny is a living legend here in Bermuda: Every morning between 8am and 10am, the 86-year-old gray-bearded Bermudian greets morning traffic entering the City of Hamilton with a kiss and wave. “I love ya, I love ya, I love ya,” he says with all sincerity as he blows kisses into the air. It’s astounding. Every morning like clockwork there’s Johnny, greeting commuters like it’s his job. He’s so beloved that Bermuda has even erected a bronze statue in his honor down the road from where he stands each morning—a phenomenon that still blows my mind (don't you have to be a Communist dictator to have a statue erected in your honor while you're still living?). I mean the guy even has his own Wikipedia page for goodness sake. And apparently I’m not the only one who knows what an impact Johnny has on daily life in Bermuda. According to Bernews, director Matt Morris is searching for locals to interview for his new film about Johnny titled “Mr. Happy Man.” Watch the short trailer above and try not to get excited for the upcoming documentary. So to you Johnny, I say three cheers! Thanks for making Bermuda such a wonderful place to call home.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Kid Corner

Got kids? Traveling to Bermuda? Then look no further than the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute, otherwise known as BUEI. As this eight-minute Voyage.TV video attests, the 40,000-square-foot discovery center is chock full of family-friendly exhibits designed to acquaint visitors with the mysteries of the ocean. You’ll learn about Bermuda’s more than 300 shipwrecks and tour collections of artifacts pulled from sunken ships; discover why the island’s sand is pink; and tour special exhibits, like its recent collection of memorabilia and relics recovered from the wreckage of the Titanic. Shell collectors will love the Jack Lightbourne shell collection, with more than 1,000 species of mollusks on display and young explorers will get a kick out of the underwater simulator, which recreates a submarine dive in Bermuda’s waters (that's a picture of it above; the "Nautilus 2 Experimental Sub." Paintjob anyone?). Of course you don’t have to be a Hannah Montana or Zac Efron fan to enjoy BUEI, but if it rains anywhere near as much as it did last weekend, it’s a great stop on a cloudy day.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Life Outside

Today is Tuesday—you know what that means. I'm interrupting my regularly scheduled Bermuda Shorts program to bring you my take on The Life Outside (otherwise known as my weekly blog for Outside Television). Last week I told you about acclaimed underwater photographer Wes Skiles who died tragically while filming in Florida. And the week before it was all about humanitarian Greg Mortenson, who I met while filming at Mountainfilm in Telluride. Well, it turns out that film festival was chock full of interesting folks so today I bring you a story about Tom Iselin who I also met while shooting in Colorado. Tom is the founder of Higher Ground, a program of Sun Valley Adaptive Sports that helps America's wounded veterans overcome mental and physical disabilities—including PTSD and other injuries—by engaging them in outdoor activities, like fly-fishing in Ketchum, Idaho. It's a stellar program, as the documentary Fish Out Of Water clearly demonstrates. You'll have to head on over to Outside Television to learn the latest about Tom and what he's doing to assist our wounded warriors, but let's just say if you've got any extra cash lying around and are itching to make a big donation, I've got the cause for you.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Deal of the Day

Anyone who’s been to Bermuda knows that it’s a golfer’s paradise. The twenty-one-square mile archipelago has seven beautifully manicured courses, many offering stunning water views. My favorite of the bunch is Port Royal Golf Course in Southampton, not only because it’s the home of the 2010 PGA Grand Slam of Golf this October—the game’s premier season-ending tournament featuring Masters champ Phil Mickelson, U.S. Open champ Graeme McDowell, British Open champ Louis Oosthuizen and the winner of the PGA Championship this August—but because the public course often cranks out killer deals like this one: From today until September 30th guests of any island hotel can play 18 holes at Port Royal from 2pm onwards, then enjoy dinner at its ocean view clubhouse restaurant, 64º, for just $164. Considering green fees with a cart normally cost $180 and entrees at the restaurant hover around $20-$25, it’s a whopper of a deal. And forget about having to bring your sticks: Port Royal will also knock 50% off the price of golf club rentals (brand new Taylor Made Burners, by the way) making the total price for 18 holes with cart, golf clubs and dinner $189. Now that’s a package I can get behind. To book visit Port Royal Golf Course or call (441) 234-0974. Oh yeah, and if you're wondering, that's the 16th hole—Port Royal's signature par-three that's widely regarded as the greatest hole in golf. So what are you waiting for? Book your Port Royal package today!