After 2 short weeks at sea, we arrived in the Port of Horta in the Azores refreshed, slightly smelly and very thirsty â€“ that kind of well earned thirst that used to be so well depicted in the old VB (Victoria Bitter) commercials in Australiaâ€¦ you know the ones.
You can get it diggin’,
You can get it riggin’,
Or straining ’till you thought you’d burst.
You’ve sure got a thirst….
A hard-earned thirst needs a big cold beer, and the best cold beer is Vic – Victoria Bitter.
You can get it drivin’,
You can get it strivin’,
You can get it any old how…
Matter of fact, I’ve got it now
Leaving our Dolphin friends behind, we first sighted land at around 7pm and by midnight we were coastal sailing, inhaling the sweet smells of land and looking forward to our first rum and coke â€“ apart from a quiet wine at the half way point, we had abstained from drinking for 2 weeks!
Almost in â€œrace modeâ€ hand steering towards the finish
â€œPicoâ€ greeting us from the neighbouring island
Having motored into the Harbour at around 3:00am in the hope of quietly tying up till the morning, we were soon interrupted by a voice on Channel 16 on the VHF â€“ â€œâ€¦yacht entering Horta harbour this is Horta Radioâ€¦ youâ€™re advised that you have to anchor overnight and wait for customs to openâ€¦â€ – I politely explained that we were having problems with our anchor windlass, we were tired (read thirsty) and we were hoping to tie up somewhere â€“ the well spoken voice on the radio explained in perfect English that they understood but could not do anything for us at this pointâ€¦
The harbour was rammed with boats and I didnâ€™t like the prospect of hand dropping/raising the anchor in a crowded anchorageâ€¦ so we reluctantly turned around and headed back to deep water, with Dmitry on the helm and Simon and I with our troubleshooting hats on, multimeter in hand (thanks Todd for the present!) focused on fixing the windlassâ€¦ it took us 1.5 hrs to get it sorted (i.e. work out how to â€œhot wireâ€ it) and we headed back into Harbourâ€¦ no sooner had we got within earshot of the anchorage that the friendly voice was back on the Radio advising us that we had clearance to tie up at the commercial shipping dockâ€¦ yeehahâ€¦
Dmitry after 2 rum and cokes â€“ as a container ship ties up in front of us
And one behind us too.
We watched the sun rise over Horta and realised that if nothing else, we would be in some good company â€“ the little harbour and Marina was a temporary home to at least 50-60 yachts from all around the world. Most of them making the pilgrimage from the Caribbean back to Europe.
By 8:00am I had consumed my fair share of Rum and decided to leave Dmitry and Simon to enjoy the morning, whilst I lined up to be one of the first in the Marina office to check in, go through customs and get the necessary clearances into the European Unionâ€¦. It was all sorted by 10:00am and we were soon rafting up in our new home for the next week. The Marina was so crowded that yachts were rafted up 3,4 and 5 deep.
Squander rafted up three deep, we had to hop over the yachts to get to shore.
Weâ€™ve got a little tradition on Squander that we do our best to clean up the boat for any new crew arriving â€“ as much as it no doubt makes it more pleasant for new crew joining itâ€™s also a good excuse to get stuck into a bit of cleaning for a â€œreasonâ€â€¦ Luis was due to arrive at 13:00 and we had our work cut out for usâ€¦ no sleep since midnight, a few rums under our belts and 2 weeks of Atlantic crossing mess to cover up, ahmmm I mean clean up in under 3 hoursâ€¦ we got stuck into it and we all agreed that we did a great job!! hahhahâ€¦ sorry Luisâ€¦!
â€œActionâ€ getting stuck into a bit of house work
Luisâ€™ first moments on Squander
Having met each other and showed Luis our Video of the Atlantic crossing, tested out a few tall stories on him and consumed more rum, we all agreed it was time to find the infamous Peterâ€™s bar. Hey Luis, you speak Portuguese rightâ€¦Can you ask whereâ€™s
National Holiday in Horta â€“ the streets were quiet â€“ whereâ€™s this Bar?
Finally found what we were looking for.
Having had a couple of beers we decided to head back to the boat, have some food, shower up and come back later â€“ still no sleepâ€¦
And come back we didâ€¦. time and time again!
The friendly staff of Peterâ€™s bar.
It can be said that we had many a great night there, with new and old friends alike. It could be said that there were some taxing times with the Skipper of a boat that has the letter Q in its name falling asleep at the Bar, matter of fact many things could be said but this is a family blog and we prefer to not say certain things, however the following pictures should do enough talkingâ€¦!
Happy 30th Birthday Luis â€“ Tequila all around!
Asleep at the computerâ€¦ this blog writing takes its toll
A quiet evening with the Crew of â€œOcean Ladyâ€
Luis got â€œSquanderedâ€
An â€œActionâ€ sized beer
Action doing his post night out workout
Nahh Gav, you canâ€™t go drinking these tiny beers
Heading for a night out with The â€œCircusâ€ crew
Thomas and Dmitry building Russo-German relations.
â€œPoor Clownsâ€ â€“ The new Boy band from Squander and Circus
Luis befriending the lovely Nikolina from Sweden (sailing from the Caribbean to Sweden with only her Dad!!!) â€“ By the way if youâ€™re reading this the Captain knows about your Yaegermeister tricks!!
Parties aside, we had a lot of fun exploring the island of Faial, fixing a few bits and bobs on Squander and generally enjoying ourselves outside the boundaries of bars.
