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Horta, Azores: A Quick Explore and Paint

Horta, Azores: A Quick Explore and Paint

Off we set to Horta in the morning. When first getting out of the marina it felt like the wind was really going to work in our favor, and we were making good progress to Horta. The forecast was for the wind to totally swing around and come from Horta, and for it to drop quite some before we were scheduled to arrive.

In reality, the wind swing happened much earlier, and there was no real period of light winds, so after a few minutes of sailing, we found ourselves tacking to Horta through changeable wind directions and choppy swell. This turned into one of the wobbliest curvey tracks we have sailed to date (see below and don’t judge!).

On our journey to Horta, we also crossed paths with Artemis, who was heading from Horta to Velas. We managed to come quite close to each other as they were gull-winging downwind and both got some good snaps of each other.

Arriving in Horta we anchored on the edge of the anchor field. We counted another 30 or so boats at anchor, and it’s crazy to think a week before during the low pressure that passed over the Azores there were around 80 boats at anchor, things must have been tight!

We had already talked to Saga on Whatsapp who were in the marina already, so we took the dinghy over to see them. They were in a raft against the harbor wall that was already 3 deep, also alongside the German boat Beagle who we actually met in Cape Verde just before our East to West crossing.

After checking into the Azores finally, we headed to Peter Sport Cafe, a rather iconic and long-standing (104 years) cafe/bar in Horta that has been frequented by many a sailor over the years.

For people sailing the Atlantic, Café Peter is more of an institution than a café. With its bright blue facade and orange sign, it serves as a currency exchange, yachting club, hobby, post office, tourist attraction and even as a charity on many occasions. (…) “

in Travel Section of “El Monde” San Juan, Puerto Rico, 1982

Upstairs they have a small whaling museum with a large focus on whale teeth, bones, and also the history of the cafe. Of course, not just whale teeth, but rather art on and with the teeth and bones of whales that has been performed for many years, a tradition called Scrimshaw.

Our next job was to explore the area around the harbor a little, and we were recommended a hike up to the closest point which was also next to a local Caldera. Here we also walked past some old whaling factories, now turned museums, and you can see the ramps that they would have used to winch whales onto land from the sea.

We wanted to explore as much of the Azores as possible but were also aware that we needed to be back in the UK for July, and time was starting to feel tight. So rather than sail to Pico (the island next to Horta), we got a rather cheap ferry one morning to bus around and explore with Saga.

Here we went to another whaling museum that included a short film we could watch as well as quite a few rather graphic pictures from the time of whaling still in the Azores, which only came to an end in the mid 1980’s.

Originally we wanted to also sail to Terceira, but as the weather continued evolving, we decided we had better head back to the UK sooner rather than later to avoid more motoring and arrive with plenty of time so as not to rush the last few days of our adventures.

This meant leaving directly from Horta early on the morning of 15th June. But before departing we wanted to partake in the tradition of painting the harbor wall with a small mural for our crossing ahead. This is something we have seen in many other ports, but haven’t found the time to get painting to date.

We managed to have one more night of food, drinks, fun, and conversation before really starting to prep for the crossing back to the UK.

As part of this night, Sam from Blue Note was going around Peter Sport Cafe trying to get people to dance. In doing so, he found someone else in the bar from Devon, UK, and brought them over to our table, as we are also both from Devon. The world is a small place, and this turned out to be someone Kathryn personally knew through horse-related living arrangements!

We will gloss over our winch fix the evening before leaving, as well as restocking the boat with fuel and food, as you readers must be bored of this by now.

Needless to say, the Azores was great fun, but the next step is the rest of the Atlantic crossing West to East, back to the South coast of the UK.

St Vincent

St Vincent

Sailing around St Vincent around the end of January was a true adventure! From navigating crowded anchorages to discovering hidden underwater caves, we had a blast exploring this beautiful island.

The sail to St. Vincent was enjoyable and only about 10 miles from our last port of call, Bequia. We arrived at our chosen first anchorage to find it already busy with boats. Unfortunately, the boats didn’t shore tie so took up more space than necessary. So, we decided to move on to the next bay around. Although it very was small, we noticed an anchor symbol on Navionics and thought it would be worth checking out.

Adam snorkeled around the bay with a string line with a weight on the bottom of 2m in length, the idea being Adam could swim around with this, and if it touched the bottom it was too shallow. Meanwhile, Anna and I waited on board in deep water outside of the bay for a thumbs-up. We needed to ensure the chart was accurate and there was enough depth before entering as the chart said it might not have been deep enough in some places.

