A Public Berth! No, just a load of bull.

GOPR5125So the wind died and we were just rolling and slamming down the coast of Pico with no wind forecast for four days. The boat didn’t want to go on. So we pointed the nose toward Velas on Sao Jorge and suddenly up went the speed to 5.5kn, all was good, and we closed the island.

Nearing the port we could see lots of small craft the far side of the breakwater, There seemed to be about 200 people lining the quay. That is until we rounded the corner and saw double that number overlooking the marina.

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We edged bows into the marina. The pilot said that it was tight and that everyone inside was always ready to warp you round into a berth. So we edged into the harbour past the many small boats joggling away on the water for a front seat at the bullfight. With the nose inside the walls the harbour master said this boat is leaving so you can tie to the main dock. OK we reversed out, back alongside the small boats, did a 180 deg turn nearly hoovering up a guy snorkelling off his drifting boat, and started to back in.

It looked like a classic berthing disaster might unfold sucking in several local boats, getting stuck inside the harbour, and with an audience of a couple of hundred you knew something big was going to happen. It’s the lore of sailing. But Aditi slipped slowly back and alongside without bumping a fender and the crowd could carry on as they were. What were they doing? Bullfighting on the quayside – a rocket goes off everytime a new bull arrives and off they go. In this case the bulls chase around the arena for about 20 minutes and the height of the game is when the bull forces people off the quayside and into the sea. The matadores are armed with umbrellas. Then they get loaded up in their cattle truck and taken home again. We are told that occasionally the bull ends up in the sea but we have no idea how it is then recovered.

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