07/09/2007, Pico island
The past few days have held a few surprises. On Thursday evening we had drinks onboard a CCA boat Detente (Bill and Karen Foss)- and heard about a race leaving Saturday morning from Horta to Vilas on the island of Sao Jorge. Although Aisling is not exactly a greyhound in light winds, the post-race festivities sounded like fun so we signed up- thinking too, that if we did not find a good reason to leave the dock in Horta we could be there forever! The start was at 0900 but when we woke on Saturday morning we realized we were missing some essential items: money, wine, potato chips and an up-to-date chart of the area. Who knew when or where we would find another chandlery or a supermercado.. and in any event, it appeared we could not go anywhere is a hurry since there was no one in sight on the French boat tied outside us at the dock. We made the sensible decision to miss the start and do our shopping first, with our revised goal being to arrive in Sao Jorge on time to participate in the race festivities. Since our expectation had been to finish dead last in the race anyway, the outcome would not be significantly altered. Unfortunately, when we returned from our shopping expedition our French neighbours were still missing in action, and the marina staff said the boat could not be moved without them. After waiting until nearly 2 p.m. we decided to move them anyway, enlisted some help to re-tie their lines and slipped away.
Three and a half hours later we arrived in the harbour at Vilas to find that there was no room left in the inner anchorage- somewhat irrelevant though, since every boat there was rocking like a hobby horse. We had some difficulty getting the anchor set, then realized -just as we were launching the dinghy to go ashore- that we were dragging. As we reset, I joked that we would be having Kraft dinner for supper if we didn't get a move on. By the time we finished we had missed the race dinner, and it seemed the KD suggestion had struck a chord with Rick- so we ate Kraft dinner on deck with some fresh bread from the Horta market and a bottle of 2.29 Euro vinho verde (hmmm, not quite as tasty as the 1.29 variety) and were quite content with our lot in life in spite of the fact that the boat was rolling so much we wondered if we should have used tumblers instead of wine glasses for the wine! Shortly after dark, hundreds of Cory's shearwaters began swooping toward the cliff beside the boat- making the most incredible din- their cry is a sort of eee-ow-ow-ow- and although it eventually became a bit quieter we could still hear them calling on the numerous occasions through the night that we were awakened by the rolling of the boat.
On Sunday morning the wind seemed to be piping up, and was coming from the wrong direction to stay in the anchorage at Sao Jorge or to go to Terceira (our next planned stop) so we decided to backtrack to visit Pico. The sail from Sao Jorge to Pico was lovely- having dolphins ride the bow wave continues to be a delight no matter how many times it happens! We had sunset drinks with Chris and Karen on "Tradition" (a 27 foot Albin Vega that Chris sailed here single-handed from Brazil) and then ate the last of our Mahi Mahi in the cockpit while looking at an amazing view of the volcano at the bow of the boat and a rather bleak view of a concrete breakwater off the stern. It is still a bit rolly though...in fact, we had several days in the mid-atlantic where the boat was more comfortable than it is in these anchorages!
Today we hope to explore the island a bit, and perhaps go hiking. Stay tuned...all the best from Aisling I.
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Sad day today seeing Dave and Wally leave by taxi for the airport. We will miss them. As many of you know, Wally has a great knack of meeting more people than you would think possible. So many, in fact , that when we entered a bar or walked down the dock in the last day or so, people would be calling out his name. It's fun to be along for the ride. We ate last night at a new restaurant that served the food raw at the table and then placed small, very hot rocks on a tray in front of you so you could cook your own. It was both unique and delicious.
Two days ago we rented a car and drove around the island (60km) It is beautiful farmland , much like the Gaspereaux Valley in NS during the peak of the summer-but with stunning views of volcanic peaks and cliffs. The land is very lush with mixed fields or farm produce, dairy cows and thousands of flowers. Many will know how lupines line the roads in NS in summer: here the road and the fields and the hills are covered in beautiful blue hydrangeas, but in far greater profusion than our lupines.
Two more Canadian boats have arrived from Nfld and Toronto, that makes about 8 of us here at the moment. I think we have pretty good representation per capita.
Bonnie and I will take a couple of days to regroup and then we will probably sail to Sao Jorge- known for its lovely scenery and delicious cheese . We plan to remain in the Azores until the 3rd week of July, when Al and Rob (and possibly Nancy Lewis) will join us for the passage to northern Spain.
Just a brief update. The last couple of days have been spent cleaning up and relaxing and then out for an evenings revelry. Last night We were invited to a Canada celebration for drinks on Dean and Cherie's Corbin 39 from Owen Sound, Ont. Mark and Anna from Kula (Halifax) also joined us. We then went for dinner to a restaurant in Porto Pim. Octopus salad and Wreckfish. It was delicious. We then moved out to their deck which is on the ocean to watch the moon rise and listen to Calypso music played by some locals. What a beautiful setting. On the way home we stopped into Cafe' Sport for a nightcap. Late getting home.....again.
Dave and Wally have gone to the ticket office to see what they can arrange for tickets home, this morning.
Today we plan to rent a car and explore the Island of Faial.
We hope to have pictures on the blog later today or tomorrow. The town or Horta provides free hi speed internet access to all and I can get it at the Nav station. It's great! The weather has been hot with scattered clouds.
Belated ..... Happy Canada Day!
Check out the marina at Horta using our position on google earth!