Jestream Chronicles - Part 3
Jetstream Chronicles - Part 3
The trip from Madeira to Santa Maria took four nights and was memorable mainly due to the lack of wind, despite scrutinising the weather forecasts! However arrive we did on the same day that 22 boats from ARC Europe were also due to arrive, but squeeze us in they did! Oooppss! We had arrived at 4am and were awoken by a loud Canadian voice directing the berthing of a large catamaran at around 7am – however we moved to accommodate his berthing directions from the ARC folks (we had tied up where four catamarans were supposed to berth) and were arriving later that day, and we then fuelled up and “re-berthed” in time for breakfast of a “thin” BLT which was fantastic. Cleaning Jetstream and the laundry took up most of the rest of the morning before we could relax with a fine cuppa and a cold beer. Ah, the cruising life!!
Santa Maria is a small island, the southern most of the Azores group and the only one on the North African tectonic plate (you needed to know that) – that doesn’t stop the folks from being friendly though, but we arrived on a bank holiday so most of the shops were closed – some may view this as a positive thing! A stroll around the town after a steep climb and subsequent descent was rewarded by a nice drink at the Clube Naval and watching almost the last of the 22 ARC Europe boats arrive, before a fine beef bourguignon supper and bed – our body clocks were all over the place after the trip, the late arrival and early morning awakening, so we all crashed soon after supper while the local motor cycle club were having a bit of a bash. Strange days in Santa Maria. The place has changed a bit after our last visit some 6 years ago – our wall painting sort of survives, there are now many, many more paintings, the marina has some new facilities and the town has fewer abandoned houses. The facilities (men’s and ladies) haven’t improved much and are not that great, though functional, and the water is hot, but, the people are wonderful, and drinks at the Clube Naval are the cheapest we’ve come across in a long, long time. We will be leaving a Jetstream painting on the wall as well!
On our four day (533mile) trip from Madeira to Santa Maria we saw:-
What was quite interesting was that although the ARC Europe folks were in town there wasn’t really a “buzz” about the place – there was more interaction from the 200 or so bikers from the islands of the Azores who were in Santa Maria for a rally. Noisy to be sure and loads of them all over the place and who drained the supermarkets of beer, but were polite, friendly and a nice bunch of folks. The ARC folks were very subdued by comparison – not sure why, but it’s a curious question.
We hired a car for the day and after watching as 21 ARC boats left for Lagos (1 had gone the night before) we enjoyed driving round this little island. Up and down we went taking the roads to the various different little towns and having a great lunch over looking the sea at Sao Lourenco followed by a stop for a beer in Santo Espirito. It is so picturesque here the cameras, Iphones, Ipads and Tablets were all clicking away and although the hydrangeas have yet to turn the gorgeous shade of blue they do the agapanthus were out and danced brightly in the sunshine. Visiting the cascade we just beat about 100 of the bikers who followed us down the hill, most of them went on their way again but a fair few stopped to admired the falls. Our last stop on the tour was at the top of Pico Alto for a glorious view of......mist... we couldn't see a thing...well you can't have everything. All in all a really great day ending with a stop at the Clube Naval which turned into a longer stay as we watched the bikers arriving and then going to depart on the ferry for their trip home.
Off to Faial and Horta next.
More in due course..........
Andrew and Susan, Jackie and Paul,
Jetstream of Belfast