05 July 2015 | Horta faial.
04 July 2015 | Pico Azores
22 February 2015 | Basse Terre Guadeloupe
11 February 2015 | Guadeloupe
Farewell to the Azores
25 August 2015
Before we left Horta it is a sailing tradition to leave a painting on the wall of the marina, many say it is bad luck not to leave one. So with paint in hand a Devon flag was painted with our names and boat name for all to see.
The provisions were again stowed and weather reports studied it was time to leave and travel the last 1200 miles to the UK. It was a slow start with quite light winds as we left the islands behind, a few dolphins came by to play in the bow wave. The wind settled to a good sailing breeze and we were making a fair speed comfortable and nice sailing. On day three we had a close encounter with a rather large whale it was about 10 foot or so off the starboard side, we watched it for quite a while as it dived down and would resurface on the other side of the boat each time getting a bit further away. It was lovely to watch one of the great creatures in there natural environment but a bit close to our little boat at times.
On day 5 we encountered our first sight of fog in a few years quite glad we have the AIS so we can see where the big ships and fishing vessels are and the direction they are travelling as well as their speed. The rest of the trip was good sailing lots of grey cloudy days and more fog then we saw land the Isles of Scilly on the horizon but we had planned to sail by as there was a low pressure system on the way which would bring strong winds we wanted to be in Falmouth long before that arrived. After 14 days at sea we arrived a Falmouth and tied to a visiting buoy by mid morning. Or plan was to spend a few days here then head up to Plymouth where we will spend the winter or a bit longer.
We are now tucked up in the Mayflower marina in Plymouth enjoying the wet and windy British summer.
Exploring the islands
08 July 2015
We hired a car to view the island and walk around the Caldeira which is an extinct volcano.which we walked the 8km around the top with some lovely views across the island. The Capelinhos volcano was quite an interesting stop as in 1957-58 an underwater volcano erupted increasing the island size by abut 2.5km and buried part of the lighthouse. It also created a lido but was a bit rough the day we visited with some large surge of water coming in.
From Faial we sailed overnight to Terceira and the port of Angra do Heroismo which is a UNESCO world heritage site because of the amount of old buildings. All are well preserved and may have window boxes overflowing with pretty flowers. After spending some time wandering around the town and admiring the building we headed up to the highest point only to be shrouded in cloud and very windy. The tour through the caves was extremely good one of a few volcanoes that you can walk into without the need of lifts. We also visited praia da Vitoria which is the second town and also has a marina and large anchorage with a lovely sandy beach.
Our time here in the islands soon ran out as to get back to the UK we needed to watch the weather and leave early to get to the UK before the stronger winds set in and make for uncomfortable passage. We would have liked to visit more of the islands of the Azores perhaps we will have another chance to visit.
05 July 2015 | Horta faial.
Once rested and the boat all sorted out it was into town to find the supermarket for some fresh rations as Andy said he was not going to eat out of a tin for a few days, also we asked around for a good place to eat out. Peters bar got some good reviews so off we went one evening for a beer and a meal. I had the rock fish which was a strange looking thing but very nice and Andy went for the steak which he said was Ok.
Looking back at the crossing to the Azores it doesn't seem so bad just long and slow, the high points of some days was when the pods of dolphins came to play we would both watch them till they left. On one occasion I spotted a couple of whales off in the distance all you could see was the jet of spray shooting into the air. We then looked in the other direction and a huge whale was passing across our path we weren't quick enough with the camera so no photos but they were lovely to watch. Most day we would be followed by a sea bird which we think was a shearwater dipping and floating over the waves. We only saw one other yacht and that was at the beginning of the trip, we saw a few large ships and many more were noted by the AIS so we could tell how close we would get to them. Andy only called twice on the radio to make sure the ship had seen us which they had we were a little concerned at how close they would get both altered their course enough to pass us by.
Horta is one of the four busiest yacht transit harbours in the world and nearly all the yachts are berthed in the marina which was opened in 1984, although the first breakwater was built in 1876. The Cafe' Sport which overlooks the harbour has been a meeting place for yachtsmen for at least half a century. Founded by Jose' Azevedo in 1918 and is now run by his grandson Peter hence the other name of Peter's bar, the walls of the cafe' are hung with burgees from many famous yachts. Many sailors still gather in Peter's bar in the evenings.
04 July 2015 | Pico Azores
Everything was packed and ready for the off, Andy went ashore to check out then it was time to haul the anchor and head out to sea. There was a nice breeze which took us off towards Anguilla through the dog pass and we were out in the Atlantic ocean and next landfall would be the Azores. The first couple of days we made a steady progress towards the Northeast but then the winds became light and flukey and progress slowed at times we were becalmed for a few hours then the wind would increase enough to sail all be it slowly, the occasional squall washed the deck and we caught a bit for drinking and the odd shower.
Life soon got into a routine doing three hour watches, sleeping for some of the time reading or cooking kept us busy, we trawled the fishing line but only caught two fish but lost three lures to the ocean. For weather reports on route we were able to down load the weather fax synoptic charts off the ssb radio and in the evenings Chris Parker did a weather over view for boats leaving the Caribbean and Bermuda to the Azores, he also gave specific info for boats that checked in with him.
We managed to sail or bob about for most of our time at sea eventually we had to resort to engine power to get us in, it was our last day at sea when we had to motor, the first island that came into view was Pico with it's volcanic peak rising to 2351m.We came in as the sun rose behind the volcano to give a lovely sunny windless day.
Our trip took us 29 days and 2781 nautical miles covered to reach Horta on the island of Faial. The check in was accomplished with reasonable speed and we were allocated a berth rafted up three deep on the marina wall, where we planned to stay at least a week to rest sight see and recover.
Sitting in St Martin
10 May 2015
We have decided to move from the Caribbean back to Europe which for us means a long voyage across the Atlantic to the Azores and then on to either Spain or the UK. The past few weeks has been a hive of activity for us as we get the boat ready for the crossing, all the safety gear has to be checked and working, cold weather clothing needs to be unpacked and the boat need to be filled with food enough to spend up to 5 weeks at sea and plenty of fresh water. During this time we have been studying the weather on the passage we will take as well as learning to down load the weather fax from the SSB radio and learning to read the synoptic charts.
We have almost completed all our tasks and are now looking for a weather window in which to make our passage, there are several boats here in St Martin all getting ready for the crossing and sharing information, especially those that have done this route before. It's quite an exciting time here at the moment.
10 May 2015
At the beginning of the carnival parade was a few groups of children all dressed in bright costumes and lovely to watch them pass by.
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