We have now moved over to Terceira – a 15 hour sail away from Horta and the harbor’s mural of yacht insignia.
We departed at 4:00pm, managing to squeeze our way out from the harbor wall that we’d been attached to without incident (phew!) for an overnight sail with Stephanie, Joe and Matthew aboard.
We sailed out between Faial and Pico, but as soon as we got into the main channel between Sao Jorge and Pico, the wind died – until the end of Sao Jorge. We passed a very interesting village on Sao Jorge – completely isolated by high cliffs – right on the water with a single steep winding road down to it.
It was an uneventful (boring) trip – with 12 hours of motoring involved and so we arrived the following morning at Praia da Vitoria, only to find the marina jammed full – so set the anchor in the large protected harbor in 8M with 40M scope. After a lengthy (and inaccurate) check-in with harbormaster and immigration and a welcome shower, Laurie, Steph, Joe and Matthew headed for Angra do Heroismo while I stayed aboard for some sleep. This was Steph’s last day with us and the following morning they took a taxi to the airport and left Laurie and I alone for the first time in what felt like ages.
It’s been an interesting time since we moved aboard in May until now. Some things are much more complex than we had anticipated, other things are easier. We certainly are learning to take one day at a time and have made numerous changes to our plans as we adapt to the various situations.
We have been participating in an Ocean Cruising Club cruise – which I was rather fearful might turn into a stuffy event – but it’s been very nice, allowing us to have a reason to introduce ourselves to boats that otherwise we might not have – and we’ve very quickly developed some interesting friendships.
With the Azores being islands in three groups, OCC members have come and gone as they’ve seen fit and we’ve met them – or not – in other islands. We keep in touch using our radios on a morning ‘Net’ and from time to time there’s an event (like the barbecue with rude Kiwi above!) that tends to bring the majority of the group together. With all the other cruisers so much more experienced than us, we’ve found a wealth of information available – and serious technical help for some of the deficiencies around Toodle-oo! Most notably the rather poor performance of our long range radio (SSB), but also I’ve received great help with weather prediction and routing plans. Our plan had been to spend a few days in Terceira and then head for the south west coast of England – but that might be evaporating now as a high is sitting between the Azores and England – making for very light winds – and we certainly don’t relish the thought of motoring the whole bloody way! We’re therefore “stuck” here for a bit – but we’ll make the most of it. Not sure if we’ll stay here or perhaps make an effort to go to Graciosa, the one island we missed from our plan altogether. Then perhaps we’ll head for Ireland and head to the Lake District from there. Who knows – watch this space!