Luckily it was deeper than that chart stated, like many places around here the charts are not particularly accurate as the areas are not well surveyed. So knowing we wouldn’t scrape the bottom we entered the bay and got to work anchoring in the middle and shore tying to a central tree on the beach. It took us about an hour to complete the anchoring and tying procedure, but it was well worth the effort.

It was really beautiful.

The anchorage “Petit Byahaut (Small Cove)” is now on Navily with our review and pictures. 😊

We stayed there for a couple of nights and enjoyed some incredible snorkeling, including finding an underwater cave that we could swim through.

We also discovered bat caves in the cliff, which you can swim all the way through and out the other side however with a lot of swell coming in at the time we decided not to. We did see lots of the endangered Elkhorn coral, and a diverse range of fish and other corals and sponges.

Another boat we know called Vela also tried to anchor in the same bay with us, but unfortunately, their anchor didn’t hold well in the seagrass seabed and it dragged when setting up the shore tie, it was getting too dark to set everything up in time so they moved around the corner to find space for normal anchoring.

Vela got a great drone pic of us though.

After two nights there and lots of free dives through the underwater cave, we sailed on to Walilabou.

Although we initially planned to get help from a local, as the anchorage was fairly busy, to do the shore tie we declined when they demanded an exorbitant fee. So, we set about doing it ourselves, ending up with nearly all of our chain out due to the deep waters. I swam to shore with a big coil of rope and buoy attached to float it before tying it to a tree and bringing the free end back to the boat.

During the anchoring a number of locals on boats or kayaks hung around and finally once we were anchored, the boat was surrounded by locals trying to sell us vegetables, fruit, and fish. We bought some things including some tasty avocados and fish.

That afternoon we walked to some nearby waterfalls in the Wallilabou Heritage Park and paid a small fee of $5 each to get in to enjoy the refreshing waterfalls and natural pool. Whilst there, we encountered giant bamboo, lots of lizards, and the most enormous wasps we’ve ever seen.

Walilabou is well-known for having some of the Pirates of the Caribbean films set in purpose-built buildings in the area, particularly Fort Royale. This set was used for a number of the films.

After hiking back down from the waterfall, we went to see if a local guy who we’d spoken to earlier in the day was there, he’d mentioned being able to cook us a BBQ on the beach. He saw us looking but by the time he got there we had gone back to the boat, to our surprise he came over on a surfboard and was very happy to cook the fish we had bought earlier and made us a pasta salad.

We ate and drank into the night, with many of his friends also coming to help and say hello. We also tried the famous “St. Vincent Sunset” rum, which was 84.5%! Anna and I mixed ours with ginger beer but (insert name here) had it with only a chaser of water.

We then sailed to another anchorage called Paradise Beach in Troumaker Bay, where we shore-tied once again and anchored in about 20 meters of water. This time we got help from a kind local fisherman and later bought a big fish from him that we had for dinner.

Anna and I hiked up a hill to Troumaker village, whilst Adam relaxed in a hammock onboard and prepared dinner. We made it to the top of the hill sweaty and hot but the view from the top was breath-taking, and Adam managed to take a picture of us as little specs in the distance.

We went to a bar in the village for a cold drink and got some homemade fudge for $1 in the bar we met a lovely 10-year-old girl who had just finished school for the day and needed to wait for her mum who worked there. She was incredably chatty and talked about all kinds of things, including how they still use the whip for disapline in schools in St. Vincent and the girl’s dislike of the “popular” kids.

That evening, we ate the fish we had bought whilst watching the sunset on deck and it was delicious!

As the sun set, some local fishermen attempted to catch a giant shoal of fish, it was all very excting to watch, but it appeared that they missed their chance, and they came back empty-handed. I hope they caught some the next night!

Next we’re off to St Lucia and Daisy arrives!

The Grenadines, Tobago Cays

The Grenadines, Tobago Cays

The Grenadines were a beautiful group of many islands that we managed to explore for just over 2 weeks, although the same amount of time again would have been even better. There were lots of Islands that we didn’t manage to see. This post is only the beginning!

It’s the 7th of January and from where we were in Clifton harbor where we caught up with some of our boat friends from the other side of the Atlantic, we are off to the Tobago Cays. From our own research and some local knowledge from a very helpful cafe owner, we knew this was going to be a great experience and the underwater life did not disappoint!

