Head out to Bermuda’s coast (less than a mile from any point) and there it is. The mighty and eternal Atlantic Ocean. Crashing, storming, silent. Whatever its mood, it’s always present.
Bermuda and her people owe their very existence this great blue ocean. It was the Atlantic that shaped and shifted salt and sand, to erode and tame a once towering volcano down into the rolling hills and friendly valleys that make up the island today.
It was in the 15th and 16th Centuries that countless European explorers — often beaten and battered by the Atlantic’s wrath, on the verge of death — were granted absolution by the craggy coastline of this piece of Eden. Yet the odds of running ashore on 21 square miles of land amidst the 41.1 million square mile Atlantic were divinely small.
Ungratefully, the earliest Portuguese and Spanish named her the Isle of Devils, due to the sounds of unfamiliar fauna living in abundance amongst the windswept limestone cliffs. Little did they know that this godforsaken rock would provide them and their children shelter and sustenance to continue on with their voyages to the new world.
Often I think back to how it must have been at the beginning. No buildings, no roads, no men, nothing. Just green and white and blue for as far as the eye could see. The first settlers to stay must have realised what a treasure they had unwantingly found. The untouched, cursed jewel of the Atlantic that they didn’t know they were hunting for.
Here there are colours you couldn’t hope to imagine elsewhere, let alone see. While London is shades of grey, Bermuda is shades of everything else. Blues more blue than anything you’ve ever witnessed. More blue than the sky and the universe — almost black out past the reef. Then royal and turquoise and other blues which haven’t yet been named mix and mingle as you approach the shore, in and out of harbours and bays. Then the white and black of limestone cliffs guard her most precious treasure — beaches with sands of pink.
Then green. The Atlantic runs into the land it gives life, and so rise forests of Bermuda Cedar and Palmetto Palm and Baygrape that shelter the island. Greens so vernal that you can almost feel the trees and bush breathing in carbon and out life. The collective rise and fall of an emerald rock in the middle of a vast pool of sapphire.
The result of witnessing this otherworldly scene? An out-of-body experience — a sensory overload unlike no other.
A Bermuda high.