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MITSUGIRLYS DAWN TO BERMUDA NOVEL (or review as some may call it)

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Ok, I'm going to try to continue on between slurping up cough medicine, blowing my nose and hacking up a lung. Bare with me.





I was up at 7:45am and it was time to get the family up and moving. I didn't want to waste a single moment of this beautiful day.







We headed over the the buffet and ate in the kids area where you could get your food easy and quick.


Once we were done getting our bellies full, we headed back over to our rooms and I seen the room steward in the hallway. I knew that meant it was time to get my zip-lock baggie full of ice for our soft cooler full of POP for the day.


We headed off the ship at 9am and once again, took our obligatory picture for the photographer (do they just stand out there all day taking pictures?).


This time the hubby caught the pirate off guard and grabbed his sword and threatened to chop off Sakari's head if he gave us any problems. The guy couldn't help but laugh. He wasn't a scary pirate after all.





We headed down the walkway, past the taxi stands and toward the ferry. Toward the ferry line. Toward the ferry line. Toward the end of the ferry line. Toward the end of....the island ferry line. WHERE THE HECK DOES THIS LINE END AT???? Geesh. It went all the way down and around and circled the block a few times and across the pier, up on RCI's ship, down the promenade deck, back out the door, jump onto Calico Jacks ship, down the slide into the water and swim back for your spot in the ferry line.


We made it. YIKES!! I figured there would be a line since the first orange ferry over to St George was at 9:30am, but I had no clue it would be like this. I guess with the ferry to St George not running on Sundays, everyone had the same idea as us and would head there on Monday.


Here are my plans for this nice Monday day in Bermuda...I had hoped at least.




9:30am orange ferry over to St George (45 minute ride)-3 tickets (or 2.75)




Leaving Dockyard Leaving St George

*9:30 *3:30

*11:30 *5:30


10:15 Arrive at St George and proceed to Visitor Center for stamp






$6/pp x 2 = $12.00 (kids free) Runs every ½ hour



10:30 Bus to Unfinished Church



11:00 Bus to Tobacco Bay



11:15-2:15 At Tobacco Bay





Jerk platter w/peas & rice or mac & cheese or fries & slaw $17

Hamburger & fries $12


Beer $7 ($35 bucket)


Frozen $10 for 12 oz and $15 for 20 oz.

Umbrella and lounger combo $25 or $15 each.



2:30-4:00-Hop on bus to Achilles Bay (Fort St Catherine Beach)or walk 15 minutes, there is a path from the parking lot next to Ft St Catherines to the beach at Achilles.


4:00pm-leave Achilles Bay bus to Alexandra Battery Sea Glass beach



5:30pm Catch ferry back to dockyard (3 tickets or 2 & $2.75 child)



6:15 arrive at dockyard

(Sunset is 8:25pm)



Shopping and dockyard time

Once we got into the long line in the hot sun one of the workers kept coming by and telling us "This ferry is full. You can take the ferry next to it that will leave in a few minutes and it will take you over to Hamilton and there's plenty of room on it.

Um...I don't want to go to Hamilton. You dock/ferry/bus workers are NOT going to screw me up again!! Not this time. No way Jose! I stood in line. I watched multiple people jump out of line and say "Come on, this ferry is full and we'll just get on the other ferry they are talking about that goes over"

Um yea, goes over alright...to Hamilton, which happens to be a good hour bus ride after that over to St George in case you people didn't do your homework. Well I did and I'm not budging.


The workers would continue to come around again, walking up and down the line telling people this ferry is full. Yep, you keep working your magic lady and people will just keep getting out of the line following your instructions and I WILL make it on this St George ferry that you claim is full.






HA!!! I WIN. I'm on the St George ferry and away we went! See ya suckers!







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This was a great opportunity to get some good pictures of the Dawn sitting in port with the beautiful blue water caressing her reef kissing metal.






We didn't have the VIP seating inside, but we managed to line ourselves up and down one side and it was just enough to fit our family. Along the ride, some of us would just sit there, one of the munchkins would take a nap, one of us would continue to *turn camera on, *snap pictures, *turn camera off, another would run from the sun and I'm pretty sure another would be hyper and driving the one with the camera crazy. Just saying...





