To Azores Day 28

Monday August 21

Day 28 slow moving on an awkward beat to Horta…Day three of a frustrating nor’easter that won’t let go.

Dena’s 7-8 pm watch

7:36 pm: We just trimmed the staysail and got a bit higher into the wind. A little more speed too. I’m still hoping for a wind shift so that we don’t have to sail northwest and spend time backtracking, but this will get us close enough that it won’t be the end of the world if we do.

I’m going to take another long overnight unless the traffic picks up and I have to spend too much time awake. Last thing I want is to be exhausted while doing the approach and either anchoring or docking on the wall for the officials who will clear us in. Especially if it’s dark when we arrive. The entrance couldn’t be easier, but looking out for other boats and picking the best spot for anchoring will be harder in the dark.

Dena’s overnight watch

Tuesday August 22

2:39 am: Wind started getting extra flukey around 2 am and I am now nursing hope that this is a wind shift to the west. Meanwhile I have to babysit the steering so we don’t end up bow into the waves because it’s too light to keep the mainsail full.

Oh well, I was going to be up to set the 3 am breadcrumb (we’re doing waypoints so we don’t run the chartplotter all the time). May as well do some stargazing. The night isn’t perfectly clear…dark streaks cross the Milky Way like new dust lanes…but there’s a lot to see with the waxing crescent well set for the night.

8:10 am: Northwest, baby! We’re finally sailing for our destination and it feels good. Since everything is so changeable, I don’t know what it’ll mean for our arrival, but it’s not likely to be before dark today.

James’ 11-noon watch

Faial off the starboard bow

11:50 am: From 45 nautical miles away, both Pico and Faial were big lumps. Now, about 40 miles out, Faial’s newer western end (created from lava flows and ash explosions in 1958-1959) looks like an independent island still, but the rest is becoming clearer. The dips and lower lands are more visible. Pico has an entire lowlands area the looks west and maybe a bit north of the caldera.

Pico's clouds

We both have been in the cockpit but the wind came up enough to make me want to save some energy (and wind resistance) for later. We’re going to do one-hour watches until we anchor, which could be anytime between 8 pm and 8 am. That’s cool, though it’ll probably be dark, because it gives us a good reason to anchor rather than land on the wall. I’ll dinghy to the office to clear in when they open.


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