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Saturday, October 1, 2011

Sail from Terceira to Ponta Delgada 30 September 2011

Yes, after 2 months enjoying relaxing in Praia da Vitoria on the island of Terceira, we have finally left. When we arrive in Praia, our intention was to stay only one week. However, we found it so pleasant - very friendly fellow yachties, local people, good hiking, swimming from the marina most days, picturesque old fiesta loving town - that we gradually gave up the idea of revisiting the other islands and just stayed where we were.

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
 Close up of the almost 300 stone steps which daily exercised our leg muscles and cardio
 At midnight on Thursday 29 September we raised anchor and hoisted the mainsail then motored in an almost dead calm under a clear moonless but brilliant starlit sky out of the bay heading 134 degrees, ie SE towards Sao Miguel, 90 Nautical Miles away. Amazingly two freighters decided to leave within minutes of our passage through the gap in the breakwaters and accompanied us for a while only a few hundred meters to port.

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
 After a good but slow and rolly trip, often with painfully flogging sails, we moored next to our friends Keith and Collete on S/V Alice Gull at Ponta Delgada marina at 1930 hrs on Friday 30 September after a trip of 90 Nmiles.
 We look forward to meeting up again with all our sailing friends who live on Sao Miguel.

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