File photo by kageaki smith
LIFE’S A BEACH: Relax on one of Bermuda’s beautiful beaches, such as Horseshoe Bay.
File photo by kageaki smith LIFE’S A BEACH: Relax on one of Bermuda’s beautiful beaches, such as Horseshoe Bay.

After sailing for days in the open ocean, the sight of Bermuda and terra firma is a relief. 

Bermuda, sitting alone in the Atlantic, is an oddity but if we look at our charts we should realize this island is unique. 

Rising up in the North Atlantic Basin between Hatteras Plain and the 12,000 mile long Mid-Atlantic Ridge, Bermuda combines the majesty and scope of the Rocky Mountains and yet has more in common with Pacific atolls on the opposite side of the globe. 


At its highest point Bermuda is only 250 ft above the surrounding sea.  To put that in perspective, the John Hancock Tower in nearby Boston is more than three times taller.

Below the surface, however, Bermuda rises over 12,000 ft from the sea bottom. 

Approaching Bermuda from the sea, after a voyage from Marion, Massachusetts is exhilarating, but imagining the totality of Bermuda from the sea bottom is inspiring.

Bermuda is a tropical atoll and the northern-most coral reef on the planet. 

It is supported by over 12,000 ft of lava from past volcanic action. Over this base, coral has accreted to a height of more than 200 ft for millions of years, limiting the approaches and giving Marion-Bermuda Race participants their final challenge navigating around Northeast Breakers and Kitchen Shoals to the finish line off St David’s Lighthouse.

The 21-square-mile, fishhook-shaped island was uninhabited when it was spotted by a Spanish exploration ship led by Juan de Bermudez in 1503.

Bermudez left his name behind, but it was the English who came to stay, after shipwrecking here in 1609. That 400-year legacy is what creates the ‘Englishness’, while the nearly tropical air is due to the Gulf Stream you just crossed.

Bermuda Highs have a major weather influence on the region, including the eastern US. 

High pressure systems bring mostly clear and pleasant weather to the latitudes around Bermuda and over the Atlantic Ocean. 

Since air circulates around highs in a clockwise manner, the Highs east of Bermuda bring moist air and rain to the eastern US.

Further west of Bermuda and the air travels over the eastern seaboard land mass, bringing drier and less humid air. 

This creates mostly pleasant weather across the region but also the doldrums, which can frustrate the best efforts of sailors racing toward a pleasant day relaxing on the beautiful beaches of Bermuda. 

We are happy you are here and congratulations on a safe and successful race. 

Welcome to our island paradise.