Bermuda has two lighthouses, Gibb’s Hill Lighthouse on the south-west and St. David’s Lighthouse on the north-east.
Located on the eastern end of St. David’s Island, the lighthouse of the same name is over a 130 years old and sits on the highest point of this area of Bermuda, standing at a total height of 208 feet above the sea level.
It was built in 1879 and is made of Bermuda Stone, a local and unique limestone. Initially, the lighthouse was brought in to put an end to a local piracy practice that consisted of getting passing ships to crash on the underwater reefs by luring with lights at night. It would then become much easier prey for locals to loot. After the lighthouse had made these practices impossible, the St. David’s Islanders started sailing and fishing to great levels.
St. David’s lighthouse was built on a hill rather than on the coast to extend its visibility and give enough time for ships to avoid the treacherous reefs. Today, its beam can be seen 20 miles away. The light that sits at the top of the 55-foot structure is of about 30,000 candlepower. The original kerosene burner and ordinary wick was first activated on the 3rd of November 1879 and had since been replaced in 1922 by a hood petroleum vapour burner.
It emits a fixed white light that serves as beacon for navigators and allows them to take cross-bearing with the flashing one from the other lighthouse, Gibb’s Hill, in Southampton Parish.
The lighthouse was also used as a finishing line for Tall Ship races up until 1976 and is still used as such for many ship races and major yacht races such as the Newport Bermuda.
Even though it is the smallest of the two lighthouses of the island – Gibb’s Hill Lighthouse is 117 feet high and stands at 362 feet above sea level – St. David’s lighthouse provides some amazing and spectacular views of Bermuda from its balcony at the top. If you go there in April and May, you’ll have the chance to see humpback whales passing through Bermuda waters by groups.
It isn’t too easy to get to the lighthouse because St. David’s Island really is the most eastern tip of Bermuda. First, you need to get to the Island across the Causeway that was built in 1877 by British Royal Engineers to connect the Island to the main land. If you are in St. George’s, you can get close to the lighthouse with the bus number 6.
The best way is to get there by scooter: once on the Island, follow the road around the International Airport airfield, then take St. David’s Road until Texas Road at the end of which you’ll find the lighthouse. While you are on St. David’s island, why not go to Clearwater Beach or visit the nearby Cooper’s Island Nature Reserve.
St. David’s Lighthouse – Part of Elbow Beach Cycles ‘Things To Do’ in Bermuda series!
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