Andrew Yates
Mon 25 May 2009 16:23
"Land Ho" was the cry as Katie spied land in the early hours of Monday 25 May.  After 17 days at sea Piccolo is in the Azores and all is well with her and the crew. 
The final day saw low winds with a miserable cover of cloud that brought drizzle for most of the afternoon.  The now customry fresh bread was baked and on top placed Heinz Baked Beans and grated chesse.  The crew were very content after lunch.  A snooze was had by some and the weather inproved to bring a fine evening but still with low winds.  Sailing had been abandoned mid afternoon and the engine brought us closer.  A curry and a hoisting of the sails was had before sun down and then the countdown was on.  Heidi finished her watch - no land, Matt took over.  He thought he was nearing the end of his shift when he thought he saw land, Sam arrived for his shift with Matt looking, straining to see if the light he could see was land, Matt went to bed.... it was a yacht, no town or village has one white light with just below a red one.  Sam's watch passed without incident, then arrived Katie.  The sails were lowered as we were within 39 miles and with the skipper's fuel calculation we could motor towards Horta on the island of Faial.  Sam slept and during Katies watch she saw land and was very excited to have done so, soon the crew were rising to witness something they had not seen for 17 days (well, they all rose except Sam who wasn't too fussed about the sight of land - although was rather impressed when he did crawl from his pit to see what was occuring up on deck).  The motor towards the Horta Marina was beautiful, flat calm seas, a grey sky and a wonderful volcanic island covered in lush greenery with hedges as thick as a portugeusse eyebrow.  As Katie adjusted her mascara and the colour of her lipstick to match that of her hat (watch out boys) Piccolo glided her way towards the fuel dock of Horta Marina where customs and immigration were passed without fuss and fuel taken onboard.  Piccolo now sits next to a norwegian boat with the crew cleaning and the sun warming her.
The hightlight of yesterday was the early moring sighting of 3 Fin whales by Heidi.  Matt was up on deck and was quickly joined by Sam.  For 45 minutes the whales were showing off their impressive physiques for the crew to see.  Heidi was screaming for Katie, Matt was knocking on the door, Sam was photographing the impressive mammals, Heidi screamed for Katie.  The whales 18-33 meters in length played with us and showed us just how magnificent they are.  Then with one last blow and an arch of the back Katie arrived to see the final dive and the whales were gone below.  The whales were talked about all day and the photos looked forward to with great anticipation.  This highlight was potentially out highlighted by something quite extraordinary later that night.  Heidi had taken over from Katie on watch, the crew were sleeping or trying to.  Heidi called out that there were dolphins, nothing great you would think, we have been blessed with many visits by these fine swimmers.  The difference this time was the phosphoresence was in full luminous effect.  Katie rushed on deck, followed by Sam to the sight of luminous dolphins torpedoing around Piccolo. Dancing, spinning, playing off the bow and the stern they were a truly amazing sight.  For 10 minutes they looked like something from Gandalfs staff, it's hard to put into words how beautiful a dolphin speeding through water covered in luminous green light and leaving a 15 foot trail of light behind it looks. Stunning barely does them justice.  Matt sadly missed this but to round off a perfect day saw the same thing on his watch.  We are lucky, lucky people.
So tonight will bring Matt his meat and a drink or two for the crew at the famous Peter's Bar.  Tomorrow will bring a slight ache to the head and some general boat chores.  Life is good and land is a place where blogs are not written so expect no update for a day or three.  Ciao.