A Ramble in the Jungle

17 Jun

Shortly after we’d arrived in Bermuda, I bought a copy of Lonely Planet’s guide to the island for a dollar in a second-hand shop. I thought it would be useful for our visitors over the coming year. It didn’t really occur to me that it might be useful for us to read. I’d presumed that, as we were living here, we would see and hear about places to go. But, for some reason, Bermuda doesn’t seem to work this way.

As I mentioned in my last post, Rich and I have made a conscious vow to be better tourists in our local area. So last weekend I pulled out the guide books and maps, and started planning.

An hour later we began our ramble through Tom Moore’s Jungle. Tom Moore was a 19th century Irish poet who lived in Bermuda in the early 1800s. His jungle has reportedly remained in the same condition as the rest of Bermuda was 400 years ago, giving an idea of the island’s raw beauty, before tarmac and cement came along and cut chunks of nature away to accommodate modern man’s needs.

Our ramble to begin with reminded me of our lovely walks that we used to take in the Hampshire forests; lots of dappled sunlight and shiny green leaves. We strolled along the worn path, breathing in the warm air and enjoying the relaxing stroll, until the path ended abruptly with a drop of about ten feet. Rich being brave and nimble and long-legged hopped down the rocks with ease. After a few attempts of going down frontways, then backways, I settled for the ever-so-graceful sliding down on my bum approach. To be honest, I nearly waved the white flag and suggested we go to the beach instead. But I’m so glad I persevered, because we found an absolute gem of a sight shortly afterwards.

As some of the trees cleared, there on the left was a large cave. We headed in cautiously and stopped, our breaths snatched away and lodged somewhere in between the hundreds of huge stalagtites. There was a pool of beautiful blue, still water – an underground lake. And here it was, just sitting in the jungle. There was no $15 dollar entry fee, or queue to get in, or gift shop at the end with cuddly stalagmites for sale (not sure they actually sell those, but you get my point). We felt like explorers who had just discovered a new bit of land. We vowed to come back another time and take a swim.

Thankfully our ramble back was much easier to navigate – no bum sliding manoeuvres or clinging onto branches for dear life – and we found another (outdoor) lake filled with crystal-clear water and tropical fish, just pootling around, flashing their electric blue fins and stripy tails. Another gem just waiting to be discovered! And it was so much more rewarding to find these things on our own – without signposts or marshals or roped off bollards to guide us there.

If you’re in Bermuda and want to ramble through Tom Moore’s Jungle, make your way to Flatt’s Village (where the Aquarium is) and take a right onto Harrington Sound Road (if coming from the west of the island). If you’re coming from the east, turn off by the Swizzle Inn towards Crystal Caves, follow the road past the Crystal Caves and keep going.

The turning is marked by two pillars either side of the road and is signposted Tom Moore’s Tavern. If you want to take our adventurous bum-sliding route, park at the Nature Reserve sign and take the path right by the sign. The path will come to a fork – we went left. If you prefer the idea of staying on your feet the whole time, park in the Tom Moore’s Tavern car park, and take the path which is found on the left, past the bike parking area (as you are looking at the Tavern from the front). When you get to a Y junction, take the left path and this will lead you round to the cave. Happy rambling!

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2 Responses to “A Ramble in the Jungle”

  1. Tim Stewart 29 June, 2011 at 1:47 pm #

    Hi Su,

    I have been reading your blog with interestas I will be moving to the island at the end of July for three years (hopefully).

    I was hoping to get some advice from you if I may. Do you have contact details for companies that I could ship my household goods to the island with? I searched the net but not found much (Best in Bermuda) and (one other company in Bristol, UK).

    I would also be interested in learning more about the volunteer work that you do as I would like to do something similar once I have got there and have settled in.

    Thanks

    Tim

    • suscatty 1 July, 2011 at 4:48 pm #

      Hi Tim

      Nice to meet you, thanks for reading! We used a company in the UK called Davies Turner (http://www.daviesturner.com/) who were absolutely faultless. They packed and itemised everything and then kept in touch with us until our stuff had been shipped. In Bermuda we used Bermuda Forwarders (http://www.bermudaforwarders.com/) who dealt with the customs paperwork and delivering our stuff to our apartment. We shipped pretty much our entire house and it took about 6 weeks to arrive here, which I think is about average. You won’t need to pay import duty on your goods if you have a full work permit (i.e. not a temporary 3 month one). If you have a temporary one, I think you have to pay the import duty up front, but then can claim back when you have the full permit. Bermuda Forwarders would be able to advise on this.

      In terms of volunteering, the best place to start is http://www.volunteer.bm/ which is a great volunteering database run by The Centre on Philanthropy. There’s all sorts of things on there – from sitting on a charity’s Board, to shaking a bucket outside the bank! I volunteer at The Centre on Philanthropy so if you need any more info on the nonprofits here, (or anything else for that matter) please just shout!

      I wish you all the best with your move here! The summer is a great time to arrive 🙂

      Su

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