Monday 2 January 2012

The Dockyards, Bermuda

Gord and I headed to Hamilton this afternoon. We took the longer bus route (30 minutes) so we could see some of the country.

Because today is a holiday, nothing was open 'til 1pm. We walked around for a while and then took the ferry to the dockyards (a 20 minute ride).

HMD Bermuda (Her/His Majesty's Dockyard, Bermuda) was the principal base of the Royal Navy in the Western Atlantic between American independence and the Cold War. Bermuda had occupied a useful position astride the homeward leg taken by many European vessels from the New World since before its settlement by England in 1609. French privateers may have used the Islands as a staging place for operations against Spanish galleons in the 16th Century. Bermudian privateers certainly played a role in many Imperial wars following settlement. Despite this, it wasn't until the loss of bases on most of the North American seaboard (following U.S. independence) threatened Britain's supremacy in the Western Atlantic, however, that the Island assumed great importance as a naval base (the attendant Bermuda Garrison of the British Army existed primarily to protect the naval base).

After the closure of most of the base as an active naval dockyard in 1957, the base fell into a state of disrepair. Storms and lack of maintenance caused damage to many buildings. Beginning in the 1980s, increased tourism to Bermuda stimulated interest in fixing up the dockyard and turning it into a tourist attraction. Currently, cruise ships regularly land at the dockyard during summer months. To serve these visitors, several former warehouses have been turned into artists shops and a pedestrian mall has opened in the clock tower building. The keep area is now the site of the Bermuda Maritime Museum and the Dolphin Quest attraction. There are also several restaurants on site. Money is still being raised to repair the remaining damaged buildings and build a second dock to attract additional cruise ships.

It was a fun ride and we got to see more of the country. This is the view of Hamilton from the ferry.

Here we are approaching the Dockyards.

We got off the ferry and started wandering around.

We like historic places so found the Dockyards fascinating.

We stopped for a smooch under the Moongate.

Then we started wandering some more.

The Casemate Barracks, an old prison, was scary looking! I'd hate to have been put there. It closed in the 1990s and the new prison is next door.

We wandered back along the water.

The Victualling Yard was huge ... it used to be used as a storage area.

Definitely an interesting place to spend a couple hours.


Fizzgig said...

this looks like an amazing trip!!!

Happy 2012!!

Margaret B said...

I always love how your photos enhance your stories and adventures. Cute photo of you two kissing as well!

Question about the dockyards - is it free to visit? Were you able to wander inside or were the crumbling parts off limits?

Teena in Toronto said...

Yes, it's free to go to the Dockyards. You can wander around the buildings but you can't get into the prison.