Monday, June 12, 2017

June 2017: A Few Days in the Azores

It had felt SO GOOD to sleep through a night without bouncing around in the bunk, and we awoke to windy but otherwise tolerable conditions. We had a relaxing morning catching up with nearly two weeks of emails over hot and strong coffee. By early afternoon rain had ended and skies started to clear.
Horta's Harbor

James Knight (of Yacht Tech and Rob Cote (of OceanCurrents Marine) showed up at the pier as scheduled to address some maintenance issues which the fleet had documented along the way.  They had flown in from Palm Beach, Florida the day before. The main problem for James to solve was aboard Relish, and that was to install two forced-air ventilation fans in the rear bulkhead of the engine room – the passive vents were proven to be wholly inadequate for keeping engine room temps within an acceptable range, even in a mild climate.  The central issue for Rob was to address Moxie’s inoperative KVH satellite phone system.  Both of those key maintenance items were completed within the day, as were each vessel’s re-provisioning runs.  Aeoli also got a more permanent fix for its water maker (new PCB control panel).

The Raft Up Just Before All Hell Broke Loose
There were plenty of other relatively minor things for each crew to tend to during the day, but by late afternoon most had caught up with their respective punch lists and were able to saunter into town to enjoy the local atmosphere and superb hospitality of our Portuguese hosts.

Our Saturday started in a relaxing manner after another good night’s sleep – more email catch-up along with tending to a few administrative items back home.  For
Silvio and Rick aboard Relish it was oil change day on the big main engine, and that went relatively quickly.  That was a good thing because shortly after that was done, and just as they were getting ready to change the Racor fuel filters, all hell broke loose.

The wind had shifted and though the big weather system was far to our north (see related article HERE), it was still generating significant swells, and they started slamming our boats around – against each other and the sea wall of the pier.  Crews were scrambling to adjust and reinforce lines and fenders.  But a really nasty harmonic motion seemed to go into high gear, and soon we had five vessels bouncing around like 60 ton beach balls, lines were snapping and there was the awful sound of crunching fiberglass against concrete.
The Fleet Back at Horta's Outer Harbor

We had to get away from that concrete pier and fast.

But the crew of Aleoli wasn’t aboard their vessel, which meant that Relish and Angela were pinned in the 3-deep raft-up. Bernie jumped aboard Aleoli, James Knight took over the helm of Angela, and Silvio did the same on Relish, doing his best to orchestrate a combination of gear shifts and thrusters to counter the hard rebounds into the wall.  While it seemed to progress in slow motion – it took 5 to 6 other crew members to untie the boats from each other, and then Relish from the pier leaving most of her lines behind – we finally got all the boats free and into the middle of the harbor.

Anchor Watch on the Salon's Big Screen TV
After that it took a few hours to find spacing and get an anchor to set in the hard bottom.  Finally we had to give up on a good set and just let out as much chain as we could, then set two anchor watch alarms.  Eventually one of the vessels dispatched a tender to go pick up all the lines we had left behind and redistributed to the respective boats.

Damage report: Jura has a good sized hole in her swim platform, and Relish had four nasty looking gelcoat scars fore and aft.  All repairable and amazingly nobody got hurt.

By late afternoon we had all finally settled into a nervous calm, and while some went ashore for additional relaxation, all vessels kept at least one soul on board to monitor for anchor drags.  Aleoli picked up her anchor departed the fleet as she wanted to cruise some of the other islands in the Azores chain.

We awoke to clear skies, a lighter breeze and an air temperature in the 60’s, and thankfully no vessel had moved significantly from their anchored positions.  Once we were certain that all maintenance tasks were done and the vessels were stable a group of us went ashore to tour the island of Faial.

Our tour was totally enjoyable – we were treated to stunning views.  These pictures will help tell that story.  Left click any of them for a better viewing. 

View of the Harbor From The Hills of Faial
The Caldeira Volcanic Complex
Distances From Caldeira
View From the Northwest Side of Faial
Closer Look at the Surf on the Northwest Side
Our Tour Group....Robert, Rob, Chelle, Fernando (Guide), Michele, Thomas, Cameron
The Rugged Cliffs and Surf Formed by the Capelinhos Volcano
on the West Side of Faial
Difficult to See But There is the Roof of a House Just Barely Visible
Under All That Lava Dust from Its Last Eruption 50 Years Ago
The Lighthouse on Capelhinos
That's Actually a Boat Ramp Used by the Whalers in the Past
The Placard at the Whaling Port Ramp
About the Whaling Port & Ramp

No comments:

Post a Comment