|We spent one week in Horta waiting for it to stop
raining. It was quite a storm that blew over, bringing 35 knots
winds. Our primary goal for visiting Horta was to get the step-down
transformer that we need in order to use European power in the marinas we
will be visiting these next few years. So we were happy to get that
accomplished. Then, when the sun finally came out, we threw off the
lines and enjoyed a beautiful sail to Sao Jorge. We got a slip in
the cute little town of Porto das Velas. Walked around the
cobblestone streets and found a great cafe for dinner. Delicious
food. Ray ordered something that had a mushroom gravy that he talked
about for weeks.
|The following evening we set sail for an overnight to
Terceira. Got a slip near our friends on s/v Severance in the marina
at Angra do Heroismo. A festival was starting in a couple of days,
so we decided to stay around for awhile. Ended up spending 9 days
here. We walked to the castle, got a tour of the military fortress
and saw many historic buildings in the city.
We rented a car to drive to the U.S. Air Base on the other side of the
island. Ray thought he and Mike might be able to get into the
commissary with their Retired Fed Creds. After a lot of waiting,
paperwork, red tape and hassle, we got onto the base. But even with
the assistance of an officer there, we were unable to make a purchase at
the commissary. All those wonderful American products just inches
from us!! Oh well, we took advantage of having the car and toured
the island, stopping for lunch in Vitoria.
We enjoyed many late evenings of eating, drinking and enjoying the
festival. The festival had colorful parades, food, crafts, live
bands and entertainment all over town. Large outdoor stages and
sound systems were set up at the marina, so the music played late into the
night. We saw the bulls released down by the waterfront one day and
again in the streets on another day. It is apparently a tradition
where the men tease the bulls and run in front of them to show how brave
they are. The ambulances were standing by. I saw them carry
away two bloody fellows. Mike decided not to try it.
|On June 25, we left Terceira and sailed overnight to Sao
Miguel. The beautiful new marina was not yet open, so we had to raft
up, 3rd boat out, in the boatyard. Not the best situation, but it
was certainly a beautiful island. The most beautiful of the islands
we visited. We rented a car for 2 days and toured the island with
our new friends Magne and Wendy from s/v Tropic Bird. We saw
incredible views, waterfalls, lakes, volcanoes, hot springs, flowers,
winding roads through green rolling hills and countryside. It was
breathtaking. I loved it.
|I baked a cake and we set sail for Leg 3 of our Atlantic
Ocean crossing. It would take us 7 days to reach Portugal. We
did not anticipate any foul weather, but I still wanted to check in with
Herb daily for an up-to-date forecast. Unfortunately, the
propagation was awful and I never did reach him the entire week. So
we just followed a straight line to our destination. We had several
days with a large swell on the beam which caused us to rock quite a
bit. We can't sleep well or cook easily in those conditions, so once
again it was very tiring.
The worst thing that happened was that our generator quit
working. We didn't realize it at the time, but the problem was that
we had run out of fuel. How is that possible? We had full
tanks and only ran the generator for a few hours. Turns out we had
the switches set wrong. While the gen was running we had
pumped all of the fuel in our aft tank into our mid tank, which was
already full, so it overflowed the entire amount into the Atlantic
ocean. Expensive mistake. Unfortunately, it did something to
the generator that we couldn't resolve by bleeding the air out of the
lines. The guys tried everything to no avail. We'll probably
have to wait until we get to Gibraltar to find a Fischer-Panda technician.
Mike and Ray saw a large whale about 30 feet from the boat. I was
down below and couldn't grab the camera and get up in time to see
it. Darn, darn, darn! I really wanted a good close up of a
As we got closer to Portugal, we encountered many freighters going in
all directions. Our last night underway was very dark with lots of
fog. It was incredibly stressful to have 8 freighters on the radar
screen at one time. Especially when you can't see them with your
eyes. We were constantly altering our course to stay out of their
|At 6 a.m. on Saturday, July 5, Mike woke us up to prepare
fenders and dock lines. We had arrived at Cascais, Portugal!
