Somerset Bridge is a small bridge in Bermuda. Connecting Somerset Island with the mainland in the western parish of Sandys, Somerset Bridge is reputedly the smallest working drawbridge in the world.
The original bridge dates back to 1620, and although the bridge was largely rebuilt in the mid 20th century, much of the original stonework remains. The bridge was originally raised using a hand crank, but now consist of two cantilevered half-spans made of thick timber panels. The panels can be grabbed by the sides and lifted to create a narrow gap just wide enough for the mast of a sailboat to pass through.
Judging by the size of the gap, I believe it takes a fair amount of skill to navigate the gap without mishap. Often a sailor has to be assisted in opening the drawbridge and making the passage safely, so it’s not uncommon to find sailboat captains calling upon pedestrians for help.
The entire width of the drawbridge measures 32 inches. The panel is removed whenever a yacht wishes to pass beneath the bridge, allowing the unstayed mast to pass through the gap. A captain must wait for a passer-by to assist in opening the drawbridge.
There are small little row and power boats that you can rent to go through the channel.
What we did enjoy more was feeding the fishes at the point. It seems that the taxi drivers have trained the fish to expect bread whenever they pass by. Feeding the fish was definitely entertaining … seeing them jump on each other for pieces of bread make D* squeal as you can hear in the clip. As you can see, even the birds got into the action.
The clarity of the water is also quite remarkable. Or maybe it isn’t and we’re so accustomed to cold and polluted water in here North America that we think clear sea water is a remarkable thing.
While this isn’t worth a full trip to see, it’s definitely something that should be on any little trip around the island, especially just for the title of Smallest drawbridge in the world!