So we arrived at Horta, the main town on Faial and a large yachting harbor a week ago and have enjoyed the island and the cruising camaraderie. The Ocean Cruising Club (OCC) has organized a 2 week cruise in and around the islands and so the 15 or so signed up yachts have a common theme – but are nicely lost in amongst the hustle and bustle of one of the largest cruising harbors in the world.
The OCC held an official kick off dinner – we got to sit at the top table as recent ‘Qualifiers’ in the organization having just completed our 1,000 mile non-stop voyage. That’s not a patch on Mick – a really interesting guy who sailed in from Somewhere aboard his 25ft wooden boat. Mick left yesterday for Falmouth – single-handed. Fair winds Mick!
We said goodbye to Jane and Mike and hello to Stephanie, Joe and Matthew.
Faial’s biggest tourist destination is at the far end of the island, and is the site of the 1957/58 eruption that added a couple of square kilometers of land area to the island, which is already being eroded away by the constant winds and sea action. We hired a car for the day and enjoyed the sudden and dramatic change from more typical Azorian landscapes to suddenly a lunar landscape with little vegetation and fine grains of basalt sand. They have an underground museum at the site of the lighthouse that was destroyed during the eruption, but left the tower intact – which we were able to climb to the top of.
One of the famous aspects of the harbor at Horta is that everyone gets to paint on the harbor wall – to not do so is considered unlucky. We had brought along paints from America and duly picked our spot where now a Toodle-oo! logo can be found… The marvellous mountain in the background is the volcano on Pico – Portugal’s highest mountain… We’re bound for there next – by ferry…