Azores Arrival


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We got our first glimpse to the Azores archipelago on the morning after our eighth night after departing Dublin. We reached the port of Horta shortly after day break and proceeded to our berth in the commercial harbour, with views to the historic town on the opposite shore.

The protocol for pleasure craft arriving into Horta is that vessels anchor out initially and a harbour safety boat transports the occupants to a shore-side testing station. On a negative COVID-19 test result (usually available within 24 hrs), boats are then allowed to berth in the marina. Our agent, Bensaude Shipping Agents, had instead arranged for us to moor against the commercial dock immediately, so long as we stayed on board until a negative test result was received. This arrangement worked well, as there wasn’t much space for us in the anchoring area and we enjoyed watching the activity in the busy port.

The passage was generally a smooth one, with some rough seas only at the first and last day. The summary data from the trip are:

  • Fuel consumed: 1,151 gallons (4,357 liters)
  • Fuel left on arrival: 1556 gallons (5,890 liters)
  • Total actual distance: 1,330 nm
  • Overall fuel economy: 1.16 nm/gal (0.31 nm/ltr)
  • Overall speed: 6.95 kts
  • Total trip hours: 7 days, 23 hours
  • Gallons per hour: 6.02 gal/hour (22.78 ltr/hour)
  • Average RPM: 1799

Below are highlights from May 6th, 2021. Click any image for a larger view, or click the position to view the location on a map. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at mvdirona.com/maps.

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Graciosa
We can see lights on the island of Graciosa to our north as we pass by at 2am.
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Conditions
We’re within four hours of Horta and the trailing edge of that big storm is upon us, kicking up the seas a bit. The winds are steady in the 20s on the bow (upper right) and we’re pitching over 11° (bottom left).
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Courtesy and Q Flag
Raising a Portuguese courtesy flag, and a yellow quarantine flag indicating that we require clearance on entry to Horta in the Azores.
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Faial
First view to the island of Faial, where Horta is located.
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Pico
View south to the island of Pico, with the volcano Pico prominent in the background. The 7,713 ft (2,351 m) mountain is among the highest in the Atlantic Ocean and twice the height of any other in the Azores. The volcano still is active, but last erupted in 1720.
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Ferry
Inter-island ferry departing Horta as we near.
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Fenders
Bringing the fenders down from the boat deck to the starboard side is a bit more work with the forward bladder blocking the Portuguese bridge. Rather than just walk them around, we need to lift them onto the bow area and bring them around through the gate.
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Ponta Espalamaca
Ponta Espalamaca at the entrance to the port of Horta. The cliff contains an old World War II battery and, like most such military installations, has sweeping views to the surrounding area.
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Piscina
The Horta municipal pool (piscina) at the port entrance.
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Port of Horta
Entering the port of Horta. We’ll be berthing at the far end of the wall at left, in front of the cargo ship in the distance.
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Q Flag
View to anchored boat flying a Q (quarantine) flag. The protocol for pleasure-craft arriving into Horta is that vessels must remain at anchor until the results of a COVID-19 test are available (usually within 24 hrs), and if negative they then are allowed to berth in the marina. Our agent, Delcio Silva of Bensaude Shipping Agents, had instead arranged for us to be able to moor against the commercial dock immediately so long as we stayed on board until a negative test result was received. This arrangement worked well, as there wasn’t much space for us in the anchoring area.
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Observatory
The Prince Albert of Monaco Meteorological Observatory on the hilltop above Horta, across the harbour from our berth. Prince Albert funded the construction so scientists could study the atmospheric pressure of the Azores zone and its wide impact on the climate in the Atlantic. The station was completed in 1915 and connected via pre-existing underwater telegraph cables to major European centers and Washington.
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Oil Change
Performing the 45th oil change on the main engine at 11,959 hours. Like our most recent oil change in Dublin, this one at 196 hours was shorter than the 250-hour change interval, but this will take is all the way back to the US. Our 46th oil change will be in Charleston.
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Making Pallet
The commercial dock we’re on is busy with activity as ships come and go. Here two workers are readying a pallet for shipment.
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Heavy Load
A crane lowered a bulldozer ripper into the cargo area of this small truck. You can see the load is far heavier than the truck can carry, with the rear wheels almost touching the cargo deck and the front wheels barely on the ground.
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Reach Stacker
A reach stacker, used to move shipping containers, heading down the Horta commercial dock with jaws wide.
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Boat Transport
All kinds of cargo is passing through the port of Horta, including small boats.
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COVID Test
The standard protocol for arriving pleasure craft is that the harbour safety boat picks up the occupants from anchor and transports them to the shore-side testing station. Due to an oversight, we didn’t make the pickup list for today (Thursday) and were instead scheduled for Friday, meaning we wouldn’t be able to go ashore until Saturday. Since we were planning to depart on Sunday, this wouldn’t have given us much time to explore. Our agent, Delcio Silva of Bensaude Shipping Agents, instead received permission from the harbour master to drive us to the airport to get our test done there. And here we are, taking our first COVID-19 test.
Show locations on map Click the travel log icon on the left to see these locations on a map, with the complete log of our cruise.

On the map page, clicking on a camera or text icon will display a picture and/or log entry for that location, and clicking on the smaller icons along the route will display latitude, longitude and other navigation data for that location. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at mvdirona.com/maps.

 
 


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