Friday, September 7, 2012

At Least We've Got Waves

Hurricane Leslie is officially churning its way up the Atlantic, and although the Category 1 storm is forecasted to swing just east of Bermuda on Sunday, its swells have been nothing less than fantastic. For surfers, that is. Just check out the video above. That was shot yesterday near The Reefs hotel in Southampton—an exposed reef break that has fairly consistent waves during storm season. For specifics about the break check out Surf Forecast for more, but if you're looking for a wave of your own, this would be the place. It is not however, the only spot local surfers are catching waves this week. Bermuda photographer John Manderson documented chest-to-head-high waves across the island, including these images taken at Horseshoe Bay. And I've witnessed tons of surfers all along the south shore, from Dunkleys to Tuckers, both of which are hosting waves unlike I've ever seen in Bermuda. For more about local surf breaks, check out this (albeit slightly dated) article in TransWorld Surf. And be sure to keep checking Bermuda Shorts for continued updates about Hurricane Leslie, which according to all local reports, should pack a punch over the weekend. Thank goodness I've got my rum.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Storm Watch: Hurricane Leslie

Some of you may have noticed that Bermuda Shorts has been semi-retired for awhile now. It's true: The rigors of life, work and admittedly, stay-at-home-dad-dom have sacrificed yet another blog. Well, I'm happy to report that your daily dish from paradise is back—that is, until I lose power due to the impending impacts of Tropical Storm Leslie, which is currently churning its way up the Atlantic and forecast to become a hurricane any day now. On its current track the storm is expected to approach Bermuda this weekend, with winds as much as 110mph forecast to whip the western portion of the island (a.k.a. The End Where I Live). However, my catastrophe modeler insurance pals are all calling for a direct hit from a Category 2 hurricane sometime on Sunday. And trust me, these people know what they're talking about. Their business is risk. If the surf that's been rolling over the island's south shore is any indication, Bermuda should start bracing for something major (the above picture taken yesterday from Warwick Long Bay doesn't even do it justice; the surf is indeed up). For up to date information about Tropical Storm Leslie, visit the Bermuda Weather Service. And of course, I'll do my best to keep you posted with images, videos and news from the island. Folks, it looks like it might be time for a Dark n' Stormy.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Calling All New Yorkers

Apologies up front for not having more information than the bare minimum I'm about to share, but if you live or work in New York City and have a chance to be anywhere near Grand Central Station tomorrow, stop by for a chance to win a trip to Bermuda. According to the tourism website, the powers-that-be are giving away 50 round-trip airline tickets to Bermuda tomorrow, February 16, from 7am-6pm in Grand Central's Vanderbilt Hall. The Department of Tourism did the exact same thing last year, hosting a festive daylong event featuring live Gombey dancers and Bermudian food favorites, so I imagine tomorrow's shin-dig will be much of the same, but unfortunately, that's all I've got folks.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

This Just In

Remember Matt Morris' documentary film Mr. Happy Man, about a well-known Bermudian who greets Hamilton commuters each morning? Well, the director has just placed the full version of the award-winning short film online, which means you too can see the smiles Johnny Barnes brings to islanders each day. The film won the Audience Award for Best Short Film at the AFI/Discovery Silverdocs, Best Documentary Short Film at the Sidewalk Motion Picture Festival, Honorable Mention at the Nashville Film Festival and an Ideal Award at the Adventure Film Festival. Even better, it's also playing on Outside Television, the American cable network I'm also an on-air correspondent for (click here to watch my interview with Matt Morris live from Mountainfilm in Telluride). Go on, get happy.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Calling All Sailors

Looking for a major nautical thrill? Then toss your hat in the ring for this year's Newport Bermuda Race, a biannual regatta that departs from Newport, Rhode Island and ends in St. David's, Bermuda every other June (this year it shoves off on the 15th). Founded in 1906 as the first ocean race for amateur sailors, the regatta has since become one of the world's premier sailing events—a 635-mile open ocean contest, most of it out of sight of land. Although the entry process for the 48th annual Newport Bermuda Race has only been open for three weeks over 100 boats have submitted entries, including past champions Sinn Fein—Peter Rebovich's Cal 40, winner of the coveted St. David's Lighthouse Trophy in 2006 and 2008—and Llwyd Ecclestone's Frers 68 Kodiak (Editor's note: This is a big deal within sailing circles. Get excited people). It's a much-anticpated week among sailors, but even more so for us islanders—after all, the much-anticpated race is yet another excuse to drink copious amounts of Dark 'n Stormy's while watching the ships pull in harborside. If you're interested in entering visit the Newport Bermuda Race official website. Or if you just want to party in June, well, visit Bermuda.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

From The Headlines

In case you missed what's been happening in Bermuda—because clearly I have due to some off-island travels—here's a little recap of the local headlines. Did you hear that the Florida Marlins moved to Miami? And that its owners built a brand new ballpark? Well, its 110,000-square-foot-field was officially covered with Bermuda grass, a type of sod that's shade-resistant, which will be helpful in case the team has to close the park's retractable roof due to inclimate weather. Now you know. In other news, the good folks at the Bermuda Sun asked the public a very good question recently: Should we start growing our own crops? Considering spinach costs upwards of $14 a pound and even local squash is astronomical at times, my vote is a wholehearted yes. Now, I understand that farming in Bermuda is expensive since there's no local source of fresh water and the price of 1,000 gallons is $28 as opposed to $6 in 1996, but come on people. I need me some fresh local fruits and veggies. From the disappointing news desk, word has it the PGA plans to pull the Grand Slam of Golf from Bermuda after this year's tournament. Not cool PGA. Didn't you see this super-cool video I filmed from the tournament two years ago? Was that not enough to keep you at beautiful Port Royal Golf Course for another year or two? Whatever. Finally, it looks like Presidential candidate Mitt Romney is finally declaring some of his millions. Ya know, the cash he avoided paying taxes on by setting up a paper company in Bermuda. What a stand up guy.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Deal of the Day

