Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Good bye, Sao Miguel, good bye Ponta Delgada

Wednesday, May 14 11.00 39’04N 23’08W Distance to Portimao 706 miles

Good bye, Sao Miguel, good bye Ponta Delgada. Tuesday May 13, at 10:35 42 left the marina for the remaining part of the passage: next and last waypoint to be Portimao at a distance of 792 miles.     
All of us enjoyed the island: very friendly cheese and delicious people smiling all the time. Even the police and customs officers were cheerful and welcoming, so very different from the authorities in the Caribbean.
Sao Miguel is much larger than Faial, has a population of more than 150.000 and offers a  great variety of both cultural and sporting activities. Other than Horta, being the entry port for sailing vessels from the West, Ponta Delgada attracts both cruise vessels and has direct flights to, for instance, Boston. (As a surprise one of our short term neighbours was “Norwegian Star” from NCL, the temporary home for 3.000/4.000 passengers). Leaving the city [no sign of mass tourism] there are volcano craters (famous Laguna Verde and Laguna Azul), fabulous mountain formations, lots of trees and flowers. Noam and Dalit explored the island on an overnight motorbike tour, found a beautiful hotel for the night, and did over 200 kms on everything from highways to vertiginous dirt roads round the craters. Michael, Alex and Hans rented a car, did some sightseeing including said dirt roads and craters – at one point the only way to get up was no passengers and the car roaring away in reverse - and visited Batalha Golf Club twice: Sunday afternoon for the driving range only, and Monday to play 18 holes (Course C and A). Michael invested in a pair of new shoes - while our Scotsman played in Clarks ...was it the shoes that carried Michael to victory?               
We left the port on engines as wind conditions were not the best: the expected easterly winds would require lot of tacking: not favourable for 42.  A lack of dolphins for our first day, forgot to tell them we were leaving, but a spectacular show of leaping dolphins greeted Dalit and Alex at first light. The skipper has a line out but since we’re making good progress, albeit not entirely in the optimum direction at around 10 – 11 knots, we’re not, Noam excepted, too optimistic on the fresh sashimi front. The speed made for a noisy night. Michael got up around 5.30 to see Dalit sailing at about 12 knots and found that, after 8 years, she was the first person to discover how to use the Tacktick close hauled indicator. It’s either obvious to a scientist, or to female intuition, or she read the instructions. So useful to have a multitasking chef aboard although a little galling for male amour propre. 

There is a new betting pool open for our arrival time to Portimao. it's anonymous this time. we all wrote it in notes and the captain stashed it in the safe.  you can try and guess when we arrive too, send your guesses to

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