Why does anybody live anywhere other than Horta?

I’m serious!

Horta is a small town, on the island of Faial, in the Azores. It’s beautiful. It’s got an amazing climate. It’s a ridiculously cheap place to be. The people are just lovely. Everything is clean. There is a complete lack of efficiency anywhere… But with a fantastic community feel… Are you getting that I like it here yet?

We’ve had two days of island life. The boat is almost ready to go again. Diesel and food tomorrow and we’re ready. Everything is so easy here. It’s the only place for 1,000nm in any direction, so they’re so used to the likes of Dinah and everything is made simple.

Peters Sport Cafe is the place to be, and needless to say we’ve settled in nicely. Beers at €1 each, and fantastic seafood non stop. It’s a mecca for offshore sailors, and tonight we ended up chatting for hours with some good friends of Jan Kees, the line honours winner of Ostar. It is such a small world. Again, meeting people in the most unlikely places, who had folllowed our progress during the race reminds me that myself and Dinah have done something many people dream of doing someday, but for some reason keep putting off. Life’s not about sitting out the storm, it’s about going outside and dancing in the rain!

Tomorrow we’re up early to take the boat over to the diesel berth. Then we’ve got to do customs. We should be back on our berth by 0900. Then breakfast in Peters, and hire a car to go off for the day. See the top of the volcano, see if we can raise Andy Petty on VHF from up there (He’s getting close now, being due in tomorrow night) , have a look at the rest of the island, and most importantly hit Horta’s one supermarket to provision for the next leg.

Depending on the forecast we’ll leave tomorrow night or Friday morning, for the South of Ireland. Aileen flew home today, so for the rest of the trip it’s myself and Andy doublehanded 1,180nm to Ireland. It’ll be good for me to get back to doublehanded sailing, as I hope to do a lot of doublehanded racing next season.

In the meantime, I’ll leave you with an image of how laid back life is here in Horta. I must say not being allowed to shoot my on-board firearm, or rock-climb on the marina has been frustrating, but not being able to take the elephant out for a stroll on the pontoons in the mornings just makes life down below unbearable, what with his flailing trunk, huge footsteps in the custard… and the noise…!