The Bermuda Triangle. Flight 19 disappeared over it. Barry Manilow sang about it. Both were traumatic, inexplicable happenings that seared themselves into a nation’s psyche. Things that are spoken of in hushed tones even today.
It’s a fondly imagined region of freaky atmospheric disturbances, disappearing ships and half seen ghosts, brought to life in the fevered fantasies of book and screenwriters. Since the end of the Second World War, the Bermuda Triangle has grown to become a myth of epic proportions, one almost on a par with Camelot, or even Atlantis.
The waters around Bermuda have always been treacherous. The island is surrounded by many dangerous, shallow reefs, and is ringed by a shark’s mouth full of jagged coral. As far back as the sixteenth century, Shakespeare was writing in The Tempest about ‘the still vex’d Bermoothes’…
I’ll never forget the mixture of amusement and mock concern that danced across the faces of my friends when I told them that I had booked my first ever Bermuda cruise. After a while I lost count of how many times the ‘triangle’ word came to surface like some vengeful Kraaken. It seems that ‘Bermuda’ and ‘Triangle’ are as symbiotic as ‘Barry’ and ‘Copacabana’.
Eight cruises to Bermuda later, and I have still not managed to disappear into the wispy Bermudian ether. I was beginning to wonder if i was doing something wrong, to be honest. And what I very soon discovered was that there are far, far worse places to be lost in than Bermuda, that sunny island full of wonderful, friendly souls.
For sure, there have certainly been lost evenings in Caffe Cairo on Hamilton’s waterfront, and at the White Horse over in gorgeous St. George’s, when the nights seemed to vanish as completely as Atlantic fog. But none of this really tallies with the fearsome literary ogre that has grown up in these post war years.
In truth, the given geographical edges of what is also known as the Devil’s Triangle hinge on three focal points; Bermuda, Miami, and Puerto Rico. I suppose it could just as easily have been called after either of those other two hinges, but then ‘Miami Triangle’ does not have quite the same ring to it, i guess.
Nor would it be too popular with the cruise lines, i suppose. Because the truth is that every Caribbean cruise that sails from Florida passes through the self same waters linked to the triangle. The total amount of water enclosed in the region between Miami and Puerto Rico alone is at least half a million square miles. The total number of cruise ships that have disappeared in the Bermuda Triangle since 1968 is, erm, nil.
That is not to say that certain things do not vanish in this region. On more than two dozen cruises in these waters over the years, I have noticed the sudden and abrupt disappearance of several things over the course of a voyage.
These can include; stress, sobriety, cares and worries, diets and, sometimes, virginity, to name but a few. Common sense and intellect often seem to vanish without trace, and at the strangest times. Good intentions, resolutions, hang ups and inhibitions; all lost somewhere within that fearsome void, and nary a word said about any of them. Spooky.
And Bermuda itself? Well, most of the cruise ships bound there in the summer sail out of Boston and New York. They sail southwards through the Atlantic, not the Caribbean. Apart from touching land on the island of Bermuda itself, they never enter into the area of the ‘triangle’ at all. A fact that some find oddly disappointing.
So no, your chances of disappearing are something less than nil if you dip your toes in the triangle. Still, the good news is this; we’ll always have Barry.
No. Seriously. Don’t thank me. You’re welcome, Lola.