Heading to Bermuda this weekend? Then hold onto your hats because there’s another storm brewing. According to the National Hurricane Center, Shary has dressed up as a tropical storm for Halloween and she’s headed directly for Bermuda. As of 8am today the depression had maximum sustained winds of 40mph—so no need to batten down the hatches just yet—but the island should see at least one to three inches of rain plus windy conditions over the next 24 to 36 hours. The Bermuda Weather Service has also issued a small-craft warning for all boaters out there—so it's best to stay inside, find a lime, some ginger beer and the nearest bottle of Gosling's Black Seal rum, because clearly it's time for a Dark 'n Stormy.
At least some of them have. Hot on the heels of yesterday’s post about whether or not to build a beach bar on Bermuda’s Warwick Long Bay comes thoughtful critique from a number of sources both on and off the island. First an insightful comment from RumShopRyan, the self-proclaimed Mr. Beach Bar who runs a Caribbean-inspired website called The Coconut Connection (A.K.A. RumShopRyan.com): “If I were the entrepreneur looking to build a beach bar and really wanted it to get done I'd probably just choose a different beach instead of the iconic Warwick [Long Bay]. Then I would also say to the island regulatory boards that a beach isn't evil! It will bring tax dollars in and give people another way to enjoy the island. It's all about compromise.” Here, here! Next comes an eco-friendly perspective from Steve Bennett, one half of the Crucian duo behind Uncommon Caribbean, a website devoted to offbeat island culture: “My affinity for beach bars is well-documented but I’ve gotta say this one sounds like a bad idea. The ecology of the island must come first, always! Seeing as how the same developer with the same idea has been denied before, I can't imagine it's in Bermuda's best interests to green light this now.” Agreed. Now let's turn our attention to Twitter, where I received these two gems yesterday. First a Tweet from @Blonde_In_Bda, an English ex-pat living in Bermuda “experimenting in being a computer geek but lacking all necessary skills,” according to her bio. Her take on the proposed beach bar? “It will just lead to litter, fighting and shooting. I don't trust the Ace Boys not to ruin anything at the moment,” that last bit alluding to a surge in island gang violence and a valid point at that. Finally, my favorite comment of the day and another collected from my casual Twitter poll. This from @p_brady, a travel writer and former colleague who recently visited the island and had this to say when asked if the beach bar should be approved: “Nope. I prefer the canned (‘tinned’?) beer on Horseshoe Bay to a relatively fussy bar setup.” Tinned it is! Like any good beachside cafe, that beer sits until it sells. In the meantime, it looks like our intrepid entrepreneur better find a new place to set up shop.
I’ve long held the opinion that every island should have at least one good beach bar. Like the Soggy Dollar Bar in Jost Van Dyke or Sunshine’s in Nevis, there’s something to be said for sipping a cool rum cocktail with your toes in the sand. But of course, Bermuda is not like every island. As I’ve said time and time again Bermuda is not the “no shoes, no shirt, no problem” Caribbean. It’s not even in the Caribbean for goodness sake, so I’m unsure why some people think an addition here or a tweak there will suddenly make it spring break in Jamaica, which brings me to today’s story: According to Bernews, a local entrepreneur has re-submitted his application to develop a beach bar on stunning Warwick Long Bay and not surprisingly, a leading environmental group is not too happy about it. Wrote the Bermuda Environmental & Sustainability Task Force in a recent press release, “It may help for residents and the public to remember that a previous application for the same location by the same developer was turned down by the Development Applications Board, was negated by the Independent Inspector, and the appeal to the Minister was quashed by the Court. Unless the application is substantively different, it is difficult to see it as other than a waste of everyone’s time and energy to go through this exercise again.” But alas, here we are debating about a proposed beach bar on one of Bermuda’s most pristine slices of sand yet again. I’m not exactly sure where I stand on this one—after all, a Dark n Stormy within eyeshot of the surf sounds pretty good to me—but perhaps the developer could find a smaller sandbox to build his bar on as opposed to one of Bermuda’s most iconic pink sand beaches (see above). Got an opinion yourself? Lemme hear it in the comments below. In the meantime, I think I need a drink.
