three hulls, two people, one trip around the world…

Horta in the Azores

Horta is a pretty town and it is easy to get everywhere on foot.

Lovely mini balconies:

Here are European supermarkets with European goods and prices. For our normal shopping with a backpack and two cool bags, we only paid 80 Euros instead of $200 as in the Bahamas.

Park near the market hall:

A joint barbecue was organised by members of the Transocean Association. At the quay wall, the boats are moored in packs of 3. Due to the movements, all the fenders of the innermost boats are already worn out.

The stones here are painted so that a patron saint protects the ship. We haven’t decided yet whether we should go for another guardian angel and not use any paint near the water, or whether we should put our artistic streak to the test with a small SAN logo.

The big lantern is the rising moon 🙂

Here you see a (French) boat that had not left enough space when anchoring. They were clearing in when the boats at anchor turned and were now almost sitting on our stern. This can be dangerous if their chain stretches and comes up against our rudder blade. When they came back, they were less than perceptive about having made a misjudgement in choosing the anchorage in the first place. However, they re-anchored, probably because the harbour master had told them to do so.

Of course, there is always something to repair and opportunities to let Mathias dangle from some newly invented lifting structure. This time we had to fit a new strap for the clew attachment (lower, back corner) of the mainsail. We sewed the new strap from a lifeline.

The whale processing factory — now a museum

Herman Melville is said to have written in “Moby Dick” that the best whaling sailors came from the Azores. Maybe that’s because the whales were hunted here in small boats with harpoons. In any case, it’s good that people in the Azores nowadays earn their money with whale watching tours instead of hunting.

For most of the time we lay at anchor quite well at the edge of the anchorage. Then a harbour watch boat came and asked us to re-anchor because a large cargo ship was expected during the night. We followed the request and looked for a new place. When it was already dark, the harbour boat came by again and said that the new spot was not good enough, we should go further into the harbour basin and anchor closer to the marina. Easy to say, but not so easy to do. It was difficult to navigate through the many anchoring boats alone. On top of that, the anchor just wouldn’t dig in. We made several attempts at one place, then drove to a second place. There, too, we had difficulties. We were just about to raise the anchor again when nothing worked: it had got stuck somewhere! The harbour boat was satisfied and said we should just stay stucked and see tomorrow. With only 20 m of chain to avoid bumping into the surrounding boats, we were stuck somewhere. Mathias spent the night on the couch holding anchor watch. To be able to do anything, we had to wait for a day without gusts, because otherwise a manoeuvre inside the densely occupied anchorage would be too dangerous. A Frenchman left next to us. His anchor was also caught. He dived down. He “only” had to push away a big old chain. He looked at our anchor and said it didn’t look good, we were stuck in a big old ship’s anchor lying on the bottom. Hm. Maybe we need a diver to help us.

The next day it was calmer and we took a closer look at the situation. Since we are not good divers, we sat in the dinghy with a GoPro camera and filmed the area. Then I stuck my head in the water from the dinghy. It didn’t look as bad as I had feared. Our anchor was stuck between two rocks, but it wasn’t tangled with the old big anchor. If that had been the case before, it had jerked itself free during the night. Now that we knew what was going on, we were able to get the anchor free by means of a ship’s manoeuvre and dropped it at the edge of the field again.

As a tip: It is not recommended to anchor in the back (dead-end) part of the harbour basin. The bottom consists of stones and old ship’s chains, as well as at least one old ship’s anchor.

Two picture book blog posts are in the works about Faial and Pico……

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