Restless Atlantic Crossing - 10

Restless of Auckland
Roland and Consie Lennox-King
Mon 28 May 2007 23:40
Hello again!
Well we have departed from Horter, Faial and are making for Ireland! Technically we're at 38:38.89N and 28:23.21W. We have 15 to 20 knots behind us which is supposed to stay with us for a few days and we have 1218 miles ahead of us!
The Azores were really neat! Once we arrived we topped up on fuel and water and cleared customs. The marina was full (with about 1,000 boats) so we anchored in the harbor which was quite sheltered. It was rather nice sleeping without the lee cloth and eating at a table without a 30 degree lean on it and plates sliding all over the place.
So we did pretty well on our short stay. Managed to see a lot of the island, learn a tiny bit of Portuguese and do a few jobs on the boat like checking things at the top of the mast, an oil change, cleaning, and fixing Gilberts soggy bed situation! The first stop was the showers and laundry. It actually took 5 men about 5 minutes to determine which machines were the washing machines and which ones were the dryers. We did 4 loads of washing and made our first Azorean friend, the lady running the place who bossed us around like we were children. It's was funny as she was ordering us to separate the colours and cram more and more into each machine all in Portuguese! We also filled up with water, refueled and re-provisioned.
Yesterday we hired a taxi/tour guide and spent 3 hours visiting all the tourist spots on the island. The island's covered in volcanoes, some of which were active only about 40 years ago. Apparently one we went to was erupting for a year on and off (in the 1950s) and at one stage a new island came out of the sea and then overnight disappeared again! A few other craters and cracks and hills also appeared and some of the villages got buried in ash but nobody died! However the population pretty much halved after that because villages were wiped out and people generally didn't want to live on an erupting volcano. Seems pretty sensible to me!
The islands here were also big on whaling and there's little whale spotting stations all around the place. They last caught a whale in 1992!!! So we went to a spot where the whaling boats would drag the whales to and then cut them up and ship the meat off to one of the other islands. It was like a big marina berth and boat ramp cut into the rocks. Pretty impressive if you're an engineer!
After our tour of the island, Gilbert and I painted our sign on the foot path. Apparently it's bad luck if you don't leave your mark somewhere and so the marina is covered with all these painting of all sorts of different boats on different missions.There's now a big blue and white one that has a big 'Restless of Auckland' and a kiwi painted right in the middle of where everyone walks so we'll get a lot of publicity! It took us about 3-4 hours to paint and Consie you might want to re-stock your blue and white paint supply because we pretty much exhausted it. I hope we didn't use anything special but you would have been proud of the final masterpiece.
So last night we had drinks and dinner with some kiwi friends we made and then Gilbert and I made the silly mistake of going to the bar afterwards. Not feeling too good this morning. You'd think we could have gone partying one of the nights that we weren't leaving at 10 in the morning the next day! So this morning we woke up around 10, perfect timing really as the boat was all ready and all we had to do was pull the anchor up and roll out the sails! We had a few minor problems but we're sorting those out and slowly getting our sea legs back!
Well I need to go put the fishing line out now as we're coming up to some good ground I feel so here's hoping. We've eaten as much steak as we can on our stay in anticipation of more fish I think so don't want to disappoint anybody!
Hope everyone's well and not missing us too much! Keep the emails coming!
Love from the crew of Restless (bound for colder waters!)