Bus Tour of São Miguel

“Azorean legend has it that long ago a beautiful Princess with piercing blue eyes used to roam the countryside because she was in love with land. One day she came across a humble shepherd tending to his flock on a nearby hillside. She and the shepherd began talking about their shared love of the flora and fauna all around. They returned to the same spot day after day to meet and quickly fell into love. When the King found out his daughter was in love in a lowly shepherd, he was displeased and told his daughter she had to marry a foreign prince and she was no longer allowed to see the shepherd. The Princess knew she must oblige her father, but asked the King if she could see her love one more time. She and the shepherd met a final time, at the same spot on the hillside, and she shared the sad news. They both cried endless tears, and it’s said that her flowing blue tears filled the Blue Lake and tears from his emerald colored eyes filled the Green Lake. While they were separated from that moment on, they were still together forever in those two connecting lakes.” from http://compassandtwine.com/kayaking-around-the-green-blue-lakes-of-sete-cidades-in-the-azores/ 

DSCN5370
From this perspective, it looks like the lake in the foreground is as large as the one behind it.  However, the Blue lake in the background is much bigger.  It is a Blue Lake because it reflects the blue of the sky.  In contrast, the smaller Green lake reflects the green color of the vegetation sourrounding the lake.  The lakes formed in a large volcanic crater.

I enjoyed a Coke with ice and lemon at the above resturant.  If you ask for a coke with ice, they normally a slice of lemon.  This little town is on the banks of the Blue Lake.  Our guide mentioned that the houses are small and very expensive, 2 million Euros ($2.300,000).

Even small towns have large churches.  The lichens covered the trees on the path to the church.

DSCN5331
Where the Azorean pineapples are grown.  The roof is painted white.
DSCN5328_edited-1
When the paints are this big, they fill the hot house with smoke.  This puts the plants on the same timetable.

Overnight Sail to Ponta Delgada

Last night, we left Terceira at 1800.  As we motored out of the harbor, we stowed the dock lines and the fenders.   We had daylight for a couple of hours, so were able to see the sails and trim properly.  Before departing, I was not sure about an evening departure.  I questioned voluntarily submitting to a night of interrupted sleep.  I was on for the 2200 shift.  Roy had trimmed the sails well and we were cruising at a comfortable 7-8 kts, very pleasant.  Himmel was .2 nm behind us and Principal Interest was about the same in front of us.  During my shift the wind picked up to 14-16 and we were doing a solid 8 – 8.5 kts.  During the next two hours we passed Principal Interest and put more than a 1 nm between us and both boots.

Carlos took over after my shift.  About an hour into his shift there was a gust of wind that suddenly heeled us over, not to the point of putting the sails in the water.  It was enough to shut off the autopilot.  Carlos was teethed to the table and unable to get to the helm in time to avert a 360.  I slept through it, while Roy emerged from his cabin to help.  It turned out the gusting winds returned to a steady 14-15 kts.  My morning shift started at 0600 and the wind had dropped to 6-8 kts.  Eventually, we dropped the sails and I steered us to Ponta Delgada.  Carlos parked us in a slip.  While Kathy and Carlos went to customs to check us in, I had granola and several cups of English Breakfast tea.  Very tranquil start of the day.  After the experience of the 90 nm night sail, I decided I liked it.  Something worth doing in the future.

DSCN5313
This is the cafe were I had a Coke (with ice and lemon) and used the wifi to upload this post. We are in the marina in Ponta Delgada.
DSCN5316_edited-1
I am looking at this church while writing this caption.
DSCN5315_edited-1
This is just to the left of the church.  I walked down this alley to arrive at the cafe.
DSCN5377
The crew of Silkie, the only ARC sailors with kids.  Four kids from 2 to 11.  
DSCN5362
There are gardeners employed to take care of the flowers along most of the roads.  If we had been here a couple of weeks later, the Hydrangeas would have been incredible.

On the way to meet Carlos and Kathy, and the Migaloo and Prinicpal Interest crews, Roy and I came across an 585 Oyster that was rafted up to us in Bermuda.  Back in Bermuda on board of North Wind, we shared a number of drinks with Louie and his crew.  Louie had mentioned his dad woul be taking the boat from the Azores.  Sure enough, we introduced ourselves to John, Louie’s dad, and were invited aboard.   He welcomed us by giving us an indepth tour of the boat; electronics, galley, thruhulls, cabins, and hydraulics for winches, furling genoa, backstay, etc.  Burled wood on the table was worthy of a photo, but I did not have my camera.  Oysters are build in Great Britton and if you think of a parellel to autos, it would be comparable to a Rolls Royce.  John insisted on gin and tonics, so that delayed enough that we missed dinner with the other crews.

 

 

Strolling around Angra on the Island of Terceiro

DSCN5268
ARC sailors are on a walking tour of Angra Heroismo

DSCN5273

DSCN5274
Notice the tiled walkway.
DSCN5271
This is the look of sidewalks across the entire town of Angra.
DSCN5270
Town Hall
DSCN5265
It is no wonder that Angra has the designation of a World Heritage Site.  Amazing!  It is the  people who are incredibly friendly and helpful that make the Azores a wonderful place to visit.
DSCN5276_edited-1
The view of the town from a castle on a hill.
DSCN5262
Returned to the marina to get ready for running of the bulls.

We Depart Horta for Terceira

DSCN5253
It is a tradition to record your passage through Horta on the dock.  Kathy and Carlos painted the North Wind mark on the dock.  The tradition is based on the belief that the painting will result in a successful passage to the next distant port. 
DSCN5254
Many sailors have left their mark.
DSCN5255
The crew of Himmel, my Mt Pico buddies.

