We arrived in Horta on the Azores safe and sound on the 27th of June after 24 days at sea. The second part of our trip back from the Caribbean was definitely more interesting weather-wise. Every day we would look at the weather files and find a whole new picture. I guess the biggest surprise was when the Azores High decided to establish itself in a way that would only send us strong winds on the nose for a longer period of time. That’s when we decided to change course and make North, even though it would bring us further away from our desired destination at first. Sailing backwards did feel quite awkward and frustrating, but it was a good decision as up North the winds were much more favourable. We did have to do some zig-zagging and anytime we were heading straight to Africa instead of the Azores, we put African music and had fun instead of wishing for better wind.
We also made a few encounters with other boats during the second part of our journey. One of them was really special: In the middle of a windy night, during my shift, a container-ship was heading straight at us. Our CPA (closest point of approach) was 50 meters (!) in 20 minutes. Basically a real collision course. So we decided to call him on VHF and he told us that he had just spotted us on his radar and was changing course already. Then we started chatting a bit: He had a crew of 36 people from Croatia and Romania and they were heading to the Dominican Republic. When we told them that we were only two people, he asked „two girls?“… Hesitating if I should contribute to his fantasies, I finally told him the truth „one man, one woman“. He laughed. He was impressed that the two of us were managing a sailing boat in such nasty weather. Then he gave us a really nice laser-show with a green laser that they bought to avoid collisions with fisher-boats in the South Chinese Sea. It was splendid! We did some blinking with our deck-light in response and then we wished each other bon voyage.
On day 21 we finally caught a fish after so many days of putting our lines out. Our newly bought pink octopus-bait paid off. The catch looked like a swordfish, was about 1m long and provided three days of yummie fish-meals to us. First, Bernie prepared some tasty sushi, then we ate fish-noodles and later on rice with fish-filets.
After 24 days we finally saw our first land as we were approaching the island Fajal, where Horta is situated. It felt bizarre to step on land and we were completely overwhelmed by the many impressions, smells, activities and colours that landlife offered us again. Relieved and tired we steered Naïma into a box in the Marina and met our friends from the boat „Bororo“ for a nice dinner in the legendary Café Sport. Looking back at the passage it has been less predictable than the passage from the Canaries to the Caribbean but all in all it went very smooth.
Statistics of the passage:
– Distance: 2600 nm (70% sailing, 30% motor)
– Fresh water: 300 liters
– Diesel: 350 liters
– Apples: 120
– Snickers: 25 (of which Bernie ate 1)
– Ships sighted: 4
– Fish caught: 1