The West - Abbey Travel, Ireland

The West


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Welcome to The West

The West

Along the south western shore, the parish of Warwick offers some of the finest pink-sand beaches and coves in Bermuda, including Horseshoe Bay and one of the best public beaches, Warwick Long Bay. Between them are numerous lovely coves such as Jobson's Cove, which is a favourite for beach weddings, and an offshore reef offers great snorkelling and diving opportunities. The far western part of the island includes Ireland Island, Boaz Island and Somerset, where the Bermuda Maritime Museum within the Naval Dockyards is a major tourist attraction, and where it is possible to interact with the dolphins that live there.

Information & Facts

English is the official language.

The Bermudan Dollar (BMD) is divided into 100 cents, and is tied to the US Dollar (US$1=BD$1). US currency is accepted almost everywhere and other major currencies can be exchanged at banks and bureaux de change. Banking hours vary, though most are open weekdays from 9am to 4.30pm. Visa, MasterCard and American Express, and travellers cheques are widely accepted and ATMs are extensively available. To avoid additional charges, it is best to carry travellers cheques in US dollars. Visitors are advised to exchange all their Bermudan Dollars before leaving, as it is impossible to exchange once outside the country.

GMT -4 (GMT -3 from the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November).

On the southern point of the islands and obvious from miles around is the Gibb's Hill Lighthouse. It is well worth walking up the tower's 185 steps to the top from where one can enjoy a panoramic view of the islands. The cast-iron building was prefabricated in England and assembled here in 1844 to warn ships off Bermuda's dangerous coast. It is still in use today.

For nearly 60 years, the Hartley family has been providing Bermuda's best-loved tourist attraction, courtesy of an ingenious diving helmet invented by current owner Greg's grandfather, Bronson Hartley, in the 1930s. The Hartley Diving Helmet allows anyone - even those who can't swim - a chance to spend some time on the sea floor, with ten feet of turquoise water above them, and a perfect view of tropical parrotfish and beautiful white angelfish, browsing among the golden heads of coral all around. The Helmet, which has a seriously Captain Nemo aesthetic about it, is suitable for adventurers of all ages, sizes and abilities - and the informative, charismatic Greg does everything in his power to ensure that your time on his boat is unforgettable. Although there are many imitators offering undersea walks in Bermuda, Hartley's is the original - and remains the favourite among travellers to the region.

The world's smallest drawbridge links Somerset Island to Bermuda's main island. The section that flips up is only two feet (60cm) across, just wide enough to allow a sailboat mast through. At the centre of the island set in nine hectares (22 acres) of parkland is Fort Scaur. It was built during the American War of Independence to protect the Naval Dockyard and is now a great picnic spot with good views of the island. Somerset Long Bay, with its 600ft (183m) of brilliant-white sand is the largest and best of the island's west side beaches.

This one-and-a-half-mile-long (2km) coastal reserve protects some of Bermuda's finest beaches. There are a total of 12 beaches, ranging from tiny inlets such as Peel Rock Cove, to larger half-moon bays such as Horseshoe Bay, recognised as one of the world's finest beaches. On the eastern fringe of the park is a wonderful stretch of pink and white coral sands, known as Warwick Long Bay. This beach generally has good waves suitable for bodysurfing. A coastal trail runs through the park, linking the series of coves and bays that are naturally divided by rocky outcrops.

Bermuda's largest and most accessible nature reserve offers excellent trails and the island's finest bird watching. The reserve attracts scores of migratory shorebirds and waterfowl, with the greatest variety to be found during spring and autumn. Of the two-dozen shorebird species that feed at the edge of the brackish Spittal Pond, the Lesser Yellowlegs are the most abundant. Egrets and herons are frequent visitors as well. Visitors can walk along a scenic mile-long nature trail that runs through the reserve along the shoreline and through woods and farmland.

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