In the Horta marina every square meter is covered by paintings, flags, drawings of ships and their passages. Almost every east-bound boat crossing the Atlantic stops there and almost every crew wants to leave a sign of their successful voyage. Each painting tells a different story and every sailor is happy to share theirs.
Not everyone is given the opportunity, though. Horta tends to get rainy and there we were ready and waiting to get the brushes and our hands dirty with paint, Nils had even sketched the design, but the rain didn’t grant us that opportunity. Even if Horta will not remember the little Tonic and its crew, we will sure remember the town, the lovely Peter’s café with a whale guarding its entrance, the lovely Portuguese food and wine, the misty view of Pico, the highest volcano of Azores, barely visible, and the weather that kept changing every hour and kept interfering with our plans.
Finally Nils saw a window of opportunity – if we rush and sail of immediately, we should be able to scrape through and miss the storms! Express shopping, packing, preparing and off we go! We waved goodbye to Horta, sailed across Pico which finally granted us the majestic view of its volcano.
The sunset was perfect, dozens of dolphins came to play around the boat, the panorama of Faial, Pico and Larga was hypnotizing. And then the newest weather report came in: stop or you’ll lose your mast, that’s basically what it said.
Right behind the corner of Azores 10 meter waves from the side were awaiting us. If we wanted to sail south to the Canaries or to Gibraltar, we could have taken the risk – such waves from behind could give us some awesome surfing time 😉 but we were still heading towards the English Channel. 10 meter waves from the side? Nope.
Quick decision: we’ll stop on Graciosa, one of the smallest islands of the archipelago and the last one before deep ocean and wait for the ocean to calm down.