Ponta Delgada, Sao Miguel
37:44.294N 25:39.856W Sun-Mon 29-30th Jul 2018. 136nm 23h05mins
It took a while before the winds were at all suitable for moving on from Velas, so we spent our nine days there walking and running in the area. We hired a car for just one day to see the island a bit and get to a more challenging walk; and boy what a challenge! It wasn’t a huge length, but took us from the top of the northern edge of the island almost vertically down to a tiny community at sea level – and straight back up again. We used our walking sticks for the first time in years and very necessary they were too:-
The vertiginous drop for our walk on the northern side of Sao Jorge: showing the zipwire in the foreground they use for supplies.
The tiny community at the bottom:
Other than that we walked and ran all possible routes around Velas itself. Particularly popular were the run up and down the nearby caldera and the walk up the nearest “cliff” for the views from the top. Actually there is a bar at the very top we visited 3 times but only found open once – very frustrating. Our time here was notable for the frequent rain and constant, weird night time bird calls from the shearwaters roosting on the cliffs above the marina.
Looking down on Velas from one of our walks up the nearby “cliff”: The promontory top right is the caldera we walked & ran to several times.
Eventually we got a good wind forecast to move on, but couldn’t decide whether to go back to Angra on Terceira which we really liked, or on overnight to Santa Maria, our final destination in the Azores. In the end we opted for Ponta Delgada on Sao Miguel, just to demonstrate how decisive we are! It was a downwind sail but in very variable conditions necessitating pretty well every sail combo we can do. A sometimes extremely enjoyable fast sail was ruined during the night by rain being blown into the back of the boat just as we were forced to do a major sail change – yuck. It also rained just as we were docking which always takes the fun out of arriving. However we did have some great fast sailing, averaging nearly 6kts despite long periods drifting along at 3-4kts, so we are not really complaining.
We visited here before in 2015 so won’t say much in this post. It is a very different town from the rest of the Azores – very large and international with lots of bars and restaurants. A famous search engine helped us find the popular A Tasca restaurant which we felt thoroughly deserved its reviews and extreme busy-ness. We had a great lunch there and have booked a table for a more leisurely evening before we leave.
Our main focus this time is going to be taking buses to various walks around the island. We did one today which didn’t sound very exciting on paper but turned out to be lovely. Photos below:-
The Ginger Lilly in the foreground is actually a terribly invasive pest, hated despite its looks!
Other flowers are more welcome!