Bermuda's not necessarily known for its surfing—a trait mostly due to the healthy barrier reef encircling the island—but when certain friends come to visit, that doesn't stop us from trying. The picture above is from a mushy day on Horseshoe Bay, a break which pales in comparison to waves found in the South Pacific and beyond. So why all the surf rhetoric you ask? It's Tuesday, which means I'm blogging on The Life Outside, my Outside Television blog about my adventures in the great outdoors. Today I'm talking about surfing in Fiji; more specifically about new legislation making all surf spots within the South Pacific archipelago open anyone. If you're interested in learning about the sport's newest destination now open to the public, then click on over to The Life Outside and read On Taking Waves. In the meantime, I'll be back tomorrow with your regularly scheduled Bermuda Shorts programming.
It's been an interesting two days at the 2010 PGA Grand Slam of Golf at Port Royal Golf Course in Bermuda. U.S. Open Champion Graeme McDowell hit a ball while standing barefoot in a lake on the 17th hole, PGA Champion Martin Kaymer spent most of his time on the beach (ya know, in the bunkers). 2001 PGA Champion David Toms shocked the gallery by pitching in from the fringe. Twice. And three-time major champion Ernie Els wowed the crowed with a tremendous birdie on 16 and a triumphant march to victory two holes later. I'll have a full report from the event shortly, but in the meantime, check out this video I shot and edited from Port Royal. As you'll see, it's one of the greatest golf courses anywhere in the world and not just because the bartenders serve a mean Dark n' Stormy (but they do, as you'll soon see). Sit back, turn up your speakers and watch as I tour Bermuda's finest golf course.
It's a busy day here in Bermuda: Today marks the first official day of the 2010 PGA Grand Slam of Golf so I'll be covering the event all day at Port Royal Golf Course in Southampton. I've have a complete report of the tournament in the days to come, but in the meantime, you can read my round up of Bermuda's top three public golf courses over on my Outside Television blog, The Life Outside. Fore!
Clearly the readers of Conde Nast Traveler aren't the only one's jazzed about Bermuda. As Bermuda Shorts reported yesterday, the island was recently voted the best in the Caribbean by the magazine's well-heeled readers—so to celebrate this grand achievement Bermuda and its tourism officials were presented an award from none other than talk show host extraordinaire Regis Philbin. He and Kelly Ripa gabbed about the awards presentation on yesterday's show talking about "love nobs" and "low-hanging" parts among other sexual innuendos. My favorite bit? When Rege describes the island as, "kinda British, very clean, friendly people," with jazz hands. Oh yeah, and that pair of Bermuda shorts he received as a gift from a tourism official? I have a feeling they're not his favorite.
Bermuda! And The Reefs! Again! For the second straight year the readers of Conde Nast Traveler have selected Bermuda as the top island in the Caribbean and Atlantic (over St. John, St. Barts and the British Virigin Islands, respectively) and The Reefs Hotel & Club as the top resort in the Atlantic (over Atlantis in the Bahamas, Parrot Cay in Turks & Caicos and One & Only Ocean Club also in the Bahamas). More than 25,000 readers participated in the much-anticipated survey, which has now included The Reefs on the Gold List for six consecutive years. Considering the beachfront resort recently invested millions of dollars to build a brand new fractional ownership property including its gorgeous new La Serena spa and upgrades to its restaurants and other areas around the hotel, the accolades from these well-heeled readers are well deserved (see above; that's The Reefs gorgeous pink sand beach in case you're wondering). That, and I just enjoyed a lovely dinner at Coconuts, the resort's open-air restaurant where you can listen to the waves crash on shore as you feast on an expertly prepared three-course meal. Divine. Care to experience it all for yourself? Then check out The Reef’s fantastic Endless Summer Deal, which includes five nights at the resort for the price of four. For more information check out the Reefs Specials. And don’t forget—Bermuda is only a two hour flight from most east coast gateways. Happy travels!
