On Thursday morning we started for the next island – Terceira. With a good easterly F4-5 wind we made good progress. By the evening we could see the lights of the harbour in Ponta Delgada on the island of Sao Miguel. The next morning the wind calmed down so that we had to motor-sail in the end. Around 1400 we could see the outlines of the island Terceira.

Super sunshine received us and it showed a wonderful picture of the city Angra do Heroismo the capital of the island.

The city was completely destroyed by a major earthquake in 1980 and subsequently completely rebuilt. It was declared a World Heritage Site in 1983.

It is beautiful and the small alleys invite you to take a stroll. Everywhere there are the mosaics in the pavements that the Azores are well known for.

A beautiful park in the center of the city is a real oasis of relaxation. Of course we soon found a nice coffee shop where we had our breakfast every morning. And all the small delicious cakes and pastries that the Portuguese prepare so wonderfully tempted me to try them again and again.

Throughout the island, one drives through lush mixed forests consisting of eucalyptus, juniper and laurel. The vegetation is a dream and we did some great hiking trips here and even found a splendid wild camping spot. We returned the next day with our camping gear and camped there for a night before a storm hit the next day. We had an absolute super spot and during the night we heard again the Cories Shearwater so close to us that I thought they were flying into the tent.

Here I have the feeling the time stops and it is only the moment that is important.

In the morning, just before the approaching storm, we managed to take down the tent and pack the car. Back in the marina, the previously uncomfortable swell from the waves was increasing and “Maya” was surging back and forth. We spent hours trying to moor our boat better with more ropes and rubber “dampers”.

The next day, a super beautiful coastal walk led us past the bays of Agualva and saw in several places the basalt columns that push vertically up from the Atlantic. In between the walk passes pasture fences and along small stone walls. You could also think you are in Cornwall; A very enchanting landscape.

Another walk led us through fields, past lakes and then up into a rough lava flow. It was quite arduous and at one point we completely lost the poorly marked path. Google Maps provided a vague clue and eventually we ended up back on the right track. Incidentally, Google Maps doesn’t really cover the Azores; many times we were just walking through blank space on Google!

We also made two cave tours were also very interesting. Unbelievable that a lava flow can produce such large caves, one even had a fresh water lake inside. These are the Grutas do Natal and Grutas do Algar. Grutas do Natal is so named as they do a Christmas service within the cave.

After the visit to the Grutas do Algar we found an area with fumaroles; these are steaming fractures in the rocks where rain and groundwater have met with the hot rocks in the earths’ crust. For John this is a “must see” thing. The weather wasn’t so good, but the fumaroles were interesting.

Another trip took us to the other big port town of Praia da Vitoria. It is much smaller and you are quickly through the town. The marina there seems better protected from the swell as does the anchorage outside. It was also full!

Overall, we liked the island of Terceira, with its varied and changing flora, most of all. And of course the unique main city Angra do Heroismo with its many lovely places to linger with a Galao (Portugese coffee) or a cool glass of white wine.

It became a daily ritual to check the website “windy.com” for the best time window or wind window for the next sailing trip to Sao Jorge Island.

Tuesday seemed to be optimal from the weather window with SE F4-F5 out of the east because the further days were predicted with storm winds – no fun at all!

In the morning at 0600 our nice French neighbours helped us to get out of our narrow parking space. The sky was gray and very cloudy. Unfortunately, the wind direction had changed so that the wind now came from SSE with F6 and we had to change our plan at short notice.

We sailed around the north side of Sao Jorge and then had to sail (and motor) around the end (Ponta das Rosais) to get to the west side where the port of Las Velas is located. The closer we came to the headland, the stronger the wind became with SW F7-F8 and 2.5m high waves and the wind came almost from the front. Sailing was not possible, so we had to motor with just mainsail up for stability.

The waves crashed in such a way over the boat and “Maya” groaned and shook with each wave. It must be similar in Patagonia with the waves and the spray (actually a secret goal for us). However, after this experience we are no longer quite so sure about being so adventurous.

After 12 hours we reached the harbor of Las Velas and found that the marina was completely full. Fortunately there was still space in the anchorage in front of the marina wall so we could anchor there.

Happy to be there we fell tired early into our bunk.

A familiar sound of the hundreds of Cories Shearwaters accompanied us to sleep.

To top it all off I had to visit a dentist who replaced a lost filling of one of my teeth. For a very reasonable 60€ I received an X-ray, anesthesia and filling.

Categories: Sailing Blog 2021