Fw: No go...
Sarah Grace goes to sea
Chris Yerbury and Sophy White
Sun 24 Jun 2007 11:40
----- Original Message -----
From: Yacht Sarah Grace
Sent: Saturday, June 23, 2007 8:22 PM
Subject: No go...
Sailing is never without its frustrations. Our planned departure for the UK this weekend is now on hold for a few days at least as the forecast shows an unavoidable area of high pressure en route. This would mean no wind or north/north easterlies. As one seasoned sailor commented drily, the wind is always good- but usually for some one else. In this case, perfect for going to Gibraltar or the Algarve but not Plymouth. One of our scouts 2 days north is now getting headwinds so talking to him brings home the reality of unfavourable weather, marginally easing the great frustration of the morning round of weather websites which all unanimously show the same adverse conditions. As soon as there is the prospect of consistent sailing in the right direction we will be off- homeward bound!
Another sad fact of this nomadic life is saying good bye to people. Wednesday in the evening sunshine overlooking the ranks of yachts in harbour was the time for a final drink with the group of people we now know as friends from our shared experiences on the previous passage. It was a very jolly gathering but tinged by the knowledge we would be going our seperate ways next morning. Exchanging email addresses, radio schedules and promises to visit homes in far away countries eased the seperation. Also knowing how paths cross again unexpectedly in distant ports means that we will again be able to extend an uninhibited welcome to each other where ever and when ever we meet again.
Before dawn on Thursday we left Horta and sailed about 70miles to Terceira. The harbour town of Angra Do Herismo convieniently started its annual fiesta week the next evening. We spent the day exploring the island by car- again a beautifully green rural landscape divided up into small fields by dry stone walls. I even saw one field being tilled by a horse drawn plough. Compared to Horta, Angra is much more cosmopolitian with the origional grand town centre buildings restored over the last 20years since being nominated as a world heritage site. It is a bit like a Portugese version of Bath with classic buildings and streets from over 200years ago providing the shops and homes of a still thriving town. It also seems remarkably devoid of a tourist element- perhaps this is because everyone here seems to be Portugese even if they are not strictly Azorean.
The fiesta began with a 21 gun salute and the turning on of the very tasteful street lights+decorations at dusk. As the place filled with thousands of people a red carpet was laid that stretched for many blocks on top of the cobbled roads. Over this there then came a long procession of floats and groups of people in full costume, often accompanied by music and dance, depicting different regions of Portugal's past empire. So included were Brazilians samba-ing, Chinese dragon dancers, Indian dancers, government soldiers fighting pirates and courtiers in full 18th century attire. The trading route to and from the countries passed through the Azores and Angra was for some while its principal port.
So while we are all itching to get moving, there is lots going on here to help pass the time. And if we stay long enough I wouldn't be suprised to see a familiar boat or two from Horta catch us up and we will then be among old friends again too.