The murals with Pico Volcano in the distance
Thereâ€™s a great tradition in Horta amongst visiting yachts to paint a small mural on the breakwall to commemorate your voyage â€“ it is said that it will bring good luck on the ensuing passage to Europe.
Basecoat, a couple of beers for inspiration andâ€¦
We also seemed to spend a lot of time entertaining aboard Squander which was great funâ€¦ On occasion pulling out old favourites like â€œshrimp on the barbieâ€ and fish soup in honour of Luisâ€™ 30th Birthday â€“ Amanda, Patrick and Thomas joined us from â€œCircusâ€ with Amanda delivering a killer cheese cake with candles and all!!
Night view from Squander
Once round 1 of parties was complete and we had pumped through many of the jobs that needed doing, Luis and Dmitry suggested we hire motor bikesâ€¦
Servicing a winch â€“ tick!
they came back with 2 scooters for the 4 of us to shareâ€¦ Simon and I looked at each other with slight discomfort as we werenâ€™t sure how to explain that in Australia it would be fairly uncommon for us to ride a small scooter whilst holding on tight to another dudeâ€¦ it all somehow worked out and before long we had a scooter each and weâ€™re off terrorizing the streets of Faial.
Giving our photographer the birdâ€¦
Dmitry was firmly in charge of our destination â€“ VOLCANO!
Once back safe and sound at the Marina, Thomas, our new German friend from â€œCircusâ€ suggested that we should all go and watch the World Cup game between Germany and Australia â€“ still remembering the glory days of the 2006 World cup (Bring back GUS!!!) we proceeded to dress up Dimitry as our team mascot and head in to the slaughterhouse â€“ a bar full of Germans!! hahahah well we all know the resultâ€¦ we left soon after with our tail between our legs and with one happy Thomas!!
And so it was after sightseeing and partying with people from all around the world – Shout outs to the legendary Norwegian dudes, Diego and Nina from Italy and Switzerland, Assa from New York, Grant from OZ, Charlie and crew from â€œNarolyâ€, old acquaintances from Laurel Blue, and so many other great people we met â€“ it was time to move on â€“ we had one last little party and left Horta 4 hours after our planned departure time â€“ partly because one hungover Russian crew member disappeared for 1.5 hrs â€“ it turned out he really felt like tea and cake and was sitting in a cafe the whole timeâ€¦.
And so once all were onboard again, we cast off from Horta and set sail for the island of Terceira happy and excited to be heading for the week long San Joaninas Festival that was due to start in 2 days time.
We sailed the 100 or so Nautical Miles, giving Luis a taste of Squander actually sailing as well as giving everyone a chance to get some much needed rest.
We arrived in the Port of Angra do Heroismo late in the evening and decided to anchor out until daybreak.
As day broke, a cool little city greeted usâ€¦
We proceeded to check into the Marina, and after being told that it was full, we managed to snag a spot in the outside berths that proved to be just fine for us. This was to be our last stop before the final 900 Nautical miles sailing to Portugal so we were keen on making it a fun stop.
The town was in full swing and we couldnâ€™t believe our luck as we joined the opening parade in the streets, partying till the early hours of the morning.
The locals spared no expense in dressing up the town, with lights, music in the streets, various stages, food stalls and a great carnival vibe that lasted for a week.
The Terceira Robocop angels.
One of the many Tapas stands that we visited over the 4 or so days there.
One of the stages right near the marina â€“ empty at 10:30pm â€“jumping at 1:00am
Some funky moves going down as the band pumped out hit after hit!
1:00 am and the streets are alive with young and old alike.
The Brazilian Caipirinha Guy was a local hit.
Hmmmâ€¦ freshly baked chorizo rolls
Amanda and Patrick â€“ owners of â€œCircus of Southamptonâ€ – a beautiful Grand Soleil 46
Now aside from the parties and religious connotations of the San Joaninas Festival, Terceira and specifically this week is famous for bullfighting â€“ at first we were a bit reluctant to support this â€˜sportâ€™ â€“ however at the 11th hour we decided that we had to see it for ourselves in order to form an opinionâ€¦ and so we headed to the â€œPraca de Toirosâ€ and were pleasantly surprised by a mix of tradition, bravado, showmanship and outright courage!
450 KG of Bull charging at you â€“ quick get the pink cape!
This guy was awesome â€“ many a close call on his horse! However our favourite were the bull tacklers â€“ a group of fairly diminutive guys whose job is to tackle the bull head on â€“ see the video below â€“ crazzzzzzzy!!!!
There were some classic faces in the crowd
Including one satisfied Dmitry with beer and pork rolls in hand!
Speaking of which, this guy seemed to enjoy his pork rolls too!
We came back from the bull fight very impressed and decided to head out for one last dinner in town. The local girls that we had met were encouraging us to stay till Wednesday when the BIG party was on, but a mix of one too many hangovers as well as a weather prediction that suggested we needed to go now or not for another five days meant that we made snap decision to leave the next day â€“ Monday.
Before leaving, we were invited to a great little local restaurant for lunch â€“ â€œAdega de Sao Mateusâ€ – it was fantastic. Sampling local delicacies like Cracas, Boca Negra, Cherna, Garoupa and Lapas amongst a host of great freshly caught seafood, . Thanks Patricia & Barbara â€“ you were great hosts and we wish we could have stayed longer.