On the way from Union to the Cays we caught a barracuda, and I genuinely didn’t think I’d ever eat barracuda but it was one of the tastiest fish we’ve caught so far!

We had the barracuda for two main meals including tempura battered fish tacos with couscous and peach salsa.

We picked up a mooring buoy in the channel just north of Petit Rameau island, anchorage fees here are the same as a mooring buoy so we thought it best not to risk damage to the underwater ecosystem and get a mooring. On arrival, we saw Danae had already got there and Artemis came in just behind and to our excitement, there were 3 buoys all in a row which Danae got an excellent picture of with their drone.

We got in the water to discover what couldn’t be seen from above, right under the boat we had turtles and more barracudas and further away we saw turtle after turtle after turtle, all totally relaxed about us being in the water with them, then came sting rays, Eagle rays, and beautiful fish. Anna even spotted a reef shark!

Sting ray with trunk fish all around
Same sting ray!
Spotted Eagle ray foraging
This little one had an itchy face as he swims away! Rather cute

Whilst at the Tobago Cays a boat came by to talk to us about a place with free moorings (not a common thing around here) at a resort with 3 pools, multiple bars, and a lovely beach, we decided to take them up on the offer of free mooring and pool use when we were definitely in need of a real shower!

But that’s for the next post 😉

The Atlantic Ocean, Cape Verde to Barbados

The Atlantic Ocean, Cape Verde to Barbados

It’s already been over 2 weeks since we made it to the Caribbean. Our Atlantic crossing took us roughly 20 days from Mindelo, Cape Verde to Barbados. We set off at a similar time to another 8 or so boats that we were in contact with and we experienced a variety of different weather and sailing conditions along the way.

The direct route would have been around 2030 nautical miles, and our route was 2147 nautical miles averaging only 4.5 knots. So an extra 117 miles, which isn’t bad, and would only take roughly 1 day to sail.

The first days

We set off on the 2nd of December at the same time as sailing vessel Extress, having spent some weeks in Mindelo marina waiting for a good weather window and doing boat jobs.

For the first day or so while leaving the shelter of the island we had relatively calm seas, light-ish winds and we could see the odd spot of rain. The light winds lead to the occasional spot of motoring, but this was a wonderful light and easy start to the crossing.

We started on a broad reach to get away from the island before setting up our twin headsails on day 2 with the plan of following the wind all the way to Barbados.

Come day 3, sailing was easy, we were not needing to touch the sails and the sunsets were beautiful.

One thing we did notice early on was that twin head sails and following the wind was leading to us staying quite north, which we suspected was going to end up being a bad idea as the forecast said there would be more wind in the South, and many of the other boats that left at the same time as us headed further south right away. But we really wanted to sail with the twin headsails.

We knew the other boats were further south as we were all messaging each other via our various satellite messengers, and we then plotted their points daily as we went.

As you can see, right at the start as the wind curved around the island we (the black line) got pushed very far north, vs Extress who left moments before us (the green line) stayed much further south on their broad reach.

Day 2 onwards

The whole of the first week was very in line with the first few days. Lighter winds, occasional motoring in no-wind spots, and lots of time to relax and have some fun on and in the flat seas.

We ended up in the water most days during these flatter times and did lots of more interesting cooking, as well as other boaty jobs and shenanigans aboard.

The dips in the sea included dragging behind the boat on a rope or holding onto the steps while we were sailing. Very cool as with a snorkeling mask on you could see fishes swimming in the shadow of the boat near the rudder.

Day 13 onwards

Nearing the third week the swell had started building a little, and the wind was becoming a more consistent higher average (approx 15kts), and sometimes gusty (up to around 30 knots). But still no squalls at this point.

We were still trying to push our twin headsail setup to take us further south, and unfortunately, we think this is what caused us to tear our Ghoster sail. It backwinded, and caught its edge on one of the mast steps on the opposite side, before filling with wind again and tearing a seam.

We didn’t want to try to take both headsails down from the furler in the high seas so decided to leave them furled and switch to a different sail setup (mainsail and a gib) for the rest of the crossing. We ended up with the main always having 1 or 2 reefs in it.

The sail change and continued building of swell and wind lead to some slightly less comfortable sailing compared to the first weeks.

Needless to say, meals started getting simpler, we spent less time in the water, and generally, we were starting to look forward to reaching the other side.

At least now being on a broad reach again, we could more easily change our course to either chase the wind, or head directly to our destination.

