Welcome to the Crystal Caves of Bermuda!
Looking back on some of my childhood vacations, I don't think my siblings and I escaped a single one unscathed. We were smoked out of the Shasta Caverns when a forest fire broke out, flooded on a Memorial Day camping trip on the Russian River, and bounced out of whitewater rafts more times than I can count. There was the time one of my little brothers stepped on the still-smoldering remains of a campfire, when my sister's friend had her junk stung by a bee when she found some tall brush to pee in at Lake Del Valle, and how I never told anyone I literally ripped my foot open on a rusty dock nail in my haste to get to a pedal boat.
We outran rattlesnakes, tarantulas, and bears (seriously, bears) over many quintessential California summers, allowed to go wild and free and fend for ourselves long before free range parenting was a thing.
Now that I think about it, it's kind of a miracle that it took me over 30 years to own a piece of fleece clothing.
While we were in Bermuda, each person on the trip had an outing that was important to them; the kiddo wanted to go spelunking at Crystal Caves, my BFF wanted to hike the enchanting banyan forest, I of course wanted to gallop through beautiful pink sands, and M wanted an underwater sea dive a la Jacques Cousteau.
Who needs R&R when you can have adventure? (I do. I need both. Please give me both.)
So without further ado, here's my spelunking outfit. Practical!
Let's not underestimate the importance of swishy circle skirt twirls.
The caves were amazing! While you wait for your tour guide to gather everyone, there's an excellent little outdoor cafe for snacks or lunch, and a gift shop to peruse. A handful of affectionate little island cats roam around, occasionally stopping for pets or treats. When you enter the caves, an endless staircase takes you nearly 200 ft. underground to a floating pontoon. Everything is so well-maintained and designed to protect the caves, especially the 30 million year old stalactites and stalagmites. They're like the redwoods of the sea!
At one point, the guide warns you that he's going to turn the lights out so you can understand the intense darkness of the caves when they were first discovered in 1907. The story goes that two cheeky kids chased their beloved cricket ball into an opening in the ground. It's a miracle neither of them were impaled - you think you know pitch black dark until the guide hits of the 'off' switch, and then you're immersed in another kind of night, another kind of silence not experienced above ground!
Even with the heads-up, one lady had a very embarrassing episode to the amusement of us all.
Peering into the aquamarine lake under your feet, the water's clarity tricks the eye into thinking you could almost reach out and touch the formations just beneath the surface.
They're actually fifty feet underwater! Bananas.
This was a pretty perfect family activity, great for little ones and those young at heart but not necessarily in years. It's a lovely way to spend an afternoon out of the sun. Our guide was knowledgeable and fun, you never feel rushed and photos are encouraged, and it's great that there's a portion where you get to be hands-on in a designated zone.
It's pretty incredible to see the tiny speck of light from inside the cave were the boys shimmied in over a hundred years ago!
The grounds and gardens at the caves are so beautiful! If you aren't in a hurry (and why would you be on an island holiday), you can have a seat, eat an ice cream, watch curious little cats wander around and smile at the other groups finishing up their tour all rosy-cheeked from the ascent and awestruck by Mother Nature.
M demonstrates this nicely below.
Or take a stroll to what feels like the grandfather of all banyan trees. They are incredibly majestic in person!
Hope everyone is having a perfect weekend. Mine started with vintage shopping at The Garment District with some summery rose at State Park Friday night, and is ending with some much-needed gardening out in the sunshine with the tomboy (and mimosas).
Yesterday the petite took her SATs! I took her on a 7am power walk through the woods after a soft morning rain (because science) and now we wait for scores at the end of June.
Let summer begin for real now!