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Still in Lajes, Flores

So due to the winds here we still are in Flores. Planing to leave on Tuesday am. Good winds and on a beam reach, should be fast to the Island of Terceira.

To everyone who keeps asking how was it 16 days without seeing land? And how did you keep busy???  how did you feel when you first saw land?

Not seeing land never bothered me at all. Its amazing how everyday was a brand new day even when the scenery was the same. One just never gets tired of watching the sea and the sea life….especially with the beautiful weather like we had, it was nice to spend time outside as we wouldn’t want to miss all the beautiful shows the dolphins put on for us!

One of many times I tried to get a picture of them...

Of course being a smooth sail also meant I was able to do all my normal house cleaning, cooking, baking. We also put up our jib storm, just for practice and we fixed some chaffing in our main sail. Patched up a couple of small holes in our spinnaker and some other minor projects around the boat. It was never a dull moment!

(Did Noel post that he was having chocolate withdrawals during our passage??? Offri too. Yes we forgot to buy chocolate before we left. I had to bake cookies twice, 3dozen each time and Offri baked once, 2 dozen. Also at one time I had to open a box of my chocolate baking bits to satisfy their sweet tooth….I was afraid of having cranky men on board! lol)

Offri baking cookies in the middle of the Atlantic

On our spare time we read books, sunbathed, play games, and watched some movies. Once in awhile we would fit in a siesta, don’t  forget that some of us were up in the middle of the night to do our watches. We did watches of 3 hours long , crew of 4, and we rotated our shifts. Worked out really well.

The first sight of Land, was exciting of course. I had been looking for it for a few minutes and it looked like a cloud, but  Offri got up and confirmed it was the Island. We were happy, but even after anchoring, there was no rush to get out of the boat, or anything like that. We had some breakfast and went ashore to do the customs paper work.

Zipping up the sail the day before arriving in Flores

Hoisting up courtesy flags upon arrival

As we started to walk up the hill into town a police car stopped in the side of the Road, we did the paper work right there, on top of the hood. No office necessary and no questions asked!  ahhh and he spoke English very well too.

We have seen most of the small island so far. We rented a car a couple of days ago and we also did a lot on foot. Lots and lots of flowers, very green and luscious, many water falls, friendly people and good food! It’s also very clean and the houses are white with the red tile roofs and very well kept.

Last Thursday went out on my own and check out this little place of artesanatos. The lady,owner, does amazing work of everything from crochet to crafts of all kinds, quilting, bags and all. She told me about her husband and the hard days at sea during whale hunting which the Azoreanos were  famous for.

Her husband walked in, coming back from the farm, that was just a couple of blocks away. The sweet lady offered to give me cabbage from the garden for me to make our traditional caldo verde and sent the husband to go pick it. I offered to come along. She was soo funny. She closed the store and walked to the farm with us.

Ohhh ….I was so happy to see their beautiful planted fields, 3 small pigs, chickens and lots of rabbits. They are all fed from the garden, and the vegetables are grown with mostly their compost.

They showed me around their beautiful property and pointed out some other ones that they own. They are so proud of it and so proud to have earned with such hard work, and that’s when she stared to tell me about the hard days. We started our walk back to the house, with my fresh cabbage they picked for me, mint and a bouquet  of fresh flowers.

She pointed out to me, not very far, an old house that looked like a shed. It was used for whale watching. When they saw whales they would throw 3 fireworks and at that time the Men  who were all working in their farms, would leave everything behind and go. Her husband was one of them. In fact he was one of the men that caught the last whale here, in the 1980’s. The wives were left with the children and all the farm work, including many cows to milk everyday.  Sometimes the men were gone for days, and the worst part: no news from them. He saw many get hurt. In one of his trips, he was badly hurt, lucky to be alive, just the tail of the whale was enough to kill a man and injured so many others.

It was sure an interesting afternoon. She invited me back. Tomorrow I am going back to pick up some organic eggs.

Yesterday morning Noel and I got a surprise on the side of the road!

We were driving back from the airport (were dropping off some of our crew) They were killing, not one pig, but TWO pigs right on the side of the road, in a little rural area between two villages.

I told Noel to quickly stop the car. We  couldn’t believe our luck! I always wanted to show that tradition to Noel.

One pig dead and the second one going up to the bench with the help of 5 strong men. The ladies all ready with the bucket with salt in it to catch the blood while the men are tying the pig around the bench. Without any details( for the sensitive ones) it all happens very fast and pretty quiet too, actually!  Pig is dead and they burned all the hair with torches and scrapped a layer of skin off. It looked very clean and white.

In the mean time the men gave us Port wine…twice. After all it was a cold wet morning and we had to keep warm, lol.

We stood there, sipping our wine and chatting with working men who still took the time to talk to you. We compared traditions between the Islands and also the continent. The Portuguese are very proud people and of course they are always happy especially when  foreigners like  Noel stop and show interest in what they do.

It was now time to clean the insides. It was done in less than 5 minutes. The ladies took it inside in buckets and the men hang the pig in the garage to be cut.

Noel and I thanked the guys and left.

Still ok to drive even after 2 shots (portuguese measurements) of really good port wine at 9am. Viva Portugal!

Today we did a drawing in the wall at the Harbour in Lajes. It is a big tradition here to do that. They say if you don’t do it you will not make it to your destination. Well…… not superstitious, it was fun to do. Offri was creative and very quickly to come up with something.

Our painting in Lajes Harbour

For now we look forward to sail to Terceira and celebrate Portugal Day there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 Responses to “Still in Lajes, Flores”

  • Wolf:

    Ceu you are the best. Nice reading and very interesting. You are just like Julie always happy, concerned and connecting with people. Happy to read that you are doing well. You and Noel are looking well together.
    Wolf

  • Heidi:

    Ceu, always fun to read your reports. We stopped in one of the Azores (don’t know which one) on an Icelandair flight quite a few years ago. We were only there a couple of hours and did not see much, except that it was very hilly. We look forward to seeing you soon. Will you be staying in Portugal while Noel flies to England? What dates are we considering?

    Your photos are great, and you always have interesting experiences. I am sure this is due to your friendly approach.

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