The PGA Grand Slam of Golf—a 36-hole tournament that tees off next Monday at Port Royal Golf Course in Bermuda—just got some very bad news from one of its star players. According to multiple sources including the PGA, Golf Digest and the Press Association, British Open Champion Louis Oosthuizen has pulled out of the tournament citing an ankle injury. Said a statement on the South African’s website: “Louis turned on his ankle while he was in South Africa for Charl Schwartzel’s wedding. He was doing some hunting during the trip and stepped in a pothole and damaged ligaments in his left ankle.” You just can’t make this stuff up. To make matters worse, Oosthuizen has been replaced by David Toms, a Shreveport, Louisiana resident who hasn’t collected a major victory in nearly a decade (his only title being the 2001 PGA Championship). If Toms’ PGA blog is any indication, clearly the 43-year-old golfer is thrilled to receive the elite tournament nod. Heck, if I was invited to compete on a beautiful island for a piece of a guaranteed $1.35 million purse I’d be pretty stoked too. But considering the PGA Grand Slam of Golf was recently dissed by Masters Champion Phil Mickelson—who turned down Port Royal’s invitation even after I wrote an impassioned open letter to persuade him to compete in Bermuda—this is the latest blow for the exclusive year-ending event. Which all just means we’ll be seeing U.S. Open Champion Graeme McDowell, PGA Champion Martin Kaymer, three-time major champion and Mickelson replacement Ernie Els and the aformentioned David Toms compete on Monday. Dear Ernie: It looks like the pot is all yours for the taking.
I'm an active guy, which is one of the many reasons I love living in Bermuda. A few weeks ago I told you about SCUBA diving alongside some of the island's submerged shipwrecks and if a good friend is in town, I almost always rent a small boat so we can go snorkeling at our own leisure. One of my favorite island activities? Hiking along the stunning south shore, ducking into secluded pink sand beaches and climbing over challenging rock formations along the way (see above). In fact, I go hiking pretty much wherever I travel, which is why I was so shocked to hear the story of American teacher Sarah Shourd, who was recently released from an Iranian prison after allegedly crossing the border while hiking with friends Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal. The story's been all over the news lately, so I thought I'd take a crack at advancing Sarah's cause with a short piece about hiking safety on my Outside Television blog, The Life Outside. If you're interested in staying safe while on your next outdoor excursion, read all about it here. And if you'd like to help Sarah get her friends home, sign the petition to release Shane and Josh over at FreeTheHikers.org. In the meantime, I'll be back tomorrow with your regularly scheduled Bermuda Shorts programming.
For some reason Monday tends to be a slow news day—unless of course a major hurricane blows through the previous weekend or ten couples get married on an iconic day of the year. Wait, what? Ten couples got married on Bermuda yesterday? On 10/10/10? So much for the lack of newsworthy events, but the good news is the couples who won the Department of Tourism's Perfect 10 contest had a beautiful day to tie the knot: 79 degrees and sunny, as we like to say here on the island, a Bermudaful day. Thinking about getting married in Bermuda? Then check out bermuda.com's new Weddings page. In the meantime I'm gonna enjoy another blissful day in paradise.
Visiting Bermuda this weekend? Staying at one of the island’s big hotels? Guests hoping to relax poolside, beachside or harborside at their favorite Bermuda resort this weekend might have to make new plans: This Sunday is the culmination of the Bermuda Department of Tourism’s much-touted Perfect 10 contest, when ten brides-and-grooms-to-be will walk down the aisle at one of ten all expenses paid destination weddings on October 10, 2010 (ten couples on 10/10/10, get it?). For the ten lucky couples it’s one heckuva deal since the BDOT teamed up with The Knot and JetBlue to give each pair a five-night stay at one of ten participating hotels, airfare from the U.S. for ten people and a dream wedding based on one of ten island-inspired themes. Back in June I was pulling for Garison & Danielle, a couple who originally pledged to named their first child “Somer’s Island” if they won the contest. Unfortunately the young pair didn’t win one of the weddings, even after Garison’s mother told Bermuda Shorts that her son was baptized with Bermuda water, her daughter was named for an island parish and that she and her husband gave blood at King Edward Hospital the last time they vacationed here. Seriously, talk about island love. But the good news is they’ll be tying the knot in Connecticut next August. Best of luck you two! In the meantime, here’s hoping for sunny skies on Sunday.
