learwater has a special charm for those of us who
remember when it was part of the American base and
therefore forbidden territory to most Bermudians.
Once the base lands were returned to us, in 1996, it
became a public beach park and has since become a
much-loved swimming spot, thanks to its two sandy
beaches and its seemingly endless stretch of sheltered
ocean. In fact, the beaches are strictly speaking “arti-
ficial” since they were made for army personnel use after landfill was created
to make the runway for the base. Round the corner is Turtle Bay, completely
natural and named after the green turtles that once bred prolifically here.
Turtle grass is plentiful here. Both beaches are good for snorkelling.
Clearwater is ideal for families, with water shallow enough for the small
children and deep enough not to frustrate those of us who want a serious
swim. There’s always a lifeguard during the summer season (and another at
Turtle Bay). The playground here is an added attraction should the children
tire of the beach. Bathroom facilities, complete with changing rooms and
showers, are also on hand.
Another reason for Clearwater’s popularity with locals is the nearby
restaurant, with full bar, offering Bermudian fare as well as entertainment, in
particular the Gombeys, the uniquely Bermudian troupe of drummers and
dancers. If you want to experience a true Bermudian flavour, Clearwater is
perfect. For a quieter experience, avoid weekends and public holidays.
Clearwater Beach Park
St. David’s, St. George’s
cooper’s island nature resrve
Clearwater, accessible by motorised transport, was
once the property of the American base. So was
neighbouring Cooper’s Island, venue for NASA’s tracking station, just a little further on from Turtle’s Cove
behind the large gates. Today it is a nature reserve
and once past the gates, you are not allowed to use
any kind of mechanised transport. You have to walk.
Strictly speaking, Cooper’s Island is no longer an
island since the Americans used landfill to attach it to
the mainland off St. David’s. However, it still has an
isolated atmosphere. Islands off its coastline, such as
Nonsuch, and rocky outcrops are breeding grounds
for our endemic cahows and that is why it’s important to follow strict park etiquette. In addition, we are
hoping green turtles will return to breed, especially
as turtles did hatch there in 2015, and they too need
protection from noise and light. Cooper’s has a variety
of beaches, plus an observation tower with panoramic
views of Castle Harbour and an
exhibit on flora and fauna you
can find in the park. Opposite
Clearwater is a nature trail
loop, which allows views
of native and endemic flora
and which at one point hugs
the Castle Harbour coastline.