Azores Cruise

Mon 9 Jun 2014 18:24
'38.32.01N 28.37.39W'
We arrived in Horta in the early hours (00:27) of 29th May, greeted as we came into the marina by a cacophony of congratulatory fog horns and cheers from those already there – we felt like true ocean sailors and we had just crossed the Atlantic ocean for the second time in 6 months. We rafted up to wait for customs to open and were greeted by ‘yellow shirts’ Victor and Johnny who were waiting with welcome ice cold beers. We sat and chatted with them for a couple of hours as they waited for the next arrival. The next afternoon we wandered around the town. In the evening met everyone in the famous Peter Cafe Sport bar, Peters has been the bar of sailors here since 1918, before enjoying the welcome meal at Canto da Doca where we cooked our supper on hot rocks. It is tradition and brings good luck for all boats passing through Horta to paint on the marina wall. The whole place is covered in wall and pavement paintings with names of boats and sailors who have left their ’mark’. Some marks were very simple and some very artistic. We found a little spot near where we were rafted and Saturday morning I painted a very simple painting for us to leave our mark. Christopher was up early Saturday to go whale watching, but not before he had signed his name on our painting. A busy day. Brian and I went to the scrimshaw museum and then we all went on an island tour in the afternoon which ended at the lighthouse for the leg 2 prizegiving buffet. All boats were presented with a plaque. We finished the evening back in Peter’s and then on ‘Sea Eagle’ finally getting to bed at 3.30am – not too sensible with a 7am start for our day sail to Angra, Terceira but we made it – slipping our lines at 6.30am! Horta for us will always remain a special landmark with good memories and of course we all had to buy t-shirt souvenirs from Peter’s bar. Fun in Terceira included a guided walking tour of the city followed by traditional bull running in the evening. I left the running to the boys and found a spot on someone’s door steps to watch! The steps were barricaded for protection from the bulls. Christopher ‘ran’ with others from the fleet, Brian decided to join me on the steps. We were very quickly and very kindly welcomed into the house and plied with food and drink while we watched the bulls. Only one injury to report – Gary from ‘Arcarius’ was tossed by the bull while he was trying to take photos! (I’m sure it’s now on YouTube) He came down with a bang and sported bandages for the rest of our stay! We continued our Azores cruise with an overnight sail to Ponta Delgada, Sao Miguel. Here we re-provisioned, toured the island and had a fleet ten pin bowling evening. Friday we left for a day sail to the last of the islands Santa Maria. Just a day here, one more guided tour and a farewell party hosted by Portos dos Azores – extremely generous amounts of food, beer and wine not to mention the ‘fire water’ shots. After joining in with local dancing we were all packed off with locally made baskets, huge loaves of bread and as much sausage as we could carry! Most of us then ‘weaved’ our way back to the marina as the effects of the fire water kicked in! (I admit I didn’t actually drink it, and was glad the next morning – always wise not to drink something that smells like it would remove nail varnish!). We had a 12.00pm start for the final leg on Sunday 8th. For us it was a morning of emotional ‘goodbyes’ – well I was alright until Joy from ‘Reberth’ came to say her farewells! We left the marina to the sound of the local marching band who had come to see us off. Shenanigan is heading to Falmouth, as was always our intention, the rest of the fleet to Lagos, Portugal where the rally ends on 15th June. We would have liked to have gone to Lagos but it would have been a slog back up the Portuguese coast to the UK. We have had a fabulous time on ARC Europe. We have met lots of fun and some very interesting and inspirational people. We hope our paths will cross with many of them in the future. Our heartfelt thanks go to Lyall and his team for making this trip from Nanny Cay to Santa Maria one never to forget.

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