We left Florida almost 2 months ago. We had traveled 3,978 nautical
miles and spent 32 days underway. Cascais is a beautiful
modern marina with slips but it costs $88 per night vs. $22 per night in
the Azores. Then we did 4 loads of laundry and paid $86!
Ouch! People weren't kidding when they said it would be expensive
over here. But it is beautiful.
|We took a train to Lisbon the next day. Toured a
palace, did some shopping and ate lunch at a lovely sidewalk cafe.
There was a military recruitment exhibition going on in the plaza, so Mike
and Ray enjoyed looking at all the tanks and guns and things. We
couldn't see much in one day. We may have to return to Lisbon
another time to appreciate more of this city.
The next day we took the bus to Sintra which was described to us as a
magical place. I couldn't agree more! It was wonderful.
We toured the palaces and castles, walked the streets, and felt the
magic. Even Ray found his ultimate dessert .. a rich chocolate cake
with whipped cream topped with cream puffs and drizzled with chocolate
|Our next trip was an overnight sail to Portimao,
Portugal. We suffered through an uncomfortable swell rocking us
mercilessly though the night. We were grateful to pull into the
marina in Portimao to get some rest. This is a resort town.
Doesn't have the old buildings or romantic feel of the other places we
have been. We took advantage of the dinner special at the marina
restaurant and I ate grilled sardines. Something new for me.
Not bad. We were able to find a little cafe for breakfast and Ray
was able to get his much-desired sausage and eggs.
|We set sail at 3 p.m. for an overnight sail to Rota,
Spain. Thank goodness it was an easy sail. Nice, flat
seas. We stayed in the marina here for 2 nights, enjoying a
beautiful dinner out, and an early morning walk on the beach. Since
we are now in Spain, we decided to buy a SIM card for our cell
phone. We walked into town and stood in line for over 2 hours only
to find out that I need my passport to buy a SIM card! My passport
was on the boat. Oh, forget it.
|We set sail at midnight and arrived in Gibraltar the next
afternoon. Our friend Mike Mak on s/v Agua, a brand new Lagoon 4200
catamaran, and his guest Marquise greeted us on the dock. We
promptly went over to his boat and enjoyed drinks and snacks. Then
Mike treated us all to dinner at a Chinese restaurant. We have been
communicating with Mike ever since we met in Costa Rica 2 years ago.
We also met Richard and Joan on s/v Challenge, the other American boat in
the marina. All of us hiked the Rock of Gibraltar and saw the
monkeys at the top, and the incredible view, of course.
We had a technician take a look at our generator. The generator
starts, but it takes a long time to come up to speed and then it won't
take a load. He thinks our problem is the windings. He called
another guy to come out who could do the work. We waited a week for
the guy to come out. We don't know what he thought because he didn't
speak English, but he didn't agree with the first guy. We couldn't
get the local Fischer-Panda technician at all because he is booked for
over 2 months. Mike decided to call Fischer Panda technical
assistance in the U.S. as a shot in the dark before we incurred huge
expense here. He described what happened and what we've been told by
the other technicians. Amazingly, they had a simple suggestion that
Mike tried and the generator started purring like a kitten again.
What!!??? We are still wondering why we didn't just call them
first. Thankfully, the other guys didn't charge us anything for
their service calls because they had not diagnosed the problem correctly.
Ray felt it was time to return home to California. He's been
cruising with us for 2 months. It was great to have Ray on board for
our voyage. He was willing to do whatever was needed, he took the
midnight watch the entire time, he and Mike never ran out of things to
talk about, he is neat and tidy, and he liked my cooking! You
couldn't ask for better friend or crew. Thank you, thank you for
joining us on this trip.
This past week, we have been hanging out with Mike Mak and Marquise. Hiking the rock and taking the tours, shopping and eating
out. We walked across the border into Spain to go to a carnival one
evening, and saw a huge fireworks show the following evening. And
now we are ready to continue on our journey up the coast of Spain in the
Mediterranean Sea. We leave Gibraltar today (July 25). Until
next update, love to all.
Click here to see the photo album.
Click here to read the next letter home.