For the sake of brevity I'll keep this short and sweet. Looking for a bargain-basement priced room at one of the fanciest (and historic!) hotels in Bermuda? Well, look no further. The Fairmont Hamilton Princess just announced a fantastic deal good for travel until April 30th: 50% off all rooms, if booked from now until February 3rd. That means harborfront rooms that normally cost around $260 a night, now cost $129. Can you say deal? A Saturday night stay is required and a few blackout dates apply, but if you're looking to visit Bermuda this Spring and would like to be within walking distance of Hamilton's many shops and restaurants, this is the deal for you. For more, check out the 50% Off Bermuda Pink Sale.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Mitt's Bermuda Millions

Bermuda Shorts has never gotten too involved in politics, but I thought it was necessary—especially given the current state of American presidential politics—to point you to an interesting article currently running on Politico. It's about Mitt Romney and how the presidential candidate avoided paying taxes while at Bain Capital by sheltering his assets in, yes you guessed it, Bermuda. Interested? Then check out Mitt Romney's Bermuda (tax) Holiday to learn more about how Mitt made his millions (rather, kept his millions from being taxed in the U.S.). I'm not sure what's more surprising, that he did it in the first place, that we're just finding out or that it happened in Bermuda.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

It's a Staycation Y'all

Sometimes you've just gotta take your own good advice. Case in point: Last week I spilled the beans on an amazing deal at The Reefs Hotel & Club—nearly 70% off an ultra-luxe two or three-bedroom suite, good through mid-March. And while the pull to vacation right here in Bermuda has always been strong, the Reefs' rockbottom rate combined with an increasingly-crazed holiday season proved much too powerful, so I booked in for the weekend. The result? Today's story about Winter Deals and Sunny Skies currently running on Huffington Post Travel. In it you'll get my take on my two-night stay and my indulgent experience at the La Serena Spa (spoiler alert: It was all fantastic!) plus can learn about other seasonal deals and specials in Bermuda right now (like the island's first-ever restaurant week or how to get your third, fourth or fifth night free at a handful of hotels and resorts). So in case you're wondering what's it's like to stay in a gorgeous oceanfront two-bedroom suite with unending views of the Atlantic, read Winter Deals and Sunny Skies in Bermuda on Huffington Post Travel now. And yes, that's me lounging beside the Reefs' gorgeous infinity pool last weekend. I know, life's tough.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Cruise News

While rescue crews continue to search for survivors of the Costa Concordia tragedy on the Italian coast, Bermuda believe it or not, will soon be feeling the smack of the ship's wake. According to Bloomberg, Bermuda's XL Group is one of the cruise line's lead insurers, and along with insurance firms Generali SpA and RSA, faces up to $1 billion in potential damages. In case you're wondering that would be a new record for a ship wreck, dwarfing the claims that followed the sinking of Exxon Valdez, which ran aground in Alaska in 1989 costing insurers $500 million. And although the final bill will be shared by 12 other insurers from the London market and likely won't be definitively known for months or even years—at the moment losses are estimated to be between $600 and $800 million—it's amazing to think how one rock could simultaneously rip a gaping hole in a ship and an industry. Risky business, indeed.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Deal of The Year

Every so often a travel deal crosses my desk that I just can't ignore. This is one of those times. Because apparently 2012 has brought with it a wave of affordability right here in notoriously pricey Bermuda. Got holiday fatigue? Well do I have the getaway for you! From now until March 15th The Reefs Hotel & Club is offering super-low rates in its brand new, ultra-luxe Club Condos. How low you say? Currently two guests can stay in a 2,000-square-foot, two-bedroom condo for just $299 a night, down from $849 normally. It's a whopper of a deal, especially when you consider the luxurious amenities that you'll have at your fingertips including a fully-equipped gourmet kitchen, oversized spa-like bathrooms with gigantic soaking tubs and rain showers, an oceanfront veranda with private Jacuzzi plus flat-screen televisions, Wi-Fi and your own washer/dryer (to rinse off your swim trunks after a dip in the ocean or the Reefs' heated infinity pool, of course). You'll have full access to its sumptuous La Serena Spa—complete with an ocean view relaxation room and body treatments galore—in addition to a private lounge where you can play billiards while sipping your Dark n' Stormy with a view of the turquoise Atlantic. My kinda place! Still on the fence? Current island forecasts call for monthly temperatures in the high 60's, low 70s, which is perfect for a game of golf, long strolls on the beach or relaxing poolside with a great book. And really, what's better than golf, the beach and relaxing poolside? Just one note: Due to minor renovations in the hotel's on-site restaurants, food and beverage services will be unavailable, but a pre-arrival grocery shopping service is available for guests who'd like to stock their in-room kitchen (and of course, the concierge can make reservations at all island restaurants). To book you can call The Reefs directly at 800/742-2008 or go the The Reefs website and book online. And yes, that'll be your living room. I told you it was deluxe.