The Azores – a tale of two cities, great people & Festas.

20100628_blogstrip After 2 short weeks at sea, we arrived in the Port of Horta in the Azores refreshed, slightly smelly and very thirsty – that kind of well earned thirst that used to be so well depicted in the old VB (Victoria Bitter) commercials in Australia… 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 – apart from a quiet wine at the half way point, we had abstained from drinking for 2 weeks!

Almost in "race mode" hand steering towards the finish


"Pico" 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 – "…yacht entering Horta harbour this is Horta Radio… you’re advised that you have to anchor overnight and wait for customs to open…"  – 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 – the well spoken voice on the radio explained in perfect English that they understood but could not do anything for us at this point…


The harbour was rammed with boats and I didn’t like the prospect of hand dropping/raising the anchor in a crowded anchorage… 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 windlass… it took us 1.5 hrs to get it sorted (i.e. work out how to "hot wire" it) and we headed back into Harbour… 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 dock… yeehah…


Dmitry after 2 rum and cokes – 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 – 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 Union…. 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.

DSC00155 DSC00145 Squander rafted up three deep, we had to hop over the yachts to get to shore.

We’ve got a little tradition on Squander that we do our best to clean up the boat for any new crew arriving – as much as it no doubt makes it more pleasant for new crew joining it’s also a good excuse to get stuck into a bit of cleaning for  a "reason"… Luis was due to arrive at 13:00 and we had our work cut out for us… 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 hours… we got stuck into it and we all agreed that we did a great job!! hahhah… sorry Luis…!

"Action" getting stuck into a bit of house work

Luis’ 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 Peter’s bar. P1020882 Hey Luis, you speak Portuguese right…Can you ask where’s
National Holiday in Horta – the streets were quiet – where’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 – still no sleep…

And come back we did…. time and time again!

P1020903 The friendly staff of Peter’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 talking…!

Happy 30th Birthday Luis – Tequila all around!

Asleep at the computer… this blog writing takes its toll

A quiet evening with the Crew of "Ocean Lady"
Luis got "Squandered"
An "Action" sized beer

Action doing his post night out workout  
Nahh Gav, you can’t go drinking these tiny beers 

Heading for a night out with The "Circus" crew P1020939
Thomas and Dmitry building Russo-German relations.
"Poor Clowns" – The new Boy band from Squander and Circus

P1020991 Luis befriending the lovely Nikolina from Sweden (sailing from the Caribbean to Sweden with only her Dad!!!) – By the way if you’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

There’s a great tradition in Horta amongst visiting yachts to paint a small mural on the breakwall to commemorate your voyage – it is said that it will bring good luck on the ensuing passage to Europe.

Basecoat, a couple of beers for inspiration and…



We also seemed to spend a lot of time entertaining aboard Squander which was great fun… On occasion pulling out old favourites like "shrimp on the barbie" and fish soup in honour of Luis’ 30th Birthday – Amanda, Patrick and Thomas joined us from "Circus" with Amanda delivering a killer cheese cake with candles and all!!



DSC_0229 DSC_0144
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 bikes…

Servicing a winch – tick!

they came back with 2 scooters for the 4 of us to share… Simon and I looked at each other with slight discomfort as we weren’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 dude… it all somehow worked out and before long we had a scooter each and we’re off terrorizing the streets of Faial.  DSC_0163 DSC_0169

Giving our photographer the bird…  DSC00167
Dmitry was firmly in charge of our destination – VOLCANO!   DSC_0181 DSC_0206 DSC_0214      DSC_0262 DSC_0270  DSC_0300 DSC_0305  P1020924 P1020929 P1020955

Once back safe and sound at the Marina, Thomas, our new German friend from "Circus" suggested that we should all go and watch the World Cup game between Germany and Australia – 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 – a bar full of Germans!! hahahah well we all know the result… we left soon after with our tail between our legs and with one happy Thomas!!   P1020958 P1020960   
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 "Naroly", old acquaintances from Laurel Blue, and so many other great people we met – it was time to move on – we had one last little party and left Horta 4 hours after our planned departure time – partly because one hungover Russian crew member disappeared for 1.5 hrs – it turned out he really felt like tea and cake and was sitting in a cafe the whole time….DSC_0547

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.

DSC_0357 As day broke, a cool little city greeted us…
   DSC_0364 DSC_0368 DSC_0403

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 couldn’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 – empty at 10:30pm -jumping at 1:00am


Some funky moves going down as the band pumped out hit after hit!

