Santa Maria, our first island in the Azores

We arrived here in Vila do Porto harbor at 1 am in the morning local time on the 18th. The last two days from Madeira were again a mixture of motoring and light air sailing. Our "cruising plan" calls for putting on the engine when we're going less than 4 knots over the ground. On a close reach or upwind Kincsem will not go less than 4 knots unless the wind is less than 5-6 knots. So we're trying hard to avoid using the engine. We had the Code Zero up a little bit, then back to the genoa. Always tweaking!

We had seen on the weather maps the occluded front move slowly towards us from the Azores and in the morning of the 17th, we were anticipating the 120 degree wind shift that was supposed to come with it. And yes, it all happened as forecast in the gribs and we were now upwind for the last 50 miles to Santa Maria. Unfortunately, the wind also died as forecast so we were under engine again when we saw land. Docking in the well lit harbor was a breeze and after the obligatory round of arrival beers, we could catch up on some sleep. We had covered 530 miles in 3 days, 7 ½ hours, an average of 6.6 knots.

At 8 am in the morning, however, the rest was over as the marina staff made us move Kincsem to the quarantine dock. The Azores recognize the EU vaccination certificate of Rainer and Almut, but do not recognize my and Kerry's US vaccinations. So for the two of us, we needed to get tested and remain in quarantine on the boat until negative test results were available. Consequently, we lost two full days as it took until this morning for the results to come out. Luckily, Rainer and Almut were free to explore and got the shopping done while Kerry and I were lazy-ing on the boat!

Today we explored the island together and got in a strenuous hike around the highest peak on the island, fittingly called Pico Alto! Navigation is crucial here on land as well as the map only included the correct path, not the many paths which could lead one astray. Of course, we got lost a few times which made the hike more interesting, yet. All was good, however, when we were decompressing, beers in hand, at a lovely beach bar afterwards.

The view from Pico Alto

In Sao Lourenco on the East side of the island

Fort de Bras high above the harbor in Vila do Porto

Fatima church

Vila do Porto


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