On the 20th of June, a few days after our return from the great wedding in Greece, we hoisted our sails and headed to Santa Maria. Why? We had decided to buy a Windpilot, a German-made wind vane from the lovely Spanish couple we met while on the island. And so we did. This time around we met even more people, French, English, Dutch, Irish, you name it! We also bought our new favorite equipment for the boat, which in its base, is an autopilot without the use of electricity- what could be better?
Well, something was better. Not just better, but great! Returning from Greece, Jelle and I discovered that I was pregnant! We are getting a new crew member!
The last day of June and after having installed our new Windpilot and said our goodbyes to our new friends, we set course to Faial, and its famous capital, Horta! The wind was very light, around 6 to 7 knots, so we hoisted the spinnaker and we picked up speed quickly, around 4 knots! The best part was a group of dolphins, who jumped around us, racing Libra.
The trip would be great if only I didn’t feel extremely seasick the entire time! We continued with the spinnaker during the night sail too, Jelle doing all the hard work while I was laying inside. Due to bad luck, a gust of strong wind suddenly blew and ripped our spinnaker apart, finding us both at the bow, trying to collect the sail before it would go under the boat and pulling it all in the cockpit. The rest of the trip continued without any problems, except me feeling extremely nauseous. We arrived at Horta on 1st July afternoon, reaching our milestone of 5000 miles!!!!
Horta is the busiest port in the Azores, with more than 40 arrivals a day during the busy summer season! The marina is covered with paintings made by sailors from all over the world, as it is the meeting point for all boats coming or going to the Caribbean or Europe. We strolled around the city and had drinks at the legendary ‘Peter’s Sports Café’, where we also exchanged our Helius flag for Peter’s one!
On the 3rd July, we decided to stretch our legs and hike around Monte Guia, a natural bay created by volcanic eruptions and offering beautiful views over Faial, the mountain in the Pico island, and the Horta marina. The next days we visited the “Porto Prim Whaling Museum”, an interesting museum featuring a whaling factory closed in 1974, and the “Scrimshaw Museum”, an impressive collection of sculptured whale teeth and bones!
One night we visited the famous “Genuino” restaurant, whose owner is the first Portuguese sailor to circumnavigate the world alone, twice! The atmosphere was nautical, the food delicious, and the best part? We heard traditional Fado music!
On the 6th of the month, we sailed towards Sao Jorge, and put our new Windpilot to the test, which it passed with flying colors!
Velas, the port of the Sao Jorge island, is, without doubt, the most beautiful marina in the Azores. It is tucked between a cliff and two piers, providing excellent views over the other islands. One of the highlights during our stay there was a bull race, where a bull was released on the pier and locals were teasing him and then jumped in the water. We could see the whole spectacle from our boat!
We also rented a Honda 125cc scooter and explored the whole island, and what a beauty it was! Tops with lighthouse and views over the Atlantic, a waterfall in Cruzal, a natural arch in Ribeira da Areia, the forest parks in Silveira and Sete Fontes, and the whale lookout in Ponta dos Rosais. We even visited a cheese factory, as the Sao Jorge is the most known one in the Azores, and super tasty!
On the 13th July we arrived at our new destination, Angra do Heroismo, Terceira. Although the wind was shifty, we had a nice sailing trip and saw a pack of pilot whales!
Angra do Heroismo is probably the nicest capital in the Azores, with colorful stores and restaurants, cute streets and friendly people. After a few days, we decided to leave the marina and threw anchor at Praia do Vitoria, a bay in the east side of the island. The anchorage was the best anchorage in the Azores, with good holding over sand and protection from swell. We survived a storm in this anchorage, with more than 40 knots of wind!
Despite the small distances and the calm seas, the sailing did not agree with the pregnancy. As I felt seasick on every sailing trip, Jelle and I decided that I would fly back and Jelle’s dad would fly to Terceira and help him sail back Libra to Holland. Exciting times!!!