DSC_0632   DSC_0420 DSC_0429
1:00 am and the streets are alive with young and old alike.  DSC_0446 DSC_0450

The Brazilian Caipirinha Guy was a local hit.          DSC_0602 DSC_0622
Hmmm… freshly baked chorizo rolls  DSC_0633
Amanda and Patrick – owners of "Circus of Southampton"  – a beautiful Grand Soleil 46 DSC_0407 

Now aside from the parties and religious connotations of the San Joaninas Festival, Terceira and specifically this week is famous for bullfighting – at first we were a bit reluctant to support this ‘sport’ – however at the 11th hour we decided that we had to see it for ourselves in order to form an opinion… and so we headed to the "Praca de Toiros" and were pleasantly surprised by a mix of tradition, bravado, showmanship and outright courage!

DSC_0657  DSC_0664


450 KG of Bull charging at you – quick get the pink cape! DSC_0713 DSC_0717 DSC_0720

This guy was awesome – many a close call on his horse! However our favourite were the bull tacklers – a group of fairly diminutive guys whose job is to tackle the bull head on – see the video below – crazzzzzzzy!!!! DSC_0745 DSC_0747 DSC_0748 DSC_0752 DSC_0754



There were some classic faces in the crowd DSC_0798

Including one satisfied Dmitry with beer and pork rolls in hand! DSC_0804

Speaking of which, this guy seemed to enjoy his pork rolls too! DSC_0807 DSC_0808 DSC_0813 DSC_0827 DSC_0840

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 – Monday.

Before leaving, we were invited to a great little local restaurant for lunch – "Adega de Sao Mateus" – 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 – you were great hosts and we wish we could have stayed longer. 

This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. Miron

    Fantastic ……. a well earnt break, it keeps getting better & we’re loving the blogs!

  2. Strike

    Congrats boys on the crossing – thats awesome. Seems as though Louis has settled in well and you guys are having a great time. Wanna hear more details re a few things so waiting for the sail mail boys !! You know what I mean. Ha ha ha . Love the boy band shot – Action – you look like a homo !! Anyways guys – I’m so proud of you all and wishing I was still there. Anyone taken over my BC award yet – surely someone has – Todd and I will be toasting a beer in the cripple bar in your honour.
    Take care fellas and see ya on the shores of the pacific.

  3. Wojtek

    Well done boys. You have done first big crossing in style. What a great adventure? Gavin, so far everything is working accordingly to your plan, “n’est-ce pa?”. Your lucky star is shining. Take good care and enjoy all Mediterenian atractions.

  4. Stephen & Pauline

    Love the Blog great to see you are having a great time.
    Pauline & I are getting itchy feet and your inspiration is helping us take our first steps for the two of us to take Online for a first short cruise to Pittwater. we are looking at doing the Coral Cruise in March 2011.
    Nothing like your voyage well done continue to enjoy.
    Todd has had his operation and is walking again.
    Pauline & Stephen

  5. filippo

    beaut adventure you fellas are having, why don’t you keep doing it for the rest of your lives? a bit of sailing, a bit of party, meet Nikolina, back to the yacht, a bit of sailing, more land, more Nikolina. BTW has Nikolina defected from her Dad’s yacht ? or has she been kidnapped ? you guys…ocean pirates!

  6. sMarti


    Some STUNNING photo’s in this installment!! Just awesome! Maybe it’s because I’m a land lubber rather than a sea lubber, but you’ve captured some great moments! 😉

    There’s no snow at the moment, so don’t rush home – well if you do go via NZ – they have it all on a 2mtr base!!!

    Awesome travels and get a haircut ;-)!!


  7. Michael

    G’day Captain and Crew (new and old),

    Been meaning to write for ages … Time (as you guys may have wonderfully forgotten) is at a premium … These are my favourite photos so far! It might be because I too could be classified as a land lubber, or simply because I can relate and can’t get enough of the atmosphere captured in these photo’s … Street fiestas are the bomb!!!!!

    Back to preparing for the rest of the week … Give Portugal our regards Captain … and the rest of SW and S Europe for that matter,

    Love from all.


    P.S Gav, Luis looks like he could be Luciana’s brother or my cousin Paulo!!!!!

  8. aaron

    some great work guys outstanding place… great to see you have made it to Europe!! are you still planning on making it to italy? would still love to try and catch up mate.

    cheers mate

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