However, the weather is now certainly showing signs of the approaching autumn/ winter , with more frequent strong southerly winds, more rain and slightly cooler air - all in all time to move south.
The grib files showed that early Friday morning, 30 September 2011 would be a good time to leave.
So at 1500hrs on Thursday 29 September, we reluctantly said farewell to our friends and motored out of the marina and anchored in the bay on the otherside of the marina breakwater.
View of the town and marina breakwater from the anchorage with menacing cloudbank:
View of hill with statue of the Virgin Mary - our daily before breakfast hike for the previous two months
The light NWerly wind gradually increased as we left the island behind us, reaching force 4 at 00300hrs. So we turned off the motor and sailed downwind under just the mainsail. At 0645hrs, daybreak, we gybed to avoid the Banco D Joao de Castro, a patch of rocks just 12 meters under the water and unfurled and poled out the Genny.
First sight of Sao Miguel