I want to say it was about 40 minutes over. Sakari was a hot mess from just waking up, still having her "make-up" on from the kids club the night before and trying to get excited about the beach day ahead.



We were getting close, they started slowing down.






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Off the dock we went and it was time to try to figure out where it was we needed to go to find the new "Hop on-Hop off" bus.





We were just kinda walking down the streets following the crowd. I mean for sure they knew the right way to go right?




Every so often Kendra would turn to me and say "Which way?" or "Where do we go from here? and all the months of research I did and I would come back with the statement "I don't know, I have never been here before". Sigh. It's like I lost my mind going somewhere new. I'm pretty sure I had printed a map and it was in my handy dandy file in my bag, but it's like being put on the spot during a nursing test. All ways point to the correct answer, but only 1 is the best way to go.


So we just kept walking.




Monkey see...



Monkey do...




We seen a little street that somewhat resembles an "alley" (I'm sure every person on here has a different meaning for this after the "pop" terminology) and I decided we probably want to stick to a "main road".


So we head UP the hill. Who's idea was this???? Puff puff, pant pant. Whew. Once we made it up to the top of the hill. We turned right (because if there was one thing that I remembered from all my research and map searching, it was that I needed to turn right to head toward Kings somethingorother.


Here's those interesting roofs again.







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Now someone tell me why a rooster is up in the tree?





Hi Kim, I grew up in the Island. We have a lot of free ranging chickens in our yard. Believe it or not they go in the tree every evening to roost (or sleep). They come down in the morning.


Everyone. The bird is called?????:confused:

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Kim, I know exactly how you feel. After our last cruise on the Dawn, we spent the night in NOLA. When I woke up the next morning, I had a slight cough. I had to keep clearing my throat. Coughed all the way home. I had that cough for 4 weeks. After 3 weeks my family got sick of listening to me hacking away. Every time you cough, you pee :). Go to the doctor. Don't wait like I did & I never get sick.

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See, honestly, I did have directions, but I froze for some reason and lost my mind.


We stopped at a little store along the way. Kendra wanted to buy some snacks for the beach to munch on. Billy took off to the building next door (which I believe was a bar LOL) and he didn't come out for a hot minute.


I told the hubby to ask the store clerk which was the way to the Kings Square or "Vistor Center" and he came out and said "She said go down and turn and then straight" :confused: Um...go down where? Turn what way? Seriously? I sent you in there for directions and this is what you come back with??? Sigh In I went for appropriate directions!


I was told to head down the stairs there were right between this store and the bar building and then turn left on the stone walkway and we'd run right in to the Visitor Center. Well don't you know that's the "alley-looking" road I decided, I mean someone in our party must have decided not to take and wanted to climb up the hill to stay on the main road instead.


So down we went...where we would continue to wait and wait and wait for Billy, who never came out of the bar until someone went looking for him. LOL




When he did come out, he had an entire bottle of booze with him. (He normally drinks Crown and Red Bull, this was not Crown, but he would have to settle I guess).


We got to the end of the street and there was the Visitor Center just like they said.




The Town Hall




I knew ahead of time that this is where you would purchase your tickets for the new St George bus system.




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I wondered where you had been. Glad you are back.


Fingers crossed Kev is getting a good laugh at my trip so far. ;)


Where will you be sailing the Dawn in in February? February is my birthday too and it will be my 50th. I need to find a good cruise for then. LOL :p


We are repeating the Cozumel, Costa Maya, Roatan, and Belize itinerary. Almost identical to the Star in 2012. Only difference is instead of Belize City we will be doing Harvest Caye. I guess it is slated to open in the fall.


We had been scheduled on the Jewel from Los Angeles to the Mexican Riviera since last July. A couple weeks ago they cancelled our 2/14/16 sailing and 3 others for a charter. I was not a happy camper let me tell you :mad: After much back and forth and major hissy fit throwing I was able to convince them to make a lateral move to the Dawn. They only wanted to lateral move us to another Mexican Riviera sailing. That wouldn't work as the week of the 14th is the only week the 12 of us can all sail. So while not the itinerary we wanted to are still cruising and I love that itinerary :D Come along with us! Valentines day, and the Presidents day weekend during this week.


