Faial and Terceira

Sat 16 May 2009 15:48
Most yotties' descriptions of Horta focus on Peter's Bar, the hangout of sailors for the last fifty years. Yes, we had several lunches and beers there, but I forgot to take any pictures. Maybe Liv and I will get back there in the next couple of months. Neither did we do a painting on the harbour wall to commemorate our visit. When I called at Horta in Dipper 13 years ago, I felt that one of the beauties of sailing is that the sea wipes out our wake as if we had never been; something still tells me that this is how I want things to be.
Anyway, we enjoyed the charm and yotty atmosphere of Horta, and also went for an excellent walk up a valley and over a ridge with spectacular views all the way. The cows were entertaining thogh I failed to get a snap of our close sighting of an Azores Bat, the only mammal that was here before people came. The walk back (unplanned but we mistimed the bus) included a great view of Horta harbour from the ridge. 
Eric had to fly home from Faial, but Brian and I stayed together for the daysail to Terceira (Portuguese for "third" as it was the third island that the C15 navigators discovered).that provides the island's name. This also runs to interesting cloud effects, so here are a couple of samples.
  As the swell was still large in the Pico-Sao Jorge channel, we chose to go round the south side of Pico. Pico draws the eye from anywhere on the adjoining islands because of the perfect volcanic cone.passed a few whale-watching boats and open fishing boats, saw a distant large group of pilot whale, and were shadowed for a long time by a warship doing strange changes of course. Eventually and sadly the reason became clear when she called us on 16 to ask us to keep a good lookout for any wreckage from a 5.5m leisure boat that had disappeared in the storm two days before. 
On my first visit I fell for Terceira: the town of Angra do Heroismo has a magnificent waterfront adjoiing the customs quay. The quay and the waterfront are still there (and even considerably renovated as befits a World Heritage Site) but instead of the peaceful anchorage there is now a marina bang in front of the Misericordia church.
In fact it doesn't matter too much, as all the good views of the town remain; previously the anchorage was exquisite and free, but one needed to clear out quickly if a wind between S and E came in. The maria is excellent, though on the day of our arrival (we were 2 days before "the season" began) the reception pontoon wasn't there so we had an alarming moor to a wall bristling with sharp metal fittings. The following day the pontoon reappeared! Anyway, here we are in a friendly marina in a lovely setting, with outstanding showers, laundry, cafe and of course power and water on the fingers for the outrageous sum of 9 Euros a night (same as Horta) though showers are extra. The town is bursting with restaurants, though the only tourists appear to be from the few (5 or 6) visiting boats. It's hell, but someone has to come here.