04 June 2012 | Angra
We had supper at six o'clock sharp, then prepared the boat for leaving at seven. Cautious at first, we put up a reefed main and genoa but soon it was full sails as the wind stayed steady around 15knots. Settling down for the night, David took the first watch but had to wake me a little early as we needed to pole out the genoa to starboard, the wind having veered more to the west. Oh, what a heavenly night, a full moon not seen for many a long night at sea. Voyageur started to accelerate as the wind increased to around 18knots. We were doing 8 knots under genoa alone. But just when it was getting exciting the wind died away as it had been expected to do so it was on with the engine to reach Terceira early the following morning. The seas were still lumpy from yesterday's big blow but we were glad we made the decision not to leave when we read 'A Lady's' blog of their experience. According to Aileen the worst they had ever had and that is saying something. We went straight into the fuel dock, the swell smashing us back and forward against the pontoon. We waited an agonizing hour and a half before they came to serve us. With space very limited in the tiny marina we parked ourselves against the big harbour wall which as it turned out was perfect for us, quiet and out of the swell. In the afternoon we joined a walking tour of the town of Angra, visiting the city hall, the botanical gardens, the presidential palace and the cathedral. Our Portuguese guide, Ricardo, spoke the most perfect English and his depth of knowledge of the island history was impressive. This is an island rich in history and the ancient tradition of the running of the bulls still takes place every day in different villages around the island. Unlike in a Spanish bullfight the bulls are not killed. We walked to a village at the very top of the town and took our place behind a very substantial wooden barrier in someone's backyard. The family living there did not seem to mind at all letting us view the proceedings from there. The bulls are released to run down through the streets, a few brave souls including to our horror our own Kieran, wearing a red tee shirt for goodness sake, and Stephen from A Lady, (quite unintentional he later assured us), running madly, only to leap over a wall at the last minute as the bull made his charge. Thankfully no one was hurt although it has been known to happen. Later that evening we dined with everyone from 'A Lady' all having wonderful steaks appropriately enough, the local beef throughout the island in plentiful supply and excellent.
We woke to a beautiful morning, the second since our arrival in the archipelago. Straight after breakfast we went for a long walk around the Monte do Brasil, the impressive headland at the entrance to the port giving great protection to this small harbour. Through forests of tall pines, the hydrangeas were just coming into flower, Arum lilies, lantana and azaleas growing wild all along the route. A military barracks is situated around the foothills spread over several acres and of course we were not permitted entrance. We walked back down into town, through narrow streets of pretty houses, all spotlessly clean.
Having now visited three islands in the archipelago we can see that each one is quite different, each with their own character, each with their own topography but the one thing they do have in common is that they are all volcanic and they are all mountainous.
Last supper with A Lady
You know it is not so very often that people sail around the world but those that do will understand the very special relationships that form between boats and those that do will also understand that when comes to a "parting of the waves" when you have been through so much with this boat and that then it is hard. So it is with 'A Lady'. We have had great times with Aileen and Stephen and their various crews, enjoyed many an evening of good Gaelic "craic" and we shall miss them so much. Tonight we had a final farewell dinner with Stephen, Aileen, Denis and Vera in a local restaurant. It was just such good fun and epitomises what these "cruises in company" are all about and why we choose to do our cruising in this way. It is about making lifelong friends in the company of like minded others. As simple as that. The fact that already we have had three reunions with our fellow circumnavigators from 2005 speaks for itself, with a fourth one planned for 2013. They were without doubt the finest bunch of people we were ever likely to meet and the principal reason that we set out on another world circuit. I have to pinch myself that all this is now nearly over and yet there is so much more to do and to see.