Fajal – a Green Paradise in the Big Blue

In the midst of the Atlantic, there is a little green paradise called the Azores. It felt so good to arrive here. After 24 days of blue blue blue and shaky shaky shaky we spot the volcano of Pico on the horizon. Even from the distance we see what a lush green place this is. We make landfall in Horta on the island of Fajal, like most sailing boats that cross the Atlantic this way. There is an old tradition here to leave a painting on one of the harbor walls. As a result, the harbor is full of paintings everywhere, some dating back a decade and more. Contributing to Horta’s unique atmosphere is the fact that most sailors here made it across the Atlantic, either from the Caribbean, the Americas, or Europe. For sure, some boats have suffered some damage on the way, but everyone is happy to have made it here safely and there is just a very nice interaction between all sailors. And unlike in the Caribbean, there are great supermarkets (well, not quite like on the continent, but still), food is affordable and everything is easy to organize. The locals are super nice and welcoming. We were also lucky with the weather as in the two weeks that we spent in Horta it was mostly warm and sunny. The Azores have a constant spring-like atmosphere and flowers blossom everywhere.

We rented a scooter and discovered the island and driving through this lush green paradise with flowers alongside the road felt simply great! During a volcanic eruption during the late 1950s, new land was created at the western tip of Fajal. These hills, a barren, desert-like landscape, also rendered the old light-house useless, as it is now standing ‘behind’ the hills. Oddly, it survived the eruptions and is now a museum. We also hiked around Fajal’s largest volcano with beautiful views into its caldera. Together with our friend Jan from Pheobe (the 26 ft boat that we kept in contact with during our passage to the Azores) we took the ferry to Pico and climbed its 2400m volcano (Portugal’s highest mountain). It is a beautiful hike and a stunning crater and final ascent to the peak. Unfortunately, all other Azores islands were covered under a layer of clouds.

In total we enjoyed two wonderful weeks in Horta and its adjacent beach. Our boat work was for once quickly done (an engine service and some other small things). For the first time during the entire trip we didn’t have anything urgent on our to-do list. We have heard from other sailors that this is the moment when they get scared… (if nothing brakes for several weeks, something really big might break next… let’s hope the best). Well, we still had one to-do: to paint our Naïma-painting on one of the marina walls. Other sailors had left us paint (as we did afterwards) and so we left our mark (see the photo gallery). It was fun and sparked a flow of creativity as the next day Ela was completely indulged in drawing and I composed music on the computer, which I hadn’t done for a long time. And then, finally, we decided to move on to the neighboring island of Sao Jorge.

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