The 22 nm sail to Velas on the island Sao Jorge was quick even in light winds. The marina is small and a bit narrow to enter, but there are always helping hands and the atmosphere is great. Jose, the harbor master, is very welcoming and helpful. We knew some boats from Horta and even from the Caribbean. The first night we were invited by our American neighbors for drinks, then by our friends from the Golden Breeze, then by an Italian charter captain and then by our French neighbors from the Ad Hoc… In other words, the sense of community is great here. We like small marinas. And this marina has a special feature: at night endemic birds that nest in the cliffs next to the marina fly above the boats and fill the air with unearthly cries that we have never heard before – a real experience.
Velas is a nice fishing village and also the main port of the island. All goods arrive here and the supermarket is fairly well equipped. There is no beach, but a public bath in between volcanic rocks. The visibility for snorkeling is good and we saw many fish and an octopus. We also rented a scooter to explore the island. Like Fajal, the roadsides and fences between meadows are often decorated by flowers and Sao Jorge is another eternal spring paradise in the midst of the Atlantic. The island is definitely great for hiking. Since there is not much tourism, the encounter with the locals is friendly and unspoiled.
Unfortunately, it is about time for us to leave the Azores and embark on the second leg of our Atlantic crossing. It will be either around 1000 nm to La Coruna in Spain, or around 1200 nm to Brittany in France, we’re not decided yet and might even decide during the passage according to the winds. Part of the preparation was to fill up diesel. As the gas station will be closed on the day that we plan to depart, I had to carry the 250 L of diesel to the boat in jerrycans – an exhausting exercise. Naïma’s belly is again filled with fresh fruit and vegetables, water, diesel, etc., and we are almost ready to go and the weather forecast looks decent. Stay tuned for our next post – probably from Europe!