20 days after leaving Marsh Harbor in the Bahamas, we made land fall in Horta, Azores!
What a magnificent welcome we received from our dear pals at S/V Gerty! It was nothing short of amazing! They waited for our arrival in the middle of the night, and they come on board Oroboro with a bottle of champagne and 2 SIM cards!
The Azores - an archipelago made of 9 islands - have always been on our bucket list, and we're ecstatic to be exploring 4 of them:
We've seen a lot during our voyages, but the Azores have left us speechless. These islands are pure, unspoiled gems.
Unlike other tourist hotspots, the Azores have yet to be hit by mass tourism, and we hope it stays that way! Here, you won't find towering skyscrapers, condos or gated communities. Instead, the people are authentic and kind-hearted. Most visitors here come by sailboat, after an arduous ocean journey.
I know it sounds crazy, but my buddy Philippe always chuckles when I say that Ilha do Faial feels like Switzerland smack dab in the middle of the Atlantic. But it's true! The island is exceptionally tidy - there isn't a scrap of rubbish to be found. The cows are delighted, and the cheese (and wine) are simply incredible. The locals are lovely, and the scenery is simply breathtaking!
Our very first task was to paint the Oroboro mural - a sailor's custom to get divine protection throughout their journey. 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 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.