Horta, Faial, Azores
09 July 2010
On Monday Andrew and Susan and Ju and I hired Carlos, the taxi driver, for the day, and had a great tour of the island. He took us to a number of places of interest, including a tea plantation which came as a real surprise, and sulphur hot baths, basically the outpourings of a volcano. 60% of this island's electricity is provided by geothermal power!
On Tuesday we left Andromeda and Ponta Delgada on the island of Sao Miguel and set sail for Faial. There was a concert the night before we left but it didn't keep us off our sleep.
At first we sailed, as we had a good north easterly wind, but around 2am on Wednesday the wind died and we had to motor. The islands slowly came into view, and we saw the base only of Pico, as there was cloud covering the peak. We arrived in the harbour of Horta around 4pm, as we had estimated, and stopped on the reception pontoon for clearning in and allocation of a berth. To Sue's surprise we were granted a pontoon berth, and soon we were snugly berthed on pontoon B, a short walk only from the showers and loos.
Our first impressions of Faial and Horta were totally positive, and staying here over the last couple of days those impressions have intensified. This truly is the yachtsman and yachtswoman's choice port in the mid Atlantic. The harbour is festooned with paintings of boats and boat names, dates, sailors' names, and the harbour has a venerable history of welcoming these eccentric nomads since the days of Joshua Slocum (no relation to Mrs, or her pussy!). He was the first person to sail single-handed around the world, in a boat he built himself, called Spray.
We are now given over to preparations for the big hop, over 1200 miles direct from here to Plymouth, or Falmouth. We'll be buying provisions, fuel and the like over the next couple of days, and we plan to leave around lunchtime on Monday.
By the way, Ju took this photo of the marina, the painted wall, a cargo ship unloading containers for the island, and the neighbouring island of Pico, with its 2351 metre high volcano which we previously saw from the air!