Azores

The boat that overtook us on our last night was a 1984 Moody looks like a 425 and boy did those guys get some performance from it! We later started closing on them but we were reaching 10kn speeds and closing the island too fast in the dark so we reefed to main only and 6-7kn. Gradually Faial emerged from the dawn and we ran down the south coast. The sea roughed up as closed the channel between Faial and Pico. With the island backlit by the rising sun the channel itself was a little obscure.

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We arrived opposite the harbour entrance at about 6am and anchored at the back of the fleet. As the marina opened and yachts called in it was clear that both the marina and anchorage were at capacity. No room! No room! We knew there was no way we were getting to shore in a hurry so we didn’t call in to announce our arrival. I went to sleep at anchor at around 10am, I guess, after our bacon, eggs and beans. A couple of hours later we got an unexpected VHF call. Uh oh, I thought, I am anchored in the wrong place. But the man on the radio said do you want to come into the marina? That was a surprise; they must have picked me up on AIS? So they sent an angel in a yellow rib who knocked on the hull. ‘Come with me I want to show you the place we have for you in the marina!’ Fantastic. So off we went to the southern most part of the harbour where he told a couple of boats to move up and create a space. ‘There you are, and there is Peter’s Cafe just above you’. Now that’s service!

On the way back to the boat a tug had pulled in a large cat, both engines failed due to dirty Carib fuel, and pushed it against the quay – just as well his tender had 115hp outboard!

Keen to hit the shore we were ready to move in no time. The sky, already grey, went black. The wind began to howl and the rain started. Ah this is the kind of Europe we know so well. In the downpour we edged into the berth on the quayside (nothing beats stepping onto land after a couple of weeks at sea), we whipped round to the office for their ultra slick clearing in, and with the ship a stone’s throw from Peters we dived in to the sailors bar. You can guess the rest – actually the kitchen was closed – but the place erupted when ARC yacht Beagle recognised us. We had a long chat. The cold draught Super Bock slipped down, then the Pico red wine (spicy), then the port and cheese, and after much chatter about the journey, our new home, our new surroundings, then I woke up roughly where I had started 24 hours before not rocking, not rolling, not being thrown around with the autopilot going whirr whirrr around my head!

On arrival we had tied to the quay not thinking for a moment about tide. Now we are several feet down and somehow the ropes are OK – phew!


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