Landfall: Pta des Lajes - Flores
Mon 20 May 2013 18:49
Position 39:22.75N 31:10.175W
Last 24h Sailed Distance: 105 NM
Last 24h Decrease Distance on rhumb line: 82 NM
Sailed distance since departure: 2571 NM
Time since departure: 22d 19h 45m
Average Speed since departure: 4.85 kt
Average VMG since departure: 3.93 kt
Average VMG last 24 hours: 2.66 kt
- 25 gallon left
Yesterday we decided to sail most of the time and aim for an early morning landfall.
As the sunset was approaching the "zzzzz" noise of a strike on the lure got our self in action.
After 30 minutes of "battles" a large size Albacore offered himself to our table as sashimi for dinner.
During the night we clearly could see the light house on the north tip of Flores and the lights of houses and street. At sun rise the island was only few miles away and we could see its rugged cost and the green fertile tops.
We called on VHF the harbor master of the marina with the hope to get some advice on how to proceed,
but without getting an answear.
The pilot book I have is a 2004 edition and was reporting the marina under construction.
The 2013 updated Navionic charts indicated that a marina was there.
We could see some sailboat mast but no clear entry.
Only by going into what at first appeared a dead end, with rocks on both size, a small marina appeared and without much room to maneuver or think we had to pick a floating dock.
It looked short, perhaps for a 25 ft boat, but it did the trick.
Just as we tied our line a young man introduced himself as the harbor master and he was very helpful and courteous. We explained that our intent was to get some diesel and leave right after noon.
He told us that he would not charge us and to please use water and electricity if we wanted, but to stop at his office for a check-in just for statistical purpose.
After an 8:00 am celebration beer, we walked (first time walking on land after near 23 days).
The walk was a bit wabbling because of the early beer and the sea-legs.
The check-in process was fast and free. He explained that in Horta they will have all information on the boat and it should go even faster. We asked him where to get gas. He explained that today was a holiday but the gas station, 1 km up the road, should be open after 10am.
We got our 4 jerricans and start walking to the gas station.
We passed a small restaurant and the owner told us that it was a holiday and the gas station was closed.
I said that I heard it will be open after 10am. He called on his cell phone the gas station and confirmed that it was open and with diesel.
The early morning walk was pleasant and easy with the empty jerricans.
As we were walking up-hill sill 400 meters from the gas station. The restaurant owner, drove by and pick us up and dropped us at the station. There we quickly filled the 4 jerrican and a man with a small van, who just had his car filled-up, offered to drive us back to the marina saying that walking with 80 liters of diesel was too much.
Back at the boat we transferred the diesel to the main fuel tank. The gauge was reading 38% before and 69% after. Since the capacity of the tank is 67 gallons that imply that we added 67*(69%-38%)=20.8 gallons which is in very good agreement with the 81.5 liters = 21.5 gallon we bought.
After the diesel transfer we walked back on the pier and noticed that a car of Portuguese Police was doing the immigration paper of some other French sailor who also had just come in. We did ours right there by their car at no cost and in less than 10 minutes.
I noticed that at the marina there was a young diver in the water (no air bottle but snorkel and wet suit)
he was looking for something that a worker had dropped in the water. With the help of his friend, who worked as translator, I asked him if he could change the zinc on Blue Note propeller. Since the last few days the "typical" sound had appear indicating that the screw holding the zinc were getting loose (or actually the zinc dissolved and the screw were not holding the zinc down anymore). The diver went down to check what was required to do and told me there is a net rapped around the propeller. With the help of a knife he removed a nylon green net of about 2x3 feet. Not sure when we picked up the net. When we did went swimming I had not noticed anything but I did not payed attention either (retrospectively I should have).
After removing the net he changed the zinc.
After that we finally went for lunch at the same restaurant where the men had helped us before.
A friendly Russian woman served us and we past on the fish and instead had chicken.
At the same restaurant the woman working at the gas station was also having lunch (chicken as well).
At 2 pm , after having used the free marina WiFi to check our email, we were ready to leave the marina for Horta.
The pilot book on the Azores says that the people on Flores are the most friendly and indeed
everyone was extremely friendly. I will definitely make Flores the landfall of my next trip and this time I will want to spend some time on the island and explore its beautiful green tops with the bicycle.
The catch of May 19 - A 2.5 ft albacore.
Walking the hills of Flores with our jerricans
Leaving Flores and heading to Horta