FYI, if you ever do book an Alaskan cruise, we live across the Puget Sound from the cruise terminal (60 minute ferry crossing). You are welcome to stay with us, we have 3 empty bedrooms.

Every weekend during cruise season while we are out on our boat we get to watch the parade of cruise ships heading for Alaska, one day we will be on one also. However I also hate to be cold and to me a cruise should be to warm waters I can snorkel in. :D

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Here is the new wonderful St George Hop On, Hop Off bus system:




I thought it would be a great value to be able to hop on and off as you desired all day long. This would be a better way to see any place you wanted to see along the route and save your legs.


This is the route they take along with all the stops they make.





You will find bus stops along the way and they are clearly marked so you know you are waiting for one of these buses to come along.





Of course like always, I had a back up plan. IF we were unable to find this bus and we had to walk, I printed off directions on how to do this. I had heard that it's a nice big hill at the beginning of the walk and then once past the Unfinished Church it would be a pleasant walk.




However, since we were able to find the Visitor Center and purchase the bus pass, we wouldn't be walking to Tobacco Bay at least.


You simply go inside to the counter and tell them you want to purchase the pass, pay them and they stamp your hand with a bright blue stamp and you are done.


Now I had heard that the bus stop is a little "difficult" or "confusing" to find. We didn't have a problem at all. You simply walk out of the visitor center and it's basically right beside it between that building and the red building. Not hard at all. There's a bench there and everything.




One of the buses pulled up the minute that we got there but we didn't quite have everyone together to get on yet...I bet you all can guess who's dragging behind...starts with K and ends with A. So that bus filled up and we waited on the next. The signs say the bus comes every 1/2 hour but I'm pretty darn sure they must have more than 1 running because we did not wait over 10-15 minutes before another pulled up.


Someone on another thread ask me how many seats and I was thinking around 13 or so, but I also forgot that these buses have the middle seat that also pulls down for a chair (that would block the isle) so quite a few people can get on. Looking at the picture, I'm thinking it might hold maybe 17 people??? I remember counting and I remember it being an odd number.





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Away we went to Tobacco Bay. I had originally wanted to first stop at the Unfinished Church to take some pictures and then catch the next bus on to Tobacco Bay. When the driver got around what I thought was the Unfinished Church, he kinda slowed down but kept going. It felt almost like a sight seeing tour. I didn't know if we were to shout out that we wanted off or if the bus just automatically stopped at all the stops. I would later find out that the driver ask if anyone wanted off and no one replied so he kept going. I guess that's a problem with sitting in the back seat.


So, plans are once again thrown off and changed on day 2. Oh well. We were headed to Tobacco Bay.


I did see people walking along the road and once again, I don't think it's something I would have wanted to do. But of course, being my first time there it seemed like it took awhile.


We were let off at the street and told which way to walk to the entrance. It was a fairly easy decline down the road to the entrance.





I took one look at the beach and thought "Man this beach is small". It's probably one of the smallest beaches I think I have been to.




The chairs were $15 each or 2 for $25. Kendra and I decided to get 2 and split the cost. I would not be in a chair today and knew the hubby would want one. Kendra and Billy the same. Chrissy got her just 1 chair to share with her daughter Shayla. So we had a total of 3 chairs lined up. Prime Real Estate was already claimed for this subdivision and we were forced to take the maids quarters this time around. Oh well. I didn't really care since I had no intention of being there at the camp anyhow.


The hubby quickly claimed his spot, sat down, ordered a drink and took this picture to post on his social media site with the caption "My wife is out there somewhere". LOL





Sakari was the first one into the water like always (we were still picking our not-so-prime location):





Brayden joined her shortly and they were both looking around at all the fish under the water.






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Just a little tour of the place.


Here's the concession stand deck/area:




Some of the drink prices:






Food prices:





Equipment Rental:









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I have to say, Tobacco Bay is not what I had pictured. You google the words Tobacco Bay and you ALWAYS see the pictures of the tall rocks that are VERY distinctive when you see them.




