This video is a quick summary of the various islands we visited on the Azores over 3 weeks in 2015. Each one had its own character and we had a hard time determining our favorite.
Our first stop was Flores, the western-most island and about 120 nm away from our next stop. While Flores is relatively small and provides only basic facilities, it has a lot to offer and we highly recommend a stop-over.
Faial was our next stop and with Horta clearly the center for ocean going vessels. Just across the straight was Pico, offering great vistas from Portugal’s highest mountain.
While our stay in Sao Jorge was brief, we enjoyed the quaint village and interesting public pool.
Our final stop, Terceira, had a lot to offer with UNESCO world heritage site, Angra do Heroismo, and lots more. It is also one of the few islands with a direct connection to Boston.
Distance traveled: just over 200nm
In case the YouTube video does not play in your country, try the link below:
This is the video of our first leg, crossing the Atlantic in the summer of 2015. It took us 2 weeks from Nahant to Flores, the western-most island, about 2000nm.
Three decent storms made for an eventful journey…
As most people lose interest when watching hundreds photos of someone else’s trip, here is a very quick slideshow to get an idea of what this year’s trip looked like.
A teaser to our upcoming video night at the Dory Club…
Flores is the western-most island of the Azores and our first landfall after crossing the Atlantic. Most boats sail right past it to Faial (where Horta, the main hub, is located). They do not know what they are missing.
Flores is an amazingly beautiful island that is a must-see when cruising the Azores. It reminded us of a “Scottish Kauai” , ie rolling hills with stone walls of Scotland combined with the Jurassic Park-like tropical mountains of Kauai, Hawaii.
Lots of lush greens, waterfalls, winding roads, ocean-views, friendly people, good food and the basic infrastructure a cruising sailor needs (shore power, shower, supermarket, restaurants, WiFi and a friendly harbor master).
Early evening yesterday brought a brief light rain that forced the crew of Tioga to put up the Kuchenbude, German term for a greenhouse like enclosure for the cockpit. Staying dry inside, gave us time to sample the white wines of the Azores. When the rain shower passed the music from local festival picked up. Peter broke out the red, white, and blue glow sticks to help celebrate the 4th. And thanks to Dave Liscio’s last minute hand off of bottle rockets, we were also able to enjoy a small fireworks display. The crew enjoyed the night at the festival meeting several crews from other boats who also recently made the crossing. Each crew conveyed their own special story of how they came to sail across the pond.
Today’s early 9 am wake up call, had the crew prepping Tioga and gear for a midday departure to Faial, a 130 mile sail. There is long standing Atlantic crossing tradition of painting a mural along the wall of the harbor. Ulf, Peter, and Uncle Danny get to work on our version. Thanks to Lili Barba for providing us with the paint and brushes just before our departure from Nahant. Our luck with fresh fish improved as a local fisherman gave us several of his daily catch, and, yes, we did contemplate creating our own fish story on how we got these fish. We also compared our fishing tackle with another Atlantic crosser who had caught fish, We matched up pretty closely – so it’s just bad luck on our part. At noon we departed Flores, after saying good bye to our new found sailor friends. We hope to meet up with them in Horte. Despite the overcast sky, it was warm in the cockpit. The winds were perfect for a great day of sailing. The crew finished the day with a fine meal of rice and beans with franks. We also finished the last of Lolo’s 33 sausages. [Categor 2015, nht2azo]
When we first arrived on Flores, the Crew of the Tioga noticed the speed at which cars traveled, the steep inclines, and narrow roads. After watching the driving, we figured that driver’s education here consists of watching the Fast and Furious films and completing 15 levels of the video game Grand Theft Auto. Last night Ulf made a good local contact at the bar and after much negotiating, we hired 2 local cab drivers. We departed the docks at 9:30am, the Kerstens in one vehicle, and Ulf, Peter and Uncle Danny in the other. The Kerstens driver, who spoke very little English, was an older gentleman and as Lolo put it “so cute”. The guys’ driver, an older woman that spoke no English, but had the driving ambition of Mario Andretti. This is one senior citizen who could be the wheelman in any bank heist and guarantee a clean getaway. Some pucker factor was experienced when she pulled 2 g.s in 4 wheel power slides on the hairpin curves. But the white knuckle effect was max when late in the day it was revealed the brakes were unreliable. We were allowed to catch our breath frequently as we stopped to view the vistas, each one more spectacular than the previous. The huge rows of giant blue hydrangea have given this beautiful island it’s name.
When we stopped to view a group of waterfalls, the sign said 800 meters, but did not reveal that it was 800 meters true vertical, over slippery, moss covered rocks. We were rewarded at the end with a view of the terminus of 7 waterfalls. The lush green flora was reminiscent of scenes from Jurassic Park. Dan and Peter embraced the European way when they swam nude in the pool at the base of a 300 foot waterfall. The crew and drivers enjoyed a fantastic lunch at a quaint restaurant along the West Coast, facing the good ole USA, appropriate for the 4th of July. A group of US service men and woman from nearby Air base in Terciera were also enjoying a fine meal. From Tioga, Happy 4th of July!