Tue 20 Jun 2006 13:36
We covered the 70 miles to Terceira overnight as planned. At times we seemed to be sailing (or, rather, motoring) straight through a cloud. It was very damp and chilly. Caroline stood her first nightwatch with aplomb. Terceira means 'third' in Portugese and was both the third island to be discovered and at 30km by 20km wide is the third largest of the group. The last earthquake here was in 1980 when the capital, Angra do Heroismo, was particularly badly hit. Angra is now a UNESCO World Heitage Site and is full of beautiful old Portugese buildings. There's a great natural harbour and an excellent new marina. Our arrival coincided with the annual Sanjohaninas festival. There were parades, local produce shows and all sorts going on. A lot of the houses had hung beautiful patchwork quilts from their upstairs windows. Each night we were there, there was some sort of musical event on the steps down to the marina (including, unfortunately, one very late night set of Abba covers).
And, speaking of Swedes, we've had the great pleasure of reuniting with Regina. Leon, Carolina, Jonathan and Jessica have been here for about a week having come from Faial via Sao Jorge. They welcomed us with coffee and pastries and then gave us an excellent tour of the town. Jonathan went on a bus tour with Anna, Eddie, Penny and Caroline and we all had supper at one of the festival stalls in the marina last night. We first met Regina in La Coruna 10 months ago. Their children then spoke no English and our now fluent. Anna and Eddie can say "hello, goodbye, thank you and please" in Swedish. We will leave around the same time and keep in radio contact. But they are faster than us and will gradually pull away. That's sad but we are already plannning reunions, the London boat show, a sail across the Baltic to Russia, the Mediterranean and Chelmondiston are under serious discussion.
This is one of Angra's churches, it over looks the marina.
Regina had been here a week, so it was great to have Leon to show us around as soon as we arrived.,
This is the recurrent symbol of the festival, the crown, the dove and sceptre, signifying the Holy Spirit.
The buildings throughout the town are wonderful, we've yet again found ourselves day dreaming about renovation projects and holidays cottages.
The steets are all decorated for the festival and there seem to be daily parades. So far there's been no bull running, but all the shops run endless videos of men scampering away from angry, therthered bulls so we think there may be some later in the week. We've decided we are not too bothered about moving on.
All over the island there are small Imperios do Espirito Santo, literally Empires or Theatres of the Holy Spirit. Many are brightly painted with windows on three sides and often a balcony used for displaying the silver crown, dove and sceptre.
This is overlooking the harbour and marina. Its been an important natural harbour since the sixteenth century.
This is the Marina tucked into one corner.
We saw a display of local stick fighting in the main square one night during the festival. It was very like morris dancing without the bells.
As ever in Portugal the entertainment starts late and goes on well into the night. This was the jazz band that played in the marina.
We took an hour and half bus ride to Biscoitos on the north side of the island. Jonathan from Regina came with us, but we were all a bit too cold to take a dip.
Anna daring to get close to the crashing waves.
Caroline wondering what is going to be like out there on Tamarisk.
With a lack of beaches on the islands, a great deal of work is done to make the lava pools accessible for swimming.
Around Biscoitos vines are grown on tiny plots surroune by protective lava blocks. The soil contains a lot of iron oxide and gives the wine a very distinctive taste.
This was one of stalls set up in marina selling local wine and ham.
And where we ate supper under a real bulls head.
Caroline trying a revive her new friend with some local beer.
So now we are busy making our last minute preparations. The laundry is in the marina dryer, Caroline has found some more bread and milk. and the cabin hammocks are full of fruit and veg. The GPS says it is 1169 miles to Falmouth, we hope we won't have to detour too much for the weather. There's nothing strong in the forecast, but it's all a bit on the nose, so we are expecting to motor north to find the westerlies we need to blow us to the UK. The only challenge now is to find someway of listening to the England Sweden match this afternoon.