Remember when I told you about Hurricane Igor? How the storm ripped through the island leaving thousands of customers without power, some for about 20 hours (ahem) and some for more than a week? Well, we're officially still feeling the storm surge since BELCO—Bermuda's electric company—has been fixing downed lines islandwide long after the storm's departure. Case in point: This report from Bernews, which says they'll be no power in the Church Road area of Southampton on Saturday including St. Anne's Church, Turtle Bay Lane, Welcome Place, Port Royal Lane, Admiral Lane and the related portion of South Road. Which also means that yours truly will again be without power all day on Saturday. Southampton residents, fill up the coolers and get out the generators—and make sure to drink all the beer before it gets warm.
Considering I have nothing to report on from days two and three of the Bermuda Music Festival—all I really needed was a little Ziggy in my life—I'll make today's post short and sweet. As many of you know, Tuesday has long been reserved for my Outside Television blog, The Life Outside, which in past weeks has covered golf in Scotland, hiking in Aspen and diving right here in Bermuda. Today's post is all about what you should do if you've got 24 Hours in London. As you'll see, I spent the majority of my time wandering the city by foot, touring free museums and eating in jammed Chinatown restaurants. All in all a successful day spent in the British capital. If you're interested head on over to The Life Outside to read all about it. In the meantime, I'll be back tomorrow with your regularly scheduled Bermuda Shorts programming.
You know when you wake up with a song in your head? Maybe it’s random, maybe it’s from the night before—whatever the reason, you just can’t shake it? For me that song is Love is My Religion, one of the many reggae hits played by Ziggy Marley at the Fairmont Southampton beach club last night. So you see, I really don’t have much to complain about. As expected the first night of the Bermuda Music Festival was off-the-charts good. At least Ziggy was, but I’ll get to him in a moment.
The night kicked off with a performance by Uzimon, Bermuda’s own self-described “reggaelutionary.” If you don’t understand what that means, well, that’s just the point. With a faker-than-fake Jamaican accent, Uzimon was squarely at the crossroads of comedy and reggae, performing songs like “Nasty Foot Gal” and “Steven Seagal,” purportedly about his childhood idol. Some of it was amusing, some off-putting, but at least I could sit through his schtick. Unfortunately the same couldn’t be said for the next Bermuda-based act—an abrasive group of dance hall wannabes called Homegrown. Now before you go jumping down my throat for trashing local artists let me say this: Ziggy Marley was the headliner. Ziggy Marley plays what’s called conscious reggae. So why not tap an opening act that has a similar style? Was Mishka not available? He’s from Bermuda. And he plays the exact same style of reggae Ziggy does, which really would’ve been perfect. Instead, the crowd endured the tired rap of another lead singer with a faked Jamaican accent plus a tweaked out bass that was so loud and so uncomfortable I physically had to leave my seat.
Ahh well, they all can’t be as good as Ziggy.
And so we get to the main act: the legendary Son-of-Bob. To say he didn’t disappoint would be a vast understatement. Ziggy rocked it, on a stage dare I say, is Bermuda’s finest open-air venue. Note to concert promoters: Putting ticket holders on the sand, under palm trees, next to the ocean is a very good thing. Job well done. As for Ziggy, he played just about every hit in his collection including True to Myself, Tomorrow People and the aforementioned Love is My Religion, which is still in my head in case you’re wondering. Of course, the reggae superstar couldn’t leave the stage without performing a few of his father’s tunes, and for that, the crowd roared. We got This Is Love, Get Up Stand Up and about a half dozen others that kept the audience swaying on its feet. All in all a fantastic start to the beachside festival, but if anyone has any suggestions for a new song to stick in my head, I’m all ears.
is a Bermuda-based travel writer and television correspondent. To read his work visit DavidLaHuta.com or to follow him on Twitter visit Twitter.com/DavidLaHuta. Visiting Bermuda? Read his story, 36 Hours in Bermuda, which appeared in the New York Times travel section in September 2009 (http://bit.ly/36HoursBermuda) and Jetsetter's The Many Faces of Bermuda, which ran in January 2011 (http://bit.ly/FacesOfBDA).