20 days after leaving Marsh Harbor in the Bahamas, we made land fall in Horta, Azores!
And what a warm welcome we received by our friends on S/V Gerty! You can’t beat that.
The Azores are an archipelago made of 9 islands. We will be visiting 4 of them:
In all our seafaring, we have never seen islands so unspoiled like the Azores. The mass tourism has not arrived here yet, and we hope it will never do.
You will not see high rise hotels, condos or gated communities. People are still genuine and nice. The vast majority of visitors here arrive by sailboat, after a long and hard ocean crossing.
My friend Philippe laughs at me when I say this, but Ilha do Faial seems to me to be like a little Switzerland in the middle of the Atlantic. The island is extremely clean, you will not find any trash on the street. You’ll see happy cows everywhere. The cheese (and the wine) are fantastic. People are kind. And the nature is breath taking.
Our first task was to paint the Oroboro mural. It’s a tradition for sailor to paint a mural around the harbor in order to get divine protection during the rest of their voyage.
So Yuka got at it:
The final result was fantastic:
Once the sacred mission was accomplished, we visited the legendary Peter Cafe Sport, a real institution for Ocean Crossing Sailors who make it this far:
I’m not a Jin person, but Peter’s Jin do Mar is just fantastic. We still have a bottle on board Oroboro.
Next mission was to explore the island, so we went for a very long hike:
The roads of Faial are like perfect for a motorcycle ride. I wish I had my Ducati… Zero traffic, no pot holes, it’s a real race track. They should move the Isla of Man Tourist Trophy here:
All of this kicking and driving grew an appetite, so here we are buying their wonderful cheese:
The next island, Ilha do Pico, is also known as the Black Island for its black volcanic soils, which nourish its vineyards that return a fabulous and unique wine: The Verdelho.
It’s the tallest volcano in the mid Atlantic ridge:
The landscape is characterized by an extensive network of long, spaced apart black basalt stone walls. These walls were erected to protect the vines from the wind and the salty sea spray:
We stocked the boat with these incredible wines:
Viticulture was introduced in the Azores by the Franciscan friars in the 15th century.
Pico is the main wine producing island and because of the soil and climate the vineyards are tiny plots (2 to 6 bush of vines per square) and the yield is very low.
These volcanic wines produced by Antonio Maçanita are blends of indigenous varieties and fully incorporate the salt, wind and volcanic character of this wind swept landscape. Not sure if you can find this wine anywhere else, but if you do, give it a try!
The villages and the coast are insanely beautiful:
It was a whaling village, and the old whaling factory is now a very interesting museum:
Sao Jorge is spectacular, and by accident we run into a small surfing enclave
The landscape is unique, and here they make a really nice cheese.
Ponta Delgada was our last stop before heading out at sea again. The town is very nice, and the coast is really beautiful.