Spanish Point Park
Situated on picturesque promontory which defines the channel entrance for all ships approaching the Great Sound and Hamilton Harbour, Spanish Point Park (open sunrise to sunset daily, admission free) is a delightful excursion—either for a quick visit and photos or a whole day’s relaxation. Utterly peaceful, it sits at the tip of Spanish Point, a historic little community whose charming cottages and rambling tributaries evoke a long and direct connection with the sea.
Spanish Point Road twists down past the offshoots of Doubloon Lane, Stormalong Lane, and Ocean Bright to the shorefront park at the bottom. The route is fringed by gingerbread architecture, candy-pink walls, and even a few rare wooden homes. One resident has labeled his property, “The Home that Jack Built, 1924.” Beside a carpark, a beach edges Stovell Bay, a tiny harbor where pint-sized fishing boats, dinghies, and ruby sailboats like the kind in kids’ storybooks sit at a collection of moorings.
Spanish Point Park lies inside a tiny gate, its shady lawns, whispering pines, and baygrapes stretching along the finger of land bordered by the North Shore and Great Sound. There are picnic tables and benches, and a sprinkling of reefs and islets just a few yards off the North Shore side has created calm, shallow coves perfect for snorkeling. Walk to the end of Spanish Point Park that looks out over the shipping channel toward Dockyard—a good vantage point to watch the comings and goings of ocean liners and cargo ships into port. The park attracts a local crowd who wash cars or play cards near the beach. There are public toilets near the carpark.
At the bay’s mouth lies a rusty hulk and pontoons, the remains of H. M. Floating Dock, once a magnificent example of Victorian maritime engineering. Launched in Woolwich on the Thames in 1869, the 47,000-square-foot dry dock was towed across the Atlantic by four Royal Navy ironclads, arriving in Bermuda 35 days later. The largest drydock in the world at the time, the structure was able to heave 10,000 tons and was used by the Royal Navy at Dockyard. By the early 1900s, however, it was outdated, unable to accommodate new, larger vessels, and was sold and towed to Spanish Point to be dismantled. But World Wars I and II intervened, and the effort was finally abandoned. Although it’s an eyesore, the hulk today provides a sheltered harbor for local boats.
© Rosemary Jones from Moon Bermuda, 2nd Edition