The Azores are 9 small islands in the Atlantic. 1800 miles from Bermuda, 1200 miles from the UK, 800 miles from the main land of Portugal. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Azores) There are nine major Azorean islands and an islet cluster, in three main groups. These are Flores and Corvo, to the west; Graciosa, Terceira, São Jorge, Pico, and Faial in the centre; and São Miguel, Santa Maria, and the Formigas Reef to the east. They extend for more than 600 km (370 mi) and lie in a northwest-southeast direction.They are effectively in the middle of nowhere.
They are volcanic, so steep sided, lush and with few beaches. They are stunning. Flowers grow all along the roadside, bright blue hydrangeas and agapanthus at this time of year. The people are very friendly and most speak good English. The islands themselves are Portugese. The food is cheap and plentiful and a welcome change from the Caribbean. Russell and I both bought loaves of bread on the same day and it was no problem at 70 cents, had it been in Bermuda it would have been $5 per loaf.
The ARC Europe Rally makes Horta in Faial the first port of call. This means you miss Flores and Corvo which are 150 miles away. Many who do not do the rally chose to stop here as it is closer. The pictures look lovely and had we not been doing the rally we would have visited.
Horta is a bustling and busy harbour. It boasts the biggest Muriel in the guiness book of records. Myth has it that it is bad luck to leave without painting a picture on the wall. Ethan, our artist came up with a new design for the wall and was very specific in how it should be painted.
Horta is also famous in yachting circles for the Sports Bar run by Peter. There are a number of Peter replica bars and merchandise shops throughout the Azores and mainland Portugal. They are in no way the same as the original, which is small and very personal and was the meeting place for ARC sundowners, and lunch and late night drinks…etc…
We enjoyed a few days in Horta, recuperating from our long trip. We enjoyed a meal out at a restaurant where you cook your food on a volcanic piece of rock. Ironically, I said I wanted a night off cooking and we ended up there. I guess I only had to cook my own dinner and not everyone elses. The kids thought it was excellent and Oli spent ages cooking his pieces of steak, just how he likes them.
We enjoyed visiting the continent supermarket and seeing food prices plumet. This was the same as the marina price which drops to €12 including water and electric. A shower costs €2 and you get a piece of soap and towel. I decided to wash clothes using the wonderwash as the walk to the washing machines was a lengthy one and also expensive at €8.
We said goodbye to Shaun our crew on Thursday morning. Such a shame he didn’t get more time to explore.
The prize giving was on the 1st of June. We enjoyed a half day coach tour of the island before ending up a the volcano centre. The Kailani surfers wished they had a skateboard to ride down the hill on and then as if by magic two lads came down the hill on them. They got chatting and were offered the chance to ride down the steep and winding road to the shore. The lads said it was too steep and after a couple of tries, the kailani boys admitted defeat and handed back the boards. We headed into the centre to enjoy local wine and canapés, which turned out to be a fantastic spread of meats, cheese and bread that served as dinner. The icing on the cake was us winning the leg.
Sailing in an old whaling boat. Well more paddling as there was no wind.
The Beautiful and breath taking view into a caldera. Obviously if it is not cold and misty.
We might not beable to see it, but we know how far it is....
Just shows the difference a few feet up can make. This is the same day. Sun is shining and the agapanthus are stunning.
Our new Hawaiian friends from Kailani. Showing off their dry land surfing skills. Taylor and Wyatt.
Winning the Leg from Bermuda to the Azores. Spot the contrasting reactions. I guess Ethan and i were a little more enthusiastic than Russell and Oli. Nick from Johannem, another Moody owner, celebrating with us.