The squalls begin

We didn’t get a single squall until we were 3 days out from Barbados, and fortunately, our first squall came during daytime, we saw it coming from miles away and were thus very prepared. This also happened to be the biggest squall of our crossing.

We reduced our sails to a double-reefed main and no jib and steered away from the center of the squall as much as possible. We saw a prolonged period of 40 knots of wind and some rain for around 20 minutes before we could get back on course and put a little more sail out. It was an interesting experience and we stayed very alert for the duration but Hannah Penn handled it perfectly.

This first squall also allowed us to experiment with spotting squalls on a radar. We got all the dials set up so that we could see the squall on screen, and track its progress and thought this might be useful at night, but we didn’t end up using the radar much as we decided to just mostly sail with a fully reefed main overnight and the autopilot in wind vane mode and a high wind alarm set up. We figured that we should be able to weather most of the squalls in this way, and had the high wind alarm setup in case we got a bigger one and needed to re-evaluate.

Also at night, the squalls were easy to see without even looking out of the windows. We track our speed-over-ground and also course over the ground in an app called SailGrib WR which displays lovely charts. While on night watch it was always easy to see a squall coming as there would be a wind shift and increase in our speed long before the squall actually reached you.

Below you can see speed over ground increasing over the course of 7 minutes, but long before this, there was a big wind shift 20-30 minutes before, which is where the wind is sucked toward a distant squall, meaning we change our heading a little to stay at a constant wind angle for our sail set up.


It was very nice to see lights from land on our final night sail and also head in behind the shelter of Barbados to find flat seas. But not before some quite steep seas on the approach to Barbados as the ocean got shallower.

We wanted to arrive during daylight and found that we didn’t need to adjust the course or speed much to achieve this. We were approaching the island at 7am, around the corner and approaching the anchorage at 2pm, and checking into customs at 5pm, although we did have to go back at 9am the following day to finish our check-in as one of the key customs officers had gone home!

We spent some time walking on land, it was great, and had a delicious meal on shore, the rest of Barbados exploration is for future blog posts. Stay tuned!…

Day 73: Peniche

Day 73: Peniche

We got a little behind with writing blogs since hving folks on board, and since doing so many little hops down the coast of Portugal.

Day 73 saw us heading straight from Nazaré on to Peniche, the next sensible port of call down the coast on the way to Lisbon.

We set off early, so actually got to the anchorage before dark.

This meant we could have a nice relaxing evening rather than heading straight to sleep before the next day of sailing.

A tasty dinner was made, cooked during daylight hours while not sailing.

Also check out the new wok we bought in Figuera!!!! Much easier to cook for 3+ people

Day 71-72: Nazaré

Day 71-72: Nazaré

After a lovely time in Figueria, Andrew had rejoined the boat after his bout of COVID and it was time to head off to our next port down the coast, Nazaré.

We were a little apprehensive about coming into Nazaré knowing that this is the place which has recorded the biggest waves in the world, but fortunately, our day of sailing saw near 0 swell.

If you don’t know much about Nazaré you need to read about the North Canyon to see why the swell gets so large, or watch the waves on YouTube.

We apparently forgot to start the Navionics track when leaving Figueria, so half of the route is missing below.

Of course there were more dolphins along the way, this time doing something rather interesting… I checked in with a marina mammal expert, and yes they may be doing what you are thinking while enjoying the bow wave of Hannah.

Shortly after… Baby dolphins!

Due to the dropping wind in the evening, we had to motor the last couple of miles around the Nazaré headland and into the marina. Once again, we were entirely engulfed in fog.

We spent one of our free days before needing to get to Lisbon for Andrews flight here exploring on land.

That of course meant a trip to the headland to see the red lighthouse of Nazaré, the museum at the top as well as Praia do Norte from the headland. A shame there was no swell!

Sunset from the south beach
Adams Blog: Sailing month 1

Adams Blog: Sailing month 1

This is a bit of a recap, and behind where we are at the present day, but it includes a nice map of the whole journey in the first month as well as some thoughts on what it may have been nice to change.

Today we counted and we were sailing for 16 of 30 days in the first month, and that included spending ~4-5 days at a wedding in London!

Day 55-57: North of Porto

Day 55-57: North of Porto

In the last episode of the sailing blog we entered Portugal! Next stop Porto, where we say goodbye to Daisy.

Caminha cont.

We were planning on hopping to another anchorage down the coast but decided to have a day of exploration and relaxation instead.

