We’ve been watching weather forecasts for over a week now, seeing the current patterns of the high and low pressure systems. The ‘normal’ picture at the moment should be a big high pressure system centred over the Azores, appropriately named ‘The Azores high’ with winds circulating around the centre in a clockwise direction. The middle of a high has little or no wind but it strengthens as you head out of the centre. This picture has been abit of a mess this year, and far from reliable – the forecast we are seeing now is a week or so of this only that the centre of the high is further North than usual. So we plan to leave tomorrow morning in Easterly winds running along the bottom of the high, then the winds will lessen as we approach the centre, we hope there will be enough the creep on and to pick up the Westerlies running across the top of the high…
About 1000 miles to Ireland so maybe 2 weeks, but could be longer if we get stuck in areas of no wind…
Its been just a tad over 2 months in the Azores, Sister Tamsin arrived by plane on day 1 in Horta, Faial where we spent a couple of weeks. Djanna left us to fly home and we found Britt a lovely dutch 19 year old who after a couple of beers thought it a good idea to join us.
A couple more weeks in the beautiful Sao Jorge alongside the wall, before a 36hr sail to the most Sou’eastern Island of Santa Maria. Here was the only travelift in the Azores able to lift our 30tons, so we spent 11 days in the yard, scrubbing, scraping, sanding, sewing, and finally painting and varnishing. It was a new sparkling Lilly that was lowered gently into the cool Azorean waters, and a much slipperier, nimble ship that took us North to Ponta Delgada on Sao Miguel a few days later, with additional crew Laurie, an old friend of Nicks, for whom this sailing life is a new experience.
Its been interesting to get a clearer picture of this Portuguese group of islands stuck out in the middle of the Atlantic, they are very beautiful, the volcanic geology, giving dramatic coastlines, towering peaks, and a varied topography. Rich soils underlie rolling hills, lush woodlands full of variety, from tree ferns, to conifers to cactus often with a web of stone walls throughout. The People have been friendly and welcoming, hitching is easy, its safe. This culture seems a little threatened in Sao Miguel which has beautiful lake and mountain scenery but also a city and a much denser population, with which comes a host of social issues of course. We met a lot of folk who had migrated to Canada and the USA soon after the war, made lives there and were now returning on holiday. There is certainly more wealth and investment into these islands than the mainland, I’d say the people are traditional, conventional, not sure how many participants for the revolution we’ll find here.
We have met a host of other great sailors in the Azores, made some new friends amongst them and had some great discussions – something we had missed a little previously.
So next stop Ireland and/or Wales, See you soon.