Terceira has been a lot of fun. We had quite the group of OCC boats here, including the commodore, Rear Commodore and a whole bunch more making the visit particularly nautical.
The island itself is much more rural and reminded us of Sao Miguel with ordered fields, rolling hills with of course some volcanoes dotted about all over the place. We anchored for several days in Praia da Vittoria harbor and took a trip into Angra de Heroismo by bus – both events interesting!
Angra de Heroismo is a very pretty town with a huge castle overlooking the town that still houses military personnel. We walked to the top of the peninsular that it is on, and got great views of the town, but were unable to get into the castle itself – opening times were quoted as 2:30 in our guide, we got there and they said 3:00pm – so walked to the top and back in 30 minutes – at which point they said it opens at 4! Bugger that! We went back into town and enjoyed a beer!
Yesterday we rented a car and drove around most of the island – it’s very pretty and again has its own unique character. Not nearly as jagged, and with large swaths of clearly bountiful agricultural land. We enjoyed a visit to a volcanic cave – which put us into huge caverns 100M below the surface. Interesting that compared to other caves I’ve been into, the stalactites and stalagmites were much smaller – apparently due to the non-existence of limestone…
Piece de la resistance? We went last night to our first bull fight. Bull Taunt is probably more accurate. In the center of the small village, someone brings out their bull and the whole village – and presumably many others, show up to taunt the poor bugger, who is restrained only by two lines attached to his neck and handled by 5 or 6 guys wearing white overalls and black hats. They lead the bull into the center of town and then villagers taunt it. It gets pissed off and chases – and the crowd that forms to watch suddenly disperses! We thought we had a good viewing point but were then told that we were in one of the most dangerous spots. Laurie ran half a mile away for cover! Sure enough, 5 minutes later, the field we were standing in became the hotbed of activity – the bull crashed through the gate and had watchers scrambling for safety! Talk about a rush! The handlers seem to know how to give the bull enough lead to make it interesting – though I heard that someone was seriously injured just a couple of days ago at another event. They have bull fights almost every evening in one or other of the villages.
It’s been strange in the Azores the lack of people out and about. On Terceira they are certainly more obvious – and then when you witness a bull fight you realize how many folk there are about!
We are packing the boat up now and heading out in about 2 hours for a 10 – 12 day passage. Follow us on our spot.
PS: The bird photographed in Flores – an Azorian Chaffinch!