Bermuda – Crystal Caves

001_Bermuda-divmapOn May 17 my wife and I along with several friends, set sail on Norwegian Cruise Line’s ship ‘Dawn’ from Boston to Bermuda.  Living in Rhode Island, less than 60 minutes away, cruising out of Boston is extremely convenient for us.   My wife has always wanted to visit Bermuda.  The 7-day cruise offered us 3 full days on the island.  Since this was our first visit, we decided to purchase one of the ships excursions which offered a 5-hour tour of the island. From the ships dock, our tour included visits to Gibb’s Lighthouse, the towns of Hamilton and St George, the ‘Unfinished church’, Tobacco, Horseshoe, and Elbow beaches, just to mention a few.

On one of our other days in Bermuda, we decided to visit the Crystal Caves, before spending the remainder of the day at Horseshoe Bay beach.  During our island tour, the guide did mention that there were 2 choices for these underground marvels, the Crystal Caves and the Fantasy Caves.  However, he did indicate that there really was no reason to visit both.  The Crystal Caves were the better of the two choices.  Located in the town Hamliton, The Crystal Caves are one of the largest on the island.  There was very interesting story as to how the caves were discovered.

The history of the caves began in 1905 when 2 young boys were playing cricket.   Their made its way into some bushes and while trying to retrieve their lost ball, the boys discovered a large opening in the ground.  As they attempted to climb down the hole, they began to realize that this wasn’t just an ordinary hole; it kept going deeper into the ground.  The owner of the property was notified and lowered his son down into the hole and discovered the wonder of the cave.  It’s estimated that these caves are over 30 million years old.

When our group arrived, after paying our admission, we entered the cave with our guide and we descended a steep ramp for approximately 75 feet or so.  At the base of the ramp, we descend 88 stairs into the cavern.  The caves are approximately 36 meters (120 feet) below the ground level.

After our guide’s brief introduction and his re-telling of the story of the cave’s discovery, we preceded further in our tour of the cave. We eventually walked across a pontoon style bridge, and noticed these dramatic formations, that is, numerous stalactites, stalagmites, and deep crystal-clear pools (of sea water).  Interestingly, in portions of these pools they have a depth of 55 feet-but they are so clear that you can see the bottom.  The walls of the cave, as well as the stalactites and stalagmites are mainly made up of limestone that continues help form these growths.  As the water drips from the ceiling, it collects particles of limestone and continues to distribute them over time.

We did notice that many of the stalactite and stalagmite columns had the tips broken off.   Our guide informed us that stalactites grow at the approximate rate of 0.5 inches every 100 years!  So these tips weren’t going to be replaced any time soon.  With the clarity of the pools you could see various stalagmites rising up from the bottom.  The motion and ripples in the water beneath us, allowed me to take some photos that created a painterly-impressionistic look to them.

As for the formations in the cave, many of the visitors over time have given them various nicknames.  You’ll see shapes similar to animals, serpents, dinosaurs, and even people.  If you have an opportunity to visit Bermuda, make sure to stop off at the Crystal Caves, you won’t be disappointed.

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