I looked out at the water and thought...where are they? This is not like the pictures I have seen online. Well, those tall stacks of skinny rocks are to the side of the beach/water area. It really threw me off. I always pictured them to be straight ahead. LOL







I immediately went to work snorkeling and taking pictures. Sakari wanted to come along with me so I told her she'd have to put her fins on so that she could go faster and swim better with the current.




I tell ya my pictures would be a hit or miss that day depending on where my location was and how stirred up the water was, to if the sun was shinning at the time I took the picture, to the depth of the water. Some turned out excellent, others not as good. I'm trying to share just the ones that are at least decent.






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I have to say I was having a GREAT time snorkeling here. Well worth the visit for sure. I explored everywhere on the right side with the tall skinny tobacco stacks.




The thing I thought that was neat was every time I have been snorkeling, I always see the bright purple sea fans. This time, I would see maroon sea fans. It was a pretty neat change.






When Sakari got tired I swam back with her to make sure she got back safetly to shore and she would continue to play and snorkel around that area with Brayden. Kendra and the girls joined me and we decided to go out straight ahead to see what was out there. It was a blast indeed.




This beauty was pretty darn huge.




The soft coral everywhere was amazing.



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There wasn't a lot of hard coral in the area, but you did see some.





A super HUGE, I mean HUGE fish that probably had a body on him the size of Kendra's torso went flying past me. I was on a mission to get a picture of it. It was fast. It weaved in and out of the rocks. I would sit and wait. Then I would get tired of waiting and move over and see it again dart into another area. It was toying with me for sure. I never did get the picture but I squealed with excitement every time it went past me. However I did find this big guy, who was pretty big too and he seem to be the big fishes side kick.




Now my birthday is in February. I'm a Pisces, which probably explains why I love the water and fish so much. I can talk to fish. They know I love photography. So, I talked this guy into striking a pose for me and told him to say "cheese" (or actually "coral") and he laughed at me and told me "no, under no circumstance will I say cheese."







There's more of that maroon looking sea fans but this one was so bright and beautiful. Are these only limited to Bermuda and not in the Caribbean? (Since I have only seen a light purple there).




This place had the absolute BIGGEST soft corals I have ever seen...like ever. They were HUGE and everywhere. It was amazing. I only wish that you could tell how big they all are by looking at a picture.





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There were gigantic Parrot Fish everywhere you turned. I had never seen any this big before. Do they feed everything in Bermuda their wheaties or what?









Coming along the left side the water seems to get more shallow than the other places.


Then I spotted about 8-10 squids swimming in a line. They were so cute. I have seen them before in the Carribean. Some people say cuddlefish, some say squid. I don't know the difference. It's a squid to me. Comments?








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I watched them forever and they were so cute but so scared and wouldn't let you get too close. Kendra came out (she had previously went it to change her snorkel mask to another one) and she seen them as well too. But she said they weren't running from her and they won't lift their mouths up every time she got near them. She called them "knife fish" because she said they looked like they were going to stab her every time. LOL


Video of them:



Monster Parrot Fish!!!








Grapes and Cherreos for breakfast anyone?












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Beautiful anemone:





Now this is not the greatest picture, but I had to share and ask...


I have swam with a lot of parrot fish before and they are always busy chomping away at the coral and pay no attention to you. I was going along, swimming back toward the shore, taking pictures and these 2 parrot fish go past me. One of them, which I have NEVER seen before, had this huge "thing" (not sure if it was a fin or what) on the very top of his back. He turned toward me, raised his fin (you couldn't tell it was there unless it was raised and it was NOT the dorsal fin) and opened his mouth and just sat there. I was a little taken back by this. I turned around to take a picture and he did it again. It kinda freaked me out because I have never seen them do this before nor had I ever seen that fin on the top like that. Was this a male protecting his female? They finally turned to swim away and I snapped a picture. He was putting his "fin" down as I took the picture. As you can see, it's not the dorsal fin that runs along the back. It was in front of that and when it was raised, it was all the way up by his head.




I have looked and looked and hundreds of parrot fish pictures on the web and have been able to find NOTHING like this before. The only way I can describe it is by showing a different type of species fish that resembles what I seen when it was raised.