The beach was lovely and long, and the sun was out. Needless to say we didn’t manage to walk the multiple kms of the entire length but instead got distracted trying to make our very own TikTok… (yes we know we are behind the trend but it’s still hilarious!)


We had to try and recreate one of our favourite TikToks for the first post on this account. Checkout the Instagram and blog for more serious sailing content. #foryoupage #avidikadivi #avidikidivi #portugal #beach #sailinglife

♬ original sound – DJHUNTS

And of course, the very tasty BBQ that I already mentioned in the previous post.

Journey to Póvoa de Varzim

Next stop, Póvoa de Varzim, a 37 nautical mile venture south.

We needed to time leaving the river at the point of least tidal flow which happened to be early in the morning.

I’ll avoid putting the exact time here, as to be honest I’m not sure. We had tide schedules in Azores summertime while being on the border of Portugal and Spain.. confusing, to say the least!

The tide dictated our exit from the river, and this put us out to sea without much wind. This led to a very wiggly and slow venture out to sea, before the wind swung and started to pick up guiding us toward our goal.

The sailing part of this hop was rather uneventful.

The fishing however was very interesting…

Catching a lobster pot

In the hour after leaving the river mouth, we came very close to a lobster pot buoy that was also connected to 2 other small buoys. We managed to mostly avoid the small buoys with the boat, however, the fishing line that was out at the time got snagged on a line between the 2 smaller buoys.

To retrieve our tackle we had to tack around, turn on the engine and approach the buoys with the motor on, managing to grab them out of the water and cut the needed bits of line.

Upon untangling the mess of line from our own lures, we found that we had acquired another hook with some line attached that must be from another boat that had got snagged on the same small buoys in the previous days.

Catching a seagull

About halfway through the journey, the line started reeling out a little then stopping. Almost like a fish bite that didn’t get hooked. It happened again and at the same time, Daisy said “What’s that seagull doing”.

Our lure must have caught some weed and surfaced, only to have a seagull dive on the lure thinking it was some tasty fishy food.

The engine went on once again, and another tack back to reel in this seagull without actually reeling it in and causing too much damage. We managed to pull the seagull out of the water, cover its head with a towel and slowly remove 2 hooks from it, one in the beak and one in its wing.

The caught seagul

After giving its wounds a rinse down with some sterile eyewash we put it on the foredeck and it quickly took flight heading for land, poor seagull, luckily we think it will be fine.

Póvoa de Varzim

Finally arriving in Póvoa de Varzim we were informed that there would be a festival with fireworks that night (dejavu from our arrival in Brest).

We wandered around the festival, bought some cake and generally had a look at what was going on.

But the main attraction would be the fireworks, which were being set off from the middle of the marina. In the picture below you can see the pontoons for the fireworks very close to the catwalk of the marina where the photo is taken from.

We decided to watch the fireworks from this calm and quiet marina location, and it’s one of the largest, loudest, and best firework experiences we have ever had.

The fireworks were so close you really couldn’t fit them all in your field of view at once.

Here is a little snippet from near the end of the show.

Journey to Leixões

The next hop on our way to Porto was Leixões.

One of the things that we had been worrying about in Portugal was the police possibly kicking out of anchorages, but we had no such problem in Caminha, so could only hope that the reviews we had seen on Navily were the exception rather than the norm. Leixões had a similar review saying that a boat had been told to move at 3am from the anchorage in the Port.

Our journey was another short hop down the coast. We probably should have left a little earlier as we arrived in Leixões after dark.

We anchored right in the corner of the anchorage, near 2 other boats and had no issues for the night.

You can see the anchorage on Navily here and read my full review.

When entering be aware that large ships may be entering or exiting the port. The anchorage is in the corner of the main area of the port, just the other side of the marina wall in a shallower area 2-4m chart depth. We anchored easily, close to the wall and out of the way of any ship movements and spent the night with 2 other boats (a Tri and another monohull), probably would have been room for another 4-6 boats without getting in the way of things. Good protection, though you will get some wake from pilot boats occasionally. There is some noise in the port, but we had a good sleep. Very muddy bottom when pulling the anchor up, lots of mud came up. No sign of the police, I can imagine if you anchor too far out they might ask you to move, we dropped anchor at 41°11.102N, 8°42.335W with the other 2 boats to our NW

To Porto

We primarily anchored in Leixões so that we could be as close as possible to Porto without actually being in Porto.

The sail the next day was only around 4 nautical miles and we were in Porto before 8am!

But let’s leave everything about Porto for the next post!