Ponta Delgada

We should be in Horta on the island of Fayal now but we're not. It's a bit tricky to stick to a time table with Covid restrictions. We've been here in Sao Miguel since July 21. We had a great sail from Santa Maria in 10-17 knots, albeit upwind all the way. We got lifted at the end but still had to throw in a couple of tacks before we could lay the harbor. Sao Miguel is the biggest of the Azores islands and with Ponta Delgada, also has the capital and the biggest population. There are even a couple of "high rise" buildings here right at the harbor, one with 20 stories! But when you walk the dark cobblestone streets, or the cobblestone sidewalks with lovely white inlays, you know it's not New York City!

The streets of Ponta Delgada

The harbor of Ponta Delgada is a busy, working harbor with the yacht marina smack in the middle. So there are various freighters within a stone's throw from Kincsem. For the last 3 days, there's been a tanker which obviously delivers fuel to the island and the hum of its generator has been in the air day and night. There's only one smallish hose emptying it out but the tanker is rising in the water every hour .....

A S&S Swan 53 from circa 1972; a circa 1973 Swan 65, long my dream boat, is alongside on the dock on the right side of the picture. She is named Evrika and looks like new.

The port and marina

We're parked here right next to Perfect Day, an Amel 50, one of the new Amel models. They are from La Rochelle and arrived here from the Bahamas via Bermuda several months ago. They're now wondering where next to go with Covid restrictions still in place, which prevented them from seeing the USA and Canada. Yes, this is the place where the "real" cruisers are!

It was difficult in Santa Maria to rent a car but Rainer's persistence paid off when he scored one for us for the price of Euro 100 per day. In 3 years in the Med, we never paid more than E40 per day but after 1 lost season, rental cars are scarce. Here, in Sao Miguel things are worse. The response to the first 10 calls was uniformly: all booked for the next two weeks! But again, Rainer scored, this time for Euro 150 per day plus 20 Euros for disturbing the car rental's owner during the off hours! "Freundenhauspreise" was Rainer's commentary! No matter what, onward!

We made good use of the rental car again, knocking off many of the "must see" attractions on the island. But this is a different island from Santa Maria. Here's where the cruise ships go although none are here now. The hikes are all wide open paths, many paved with cobblestone and framed by low walls. So there was definitely less of a sense of discovery although the scenery was often breathtaking. The one attempt at discovery ended up in a heavily overgrown path which made us give up.

Driving in the interior of the island

Hydrengias everywhere

Notice the small figurines of Saints on the lava rock to the left?

Lighthouse on the South Coast of the island of Sao Miguel

The blue lagoon

The green lagoon

Local church

Why are we not in Horta, the place where transatlantic sailors paint their private signals (flags) on the harbor walls and while not working on that painting, hang out at Peter's CafÁ© Sport? Well, they just instituted new rules in Horta requiring all arrivals from Sao Miguel to be tested and go into quarantine until negative results are available. We decided that we didn't really want to risk sitting on the boat for another couple of days so we are skipping Horta. Rainer and Almut changed their flights back and left yesterday from here. JM and Mora are flying in from Horta tomorrow where they stayed for a few days. No tests required for people coming from Horta as there are very few active cases there. So we'll be ready to leave for La Rochelle on Wednesday or Thursday.

This is ONE tree!

The locals cum scrappy dog having a chat

The steadfast crew which got Kincsem to the Azores from Madeira


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