The ARC was scheduled for a 0700 departure.  In the Horta Marina, five boats were rafted off the dock.   We were the third boat from the dock.   The outside two boats were efficient in untying their lines and were off at about 0645.  We were ready, so in two minutes we were free and headed out of the marina.  Since it wasn’t a timed start, we set the sails.  Because our generator was not working and we had not connected to shore power, we had to run the engine to charge the batteries.  And run the engine we did.  With the aid of the engine we led the pack and put some distance between us and others.

DSCN5256
A last look at Mt Pico
DSCN5258
It is hard to tell from the picture, but the waterfall is quite tall. This was a view off our port beam.

When we emerged from the lee of Pico, the engine was off and we cruised with a 12-14 kt wind that put us between a close reach and beam reach.  Very pleasant sailing at 7 kts, occasionally seeing 8 kts.  I took two naps on the 9-hour trip to the impressive Angra do Heroismo marina on the island of Terceira.

DSCN5259
Safely docked in the marina at Angra do Heroismo, Terceira.

In the evening, we enjoyed a group meal at the sailing club.  Everything I sampled off the buffet was tasty.  After the meal, a band came on and did American/British rock and roll.

Mt Pico

I awoke at 5:30 searched for my passport, packed 2 liters of water, a cliff bar and some nut bars.  The crew of Himmel and I took the 7:30 ferry to Pico, met our guide, Mateo, and headed off to the Casa da Montanha.  The mountainside house is at 1,200 meters, I was under the mistaken impression that hiking Mt Pico was be a walk in the park.  I apparently had not read the following website.

https://www.geekyexplorer.com/climbing-mount-pico-azores/ “Pico is basically a very steep uphill hike. In some parts it feels dangerous. The wide range of hard rock formations and different types of soil are quite a challenge to your feet, ankles and knees.”  Steep, yes, almost vertical.  Dangerous, yes.  My fear was I would lose my footing and bounce off sharp volcanic rocks. Mateo did a great job with motivation and when I feel behind he encouraged me to move to the position directly behind him.  This was immensely helpful because he modeled the best footholds and baby steps.  He frequently reminded us to breathe and use small steps and to traverse rather attempt to climb straight up.  At least 200 times he must have said, “We are almost there.”  I was reminded of a mountain hike with Marcia.  Climbing up a winding trail, we were hiking with my former student, Melinda. Over the course of 90 minutes or so, she repeatedly said, ‘It is just around the bend.”

The greatest challenge on Pico was reaching what looked like the summit, only to realize the steepest climb was still ahead.  The below picture is not the summit.

We had to cross a crater before reaching the incredibly steep peak.  As I was approaching the peak, my legs were jello and my left leg started to cramp.  At that point I would have put the odds of me standing on the summit at about .01%.  I yelled to the group that I my legs were cramping.  They kindly let me rest for several minutes and then we pushed ahead. By taking it one step at a time, I got across the crater.

IMG_20180530_111745
On the way up, I thought this point was the summit.  Once we reached this point, we saw the real summit off in the distance.  Much more climbing to go.
IMG_20180530_123155
Here we are climbing the last stretch to the summit.
IMG_20180530_123504.jpg
The vertical got to the point that it was hands rather than poles that were needed.
IMG_20180530_134831.jpg
The dropoff was scary, especially with weak legs.

When we approached the steepest part of the climb, it was time to stow the trekking poles and use our hands and feet to ascend.  While climbing, I worried whether I would have the strength to descend.  At multiple points, I thought I was making a poor decision to continue upward.  If I had not been with the Himmel crew, I am sure I would have quit. The last 30 or so ft the rock were quite water.  Steam was emerging from cracks.  Even though I was unsteady on my feet, it was a good feeling to reach the top. We had a lunch of bread, cheese and ham/salami.  We sat there and enjoyed being above the clouds.  The descent was not a difficult as I feared.  Lunch provided some energy and going down required a different set of muscles.

IMG_20180530_123905.jpg
At the summit.  Mateo, our guide, a great person. Notice the climber on the bottom right.  He depicts how I felt.

First Full Day in Horta

Took a long walk south. It was pleasant to exercise the legs and explore the adjacent town.  I saw two groups of locals heading up steps to a restaurant.  I tend to select restaurants that are crowded and avoid those that are empty.  The waiter told me today’s fish would arrive in a 15 minutes.  Sure enough, a man came in with two baskets of fish.  There were at least ten different types of fish.  The waiter sensed I had no clue which to order.  He recommended the big fish and indicated it was the best in the Azores.  Uncharacteristic of me, I said yes without knowing the price.  I still don’t know what it cost, but whatever it turns out to be, it will be a bargain.  The fish was firm, not to the degree of swordfish, but a bit firmer than grouper.  It was grilled over a wood fire. It was incredibly moist.  I don’t know what the clear sauce was, but it added to experience.  Bottom line, a very memorable meal.  It ended up costing 27 Euros, not cheap at $31, but worth every cent.

Went to Peter Sport Café and met up with the Migaloo and Himmel crews. After a .5 liter Super Bock (Portuguese beer), then I joined Himmel for dinner.  I learned that the Himmel crew had arranged a guide for to go to the summit of Pico the next day.  I asked if I could join them. Mike sent a text to the guide and he immediately replied affirmatively.  Great meal at Peter Sport Café. We laughed a lot and replayed parts of the sail from Bermuda.