It was pointy like the front fin on this fish, but it was extremely long and high when raised and not short like this:





Anyone have any ideas? Was it about to attack me? Was it protecting it's female or was it territorial?


Either way after that, I felt I had done enough snorkeling, covered the entire area, seen some pretty neat things, and it was time to call it a day.


I headed back to the sand camp and found that the hubs had discovered that you could get 15 minutes of free wifi there. I do know this is one of the wifi places that is included in your $15 plan you buy at the dockyard. But, all you had to do is put in your email and you got 15 minutes of free time. How many people have more than 1 email? Because I have about 5 of them. You could stay online for awhile if you used them all. LOL I chose NOT to get online the entire time we were there. I was on vacation!


Meanwhile, Billy had managed to get free cups of ice to use for his alcohol and red bull all day long. LOL I'm not sure how that happened.


I think we were there around 2 or so hours and I decided I was ready to move on. I wanted to head to Achilles Bay and check it out. I was not going to let this day go the same way as yesterday and I want more bang for my buck. The lazy guys who probably hadn't moved from their seats all day reminded me that we had paid for the lounge chairs and umbrellas and I gave them that "look" and they quickly got up and started packing. LOL


I took a few pictures of the area and noticed you could see the ships at the dockyard in the distance.









Edited by mitsugirly

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I have no idea why I started reading this thread since I had no desire to cruise on the Dawn, nor visit Bermuda.


Your report is very engaging, entertaining and informative. So many pics and tips.

Thank you so much for taking the time ( hours and hours, no doubt) to put it all together.


I think there could be a Bermuda trip in my future!

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That's funny, because I grew up in Montreal and we all drank soft drinks, not pop! :) That's what my family calls them, too. I prefer 7-Up, but will accept a Sprite. But none of that American Sierra Mist, please. It's just not the same! :eek::D:)


Feel better soon, Kim.




So I guess similar to the US, different areas use different terminology, living in Southern Ontario, it's pop :)

Edited by aztekpm

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A few more shots of the area and we started walking up the hill to the road that the bus had dropped us off at.





Beautiful place and I will be back!







I had ask one of the "chair guys" at Tobacco how to get to Achilles Bay. He said he had never heard of it (LOL) and when I explained it was supposed to be right next door and by the fort, he turned around and pointed to the fort off in the distance. Um, Oh yea, I see it now. LOL So, I didn't think there was any way of us getting lost that was for sure. I did ask him if there was a sign over there once you get there and another guy answered that there was.


We turned left at the street and started walking. I almost felt like we were walking into a private resort area instead of just a normal street. I wasn't really sure.


Along the way, we all picked out "which house would be ours if we lived here". Oh course I would have to be on the beach and with a view like Tobacco Bay here, I'm just going to go ahead and pick this one with the sea horses.





It didn't take but about 10 minutes and we came to the end of the street and seen this bus stop. Great, at least we know that we can catch a bus back if we are in the wrong place. LOL




You could see the beach straight ahead so we knew at least we had found a beach. I didn't see any signs however. So, we just headed on down that way and over to explore.




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We came to an absolutely breathtaking beach. It was just gorgeous and so deserted! There were only a handful of people there and I thought that was weird for such a gorgeous beach.







We found a spot along the edges by the palm trees for shade and put our towels and things down. I headed over to a "shack" that was being built and ask the workers (who I swear were Mexican and had a Spanish accent) what beach this was. We were at Fort St Catherine otherwise known as Gates Bay Beach. I ask about the chairs (as you can see in one of my pictures they are all stacked up) and he said "they're free". Ok then. He said he has never seen anyone here renting them and everyone that comes here just takes them and pulls them out to the beach. Then of course said..."go ahead and take them". LOL


I went back and told the guys and they looked all the way down there, then looked at where they had everything put down already, looked back at the chairs again and said "I'll pass". LOL Lazy I tell ya.


Meanwhile, the kids have already headed out to the water of course...with Sakari in the lead as always.









Time for a selfie at this beach and man was I a hot mess from snorkeling all day then walking in the hot sun to this location. You can tell if it's hot by my hair frizz. LOL




I really loved the fort as the backdrop to this beach. It really made for some nice pictures. The streaked clouds were an added plus.






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