23 Dec Blog: Theo and Michelle: sailing in the Azores
The Azores, one of Theo and Michelle’s favorite sailing areas: “Great climate, friendly people and a very reasonable prices”. From Horta, to the beautiful nature of Flores and ‘bullfighting’ on Sao Jorge. Read about it all in this blog.
Around the world in 10 years. Back to the Caribean, into the Mediterranean. Now the Faja Lobi is located in Portugal. A crazy time and now waiting for what’s next…
During their past years at sea they have kept a blog in which they describe their sailing adventures, give tips and share their experiences of sailing routes. In the Hutting Yachts blogs we draw on their experiences.
This edition includes: sailing in the Azores.
Sailing from Bermuda to the Azores: the crossing
In the beginning of June we set out from Bermuda for the crossing from the Atlantic to the Azores, a distance of approximately 1900 miles. Compared to the crossing we made 2 years ago from St Maarten, it was a pleasant trip. In the first week we already covered almost a thousand miles with daily averages of sometimes more than 160 miles. We saw whales and many dolphins on the way. Later, when the wind dropped occasionally, we saw many Portuguese man o’ war surrounding the boat: jellyfish which float with the wind.
After a day or two we got back into the rhythm of watchkeeping at sea (3 hours on / 3 hours off at night), trimming the boat, reading and enjoying the sea and the occasional beautiful sunsets. Life quickly becomes timeless, no news from the rest of the world. Weather reports, weather maps and grib files are the only information from the outside which is important.
Dutch Maritime Atlantic Radio Network
The Dutch maritime Atlantic radio network once again provided daily variation. 10 Dutch boats sailing the same crossing; we kept each other informed about the position, distances traveled and circumstances, such as the wind and sea conditions.
Faja & Horta: ideal stopover for Atlantic crossers
We also had a reunion with acquaintances from 2 years ago who live on Fajal. It was a big coincidence to find Hylke (now also busy with a return trip to the Azores), the previous owner of our aluminum sailing yacht ‘Faja Lobi’, which we sailed back from the Azores to the Netherlands in 1998. This was our first real ocean crossing. Also a test to see how that would work. The result is well-known! We also noticed that the mural we made last time on the wall of the harbor of Horta, like all passing sailors, was still in reasonable condition. We simply updatede it and added a new year.
Flores with a no-go Marina and beautiful nature
The most western island of the Azores is the island of Flores. Both this time and last time we passed it without visiting. The main reasons for this is that it is a small marina, notorious for the swell that can run inside with a lot of risk of damage to the sailboat. But the island is also famous for its natural beauty. That is why we paid a visit by plane for a few days. Well worth it. Seven special lakes in old volcanic craters, all with their own water colors. We also viewed the marina, which indeed looked more like a washing machine than a regular marina…
Bullfighting on Sao Jorge
After Horta we crossed to Velas on the island of Sao Jorge. Two years ago we had experienced the festival week there, including the Azores version of bullfighting; a fairly harmless version. The bull on a long rope, more or less controlled by 4 or 5 men pulling / hanging on the rope. Young men approach and challenge the bull to prove their masculinity. Usually it goes well. Round caps have been placed on the bull’s horns to prevent the worst damage. Every year a video is made of all the moments when things don’t go well and the bull gets the chance to kicked and beated. Spectacular and amazing that there are no more disabled young men walking around …
This year we were there during the festive week again. There was a bull fighting event in the harbor area. There were young men jumping into the water when approaching the bull. But now the men on the rope were not attentive and gave the bull too much space, resulting in a bull jumping into the water. Lucky enough they had anticipated this situation so a lifeboat was ready to bring the bull back to shore safely. It took a lot of effort though…
Azores: great climate, friendly people and reasonable prices
Now we are on the island of Terceira in the marina of Angra. Staying in the Azores remains a lot of fun. In the summer there is a pleasant climate, friendly people and reasonable prices. A meal for 8 euros, a beer for 1 euro, plenty of fish on the market for 2 euros and so on.
Sailing in the Azores: definitely recommended! The next destination? … read the next blog!