The Azores

The Azores

We were intending to spend only one night in Flores. My Dad and his other half were due to meet us on the island of Faial so we did not want to miss the opportunity to catch up and would thus have to make progress to cover the 130 miles from Flores to Faial.

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Enjoying our first drinks in Flores

We spent our first night in a very nice little bar situated up a hill overlooking the marina. There were many cruisers there enjoying the daily happy hour. I do not think that any of us could get over the fact that a beer was priced at only one euro. You can probably guess how the rest of the night panned out.

We met some lovely people on the first night and were invited to a beach party the next day, which we could not refuse so we decided to spend an extra day in Flores, relaxing, tidying and catching up on some much needed sleep.

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Peter’s Sports Bar – Faial.

The following day Will and I woke up and walked around the town in search of food and coffee to cure the massive handover we were both suffering from.

We went on a walk in the afternoon. I wanted to walk to a higher elevation until we reached the low level clouds that cover Flores most of the time. It had been so long since I had experienced the cool chill of level cloud and the views of Flores were stunning. The island is so green and as the name suggests it is covered in some of the most magnificent flora.

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Murals from passing yachts.

We enjoyed a lovely meal out and then made our way down to the stony beach where we joined our newly found cruiser friends and some hippies that seem to have lost there way in life and ended up living on the Island playing guitars and smoking pot each night with their transient party-goers.

We left the next day to around 09:30 to sail to Faial. As mentioned we had to cover 130 miles over to the island. The wind was light and fickle but we made okay speed under sail. The sea was lumpy and straight away we all started suffering from sea-sickness. It was a pretty miserable trip for the most part.

As the dawn drew round we could make out the shape of Pico, which stands around 2,000 meters high. We were nearly there. We motored the last leg around Faial and towards the late morning we moored alongside the harbour wall to check in and get allocated our berth for the next five days. My Dad and Nita met us on our berth and welcomed us in. It was lovely to have them both there and there help during the week was invaluable.

I had anticipated that we would have some time to explore Faial and maybe some of the surrounding areas. I had visited a number of the islands twelve years ago whilst undertaking my Masters degree and creating a feasibility study for a ecological whale watching centre on Sao Jorge and was very keen on seeing what had changed since my last visit. However having any sort of break on our tight schedule was not to be.

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A restaurant in Horta where you are provided with a hot slab to cook your meet to your own preference.

We had several servere issues with Troskala that needed immediate attention. These included the replacement of two engine mounts as a small fuel leak at the secondary fuel filter had leaked over one of the engine mounts and disintegrated the rubber. Our windlass fitted had developed a serious leak so had to be completed removed and re-installed with a new backing place, bolts and seals. As mentioned we managed to snap our kicking strap fitting and needed a new fitting fabricated. We employed the services of MAYS (Mid-Atlantic Yacht Services). I have to say now that the quality of their workmanship, the staff, their knowledge were second to none. It was pleasure dealing with such competence after our time in the Caribbean and each job they did they went above and beyond to make sure the jobs would not need doing within twenty years. Thank you MAYS!

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The new kicking strap fitting installed by MAYS.

 

It was good to know that Horta remained just the same as I had remembered. Peter’s Sports Bar, which is a well know place for any sailor, remained on the harbour front along with the whaling museum. It was felt like I was back twelve years ago. We would spend many nights in Peter’s Bar at various levels of intoxication.

We dined with my Dad and Nita each night and were joined by some of the crew of another vessel called Mary Sunshine who we had met in Flores. Thank you Ziggy and Mark for your help, knowledge and kindness during our stay in Horta. Thank you Ziggy for trying to fix our fuel sender unit.   Again, another thank you to my Dad and Nita for their constant help and support during our time in Horta and for some of the lovely meals we enjoyed together. It was a shame Carlotta was unable to join us due to work commitments but we will be together soon.

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A thank you gift for my Dad’s help./

Our five days in Horta flew. The day was finally upon us where we had to say goodbye to Will and prepare the crew of two (Ollie and I) for the passage to the Med. We re-provisioned Troskala with various treats, fuelled, watered and finally at 15:30 on the 25th June we set off from Horta.

I will be back to the Azores soon. For anyone who has not been I strongly recommend spending some time there although do not go for the Sun, as it can be a rarity.

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