Location: Horta, Faial, Azores
Day 2 in the Azores.
After a long hike and a full day of activities yesterday, today saw shipmates given the opportunity to roam free and explore Faial at their own pace.
Some individuals chose to rest their aching legs as yesterday made up for the lack of exercise they had done for the previous two weeks. Others rented bicycles and explored a little further afield. Some go-getters took taxis to the Caldeira and hiked around the volcanic western end of the island.
When students arrived back at the boat for 6 pm there were some great photographs, lots of excitement, and many reports of excessive ice cream consumption. After an appreciation for the day and a quick reflection ( Q: Describe some differences between the locals in Horta and the people in your hometown), it was time for dinner. Everyone opted to eat ashore. Shortly thereafter, quick showers were taken, smart clothes were put on, and the transformation into very respectable young adults was complete.
The highlight of the evening for me was a most stunning moon rise and lunar eclipse which rose behind the volcano called Pico, on the adjacent island… also called Pico. The spectacle lasted for more than an hour and was amazingly clear. Other highlights of the evening were meeting up with the crew of a British sail training boat that I used to work on. The Azores is one of my favorite places to visit. The hospitality is hard to match and Peter ‘Cafe Sport’ hosted us superbly as always. Cafe Sport is a real sailor bar where genuine salt of the earth type folks come to listen to the live music and talk the night away. I hear it stays open well into the night but with preparations and departure planned for the following day, everyone called it a night and heading back to the boat for 10 pm. The Azores is unbelievably safe. Horta is the kind of town where people leave their front doors open, don’t lock their bicycles and where there is no crime, aka real island life. However, on the walk back to the boat, some shipmates had a bit of a fright. Apparently, the sailors of old would not visit Faial because of reports from people hearing the voice of the devil. On a dark road behind the commercial fishing port, some of our tough, brave shipmates were caught off guard and spooked by the same strange, piercing shrieks WAKA WAKA WAAAKA AAAAAAAK.
Some say it had big teeth, others report a ‘colored tail’, and “it was not like anything I had ever heard before.”
Apparently, the mystery was over when a white bird swooped low and flew off into the night. However, the broken dentures on the sidewalk are still unexplained. After this excitement, our brave shipmates wandered back to the sanctuary of Argo and climbed into their clean beds before drifting off into dreamland.