Driving past the fish sculpture (pictured above) outside the Aquarium at Flatts here in Bermuda, reminded me about my visit there. I have been a few times, first with my lovely husband, then with my Mum when she visited, which was two years ago now, and then more recently with my son who also came to stay with us. I enjoy being an ambassador for Bermuda and providing a great stay and experience for my relatives and friends when they come over, and a trip to the Aquarium is a must. The flights started back up again this week, so Bermuda will be welcoming visitors again with strict testing, physical distancing and mask wearing practices. It was good to read that there are currently no active cases of Covid-19 here on the island. Long may that last. Hopefully the Aquarium will be up and running again soon.
Above: Photos of the green turtles in their pond at the Bermuda Aquarium.
As we were driving past, I said ‘I’m going to stop and see the turtles’. There is a car park across from the Aquarium, so I pulled into this and we crossed at the crossing as the road is very busy there most of the time. Crossings here are unusual in the fact that they are all American style out of Hamilton, and United Kingdom style within Hamilton. The American ones are set up so that if you push the button, the orange light flashes immediately for traffic, which has to stop; but can drive through if there’s no one crossing anymore. The UK ones are on a timer system, so if you push the button, you still have to wait for the sequence of traffic, and it activates the cross signal when it’s your turn. The important thing to remember about all of them, is to make sure there are no little bikes screaming through at a high speed, before stepping onto the crossing, even if you think the traffic has stopped. The scooter riders here take no mercy and it would be easy to get wiped out, even on a crossing, as they try to pass and get to their grave faster, oh I mean home faster!
The turtles are in an outside pond beside the road at the bridge end of the Aquarium. Right beside the bus stop with the pink pole, because it’s going towards Hamilton. The other side will have a blue pole, which means you’re travelling away from Hamilton. Quite clever, ay! There are usually four giant green turtles in the pool as big as the table I’m using to write my blog on today. That’s about a metre long. One has an amputated front flipper and is very adept to swimming without it, kind of on it’s side with the other front flipper. They can stay under the water for ages, and if you’re patient they will finally come up, take a huge gasp, swim around for a bit and then go back under. They are well looked after by the Aquarium, and live there most of the year except when the pool is being cleaned. CCTV is running to protect them, and there are warnings not to put your hand in the water, or feed them.
We sometimes see turtles in the bay where we live, as they come in to eat the sea grass, but these ones are much smaller, their shell being about the size of a hot water bottle. The biggest one I’ve ever seen in the wild, was down in a bay near Hospital Island, the one I’ve already written about in my blog The Old Bath House. I’ve popped the link for that at the end. I don’t know what the Bay is called, but it’s part of the Great Sound, and around the corner from Parson’s Bay. I was swimming along looking for bottles, as one does when snorkelling, and something brushed past my shoulder. It was a huge metre long green turtle who had swum right up to me, for a look, then merrily went about his business without a care in the world that I was there. In his patch! I nearly drowned, diving down to get a better look and forgetting my snorkel was underwater, it was so exciting. I spoiled the moment coughing and spluttering as he swam off.
The Aquarium has a really good display of subtropical fish found around Bermuda’s coral reef. It also has a zoo part with animals like the iguana, tamarins, lots of flamingos, and some Galapagos tortoises. There’s a lot there actually. I’ll pop some pictures in. The café overlooks Harrington Sound and you might see fish swimming below you. They also have snorkelling lessons and tours, but are closed currently. I don’t think it will be long until they reopen though now we have tourists coming back to the island.
If you would like to learn about the green turtle recovery programme here in Bermuda please use this link:
So, we’re off snorkelling now, and hopefully will see a couple of our own while out!
More soon – Sally
Read my The Old Bath House blog here:
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