The Old Bath House


The sun’s come out here in Bermuda, and the weather is definitely beginning to warm up a bit.  Last week we had the threatened storm Arthur, which went from Tropical Depression, to Post Tropical Storm, and then thankfully petered out before it could get to us.  We still had bad weather forecast so we decided the little boat needed to go out a bit deeper on a different mooring, just in case.! 

Hooray! I can go swimming.  I donned my togs, found my fins, mask and snorkel, surf shoes just in case, and arrived at the dock to help lovely husband to shift the boat.  ‘What are you doing in your bathers?’ he cautiously asked.  I had a plan, to take the boat off the current mooring, then take it to the new one, and swim back.  ‘I don’t think so’ kind of dampened my spirits a little.  I knew I could do it but he was thinking it was a bit rough out.  If you know me, that wasn’t going to deter me much, and I’d made all this effort to dress appropriately.  So we brought little boat into the dock, took the motor off with much swearing, and vein popping effort, it’s apparently quite heavy.  Then when that was safely on the dock by my quick thinking hoist made with a rope, I could then get in.  Not in the boat, in the water.  I got hold of the line attached to the bow, and half swam, half dragged the boat to the next mooring.  Having done this before, I knew I needed my mask to be able to see under the water. 

My fins shown here when they were brand new are now snapped across the bridge of my foot

A few days later it had rained heavily through the night.  The boat needed bailing, as it was sitting quite low in the water.  I donned my gear again, and this time lovely husband said, ‘Its rougher than last time, I don’t think so’. Now why would he doubt me so, of course I can do it.  Swimming out was a bit tiring, but not any worse than I’ve done before, and when I got to the boat I had to make a decision.  I was meant to take if off the mooring and then swim it back to the dock.  I decided it would be easier to climb in and bail it, leaving it where it was.  It took two attempts to get in as it has a flat bottom and my body just swung under each time unable to get purchase.  The rope step was helpful, but it took me a while to figure I was trying to use the wrong leg, and was going about it all arse about face.  When the penny dropped I swapped legs, and hoisted myself in, half falling unceremoniously onto the deck.  Meanwhile lovely husband was pacing the dock, but very quiet.  I sat up on the stern, and took my time bailing away, while the boat bobbed and pitched in the choppy surf.  That was great fun.  At the end of it, I secured everything I’d used in place, and jumped back in to swim back. 

Arriving at the dock, lovely husband had a thunderous look, and said ‘Never ever ever do that again!’  Do what?  Oh, it turns out, I got into the boat on the wrong side.  It might wash against me if another boat caused a wake.  I was meant to turn the boat around, and then get in.  Then to top it off, I jumped in on the wrong side as well.  That’s a Scottish descent thing, we like to enter and exit the same way each time so we don’t take all the wealth straight through with us or something like that.  But worse still, I snapped my fins.  Just devastated.

At the start of the weekend the weather still wasn’t so great, but warm enough so we went for a drive to visit the old Convict’s bath house down near Dockyards.  Now we know about shelter in place restrictions, but lovely husband had a job to do for work, during his own time, and I decided to go to and make the most of the drive.  The Bath House is by Le Froy house, a Care Home for Bermuda’s older citizens, and the old Bath House is right beside it, with a track and bridge going out to it on Hospital Island.  The Bath House was originally built and used for naval convicts around the early eighteen hundreds.  There used to be quite a few of them, but I think this one is the best example.  It’s a stone building enclosed on all sides except for an entry door, with internal stairs leading down to the water. There’s no roof or flooring, as it’s open to the weather and the seabed. Convicts could bathe supervised, without being able to attempt escape out to sea.  I would guess the size is similar to a small lounge room, and it has vents at the bottom, which I expect were originally grated with bars, to let the sea water in and out with the tides.  When I went to photograph the inside there was a lot of rubbish blown in, so I decided not to.  However I got a few good shots of the outside.  The little wooden bridge joining the two islands was restored in 2014, and was originally painted red in the mid nineteen hundred’s, so is known of course as ‘Jack’s Bridge’, after the man that painted it.  This often happens in Bermuda.  You will be told something like, ‘you just go to Jack’s Bridge, that’s the red one and you’ll find it’.   To find that the red bridge is now natural wood, and there’s not a spot of red on it anymore, and hasn’t been for at least five or six years!  It’s a great place to see turtles swimming about, but I couldn’t get any good photos with the overcast sky and the churned up water.  Next time.  If you would like to check out the links listed at the end of the blog, there are some great articles about the Bath House, and some of Bermuda’s Naval History.

When we came back the weather was clearing, so we decided to take little boat out for a short trip to the bay beside Grotto Bay, and finally do some real snorkelling.  I definitely swam out to bring the boat back in this time, all masked up and keen to go.  That was lucky because somehow the rope had wound round and round the mooring line and took what seemed an eternity to unravel.  In between breaths, I finally untied it and swam back.  Very pleased it wasn’t choppy water this time.  Little boat went well, and handled the wake from other boats, speeding over the waves, with only a little water washing in.  It rained on us getting there, but the sun was shining when we arrived.  We beached it and tried out the new anchor to secure it in place, which seemed to work well.  It was nice having a swim, exploring new territory, and lovely husband found a little bleached sea urchin.  I found a broken blob top off a bottle, but threw it back for someone else to find.  No more broken bottles to keep, only whole ones!  The rubber bands holding my fins together worked well enough and I have to make do until international post starts up again.  My little feet aren’t accommodated for here in Bermuda.  Still being a bit cool for me, I have to admit I needed a hot shower to warm up again after half an hour in the water.  Soon we’ll be complaining that it’s too hot!

More soon – Sally

References I used:

http://www.bermudasun.bm/Content/Mobile-Site-Home/Mobile/Article/New-partnership-sees-convict-bathhouses-restored/-5/-5/79573

http://www.bermuda-online.org/rnd.htm

http://www.bermuda-online.org/rnd.htm

And this is a great article that’s well worth reading:

Categories: The Old Bath House - 25 May 2020Tags: , , , , ,

2 comments

  1. Sorry to hear about your fins, I remember how excited you were when you got them! Xx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Super photos and story of the bath house, and I love the wee bridge between the two islands.There must be a story in there, I’m sure. What you say about the bath house is hilarious, my imagination ran riot.
    Love your story about swimming out to the boat, though I’m with Vince on getting in the ‘right’ side of the boat. Have not heard of entering and exiting the same way, though my dad would have claimed that Scottish wisdom for himself.
    Great going Sally, I’m learning more about Bermuda than I ever knew before.

    Liked by 1 person

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