Our first destination after our west-to-east Atlantic crossing was Flores, Azores.
Flores, the easternmost island of the Azores archipelago, is a captivating destination known for its stunning natural beauty. With lush valleys, dramatic cliffs, cascading waterfalls, and secluded beaches
In 2019 the Port of Lajes das Flores was partially destroyed by Hurricane Lorenzo, and efforts to rebuild are still underway. A result of this means that the harbor was not fully protected by a breakwater, and inside the harbor, there are only minimal pontoons for use. You can find some images of the destruction and plan for the future in this article.
Escapade and Saga, 2 Dutch boats we know, were already moored in the harbor and had the situation all figured out. We were not able to moor in the main body of the harbor, but were able to use the inside quay wall and also optionally the outside quay wall. Anchoring was also an option, but we really wanted to be moored!
We started off rafted up in 4 columns, and over the next few days, 3 of these rafts would be 3 boats deep, with the outermost raft being 2 deep. So 11 boats on the inside harbor quay wall. Upon leaving there were 2 boats also rafted on the quay wall next to the anchorage, and 3 more boats in the anchorage itself.
The harbor master is lovely, and after a few days of being on the quay wall, we were informed that a new rule would be in place for future boats visiting, where they would only be able to stay on the quay wall for 48 hours before needing to move on. The quay wall is high, so expect to used your dinghy to get to the ladders!
Step one for us being back on land, food (that we didn’t have to cook), and bed (that isn’t rocking around or leaning over)!
We tidied the boat, did laundry (5EUR wash and 5EUR dry), and had a lovely free warm shower.
Boats we knew continued to arrive the day after us, bringing the full list to include us, Blue Note, Extress, Saga, Escapade and Atlas.
Walking up the hill to the small supermarket we got a little taste of what the other Azorean islands were likely to look like. Rather beautiful.
Unfortunately, as we spent our first days exploring the area around the harbor, the weather forecast looked like it was going to turn and push a large low-pressure system over right over the Azores, and sending swell straight toward and probably into the Flores harbor.
Most of us decided that we wanted to leave the harbor before this weather in a few day’s time, so started planning a departure, but also a quick tour and hike around some of the most beautiful nearby locations.
We found a tour and taxi number on the wall which lead us to Sílvio Medina who is easily contactable via WhatsApp, Email, Telephone etc. After some negotiations for hike length and pickup time our Friday plan had formed. Starting with an early morning boat shuffle as some people in the rafts wanted to leave, followed by a 9:30 am pickup, driving tour of the 4 large lakes, hike to a waterfall, and back down to a town for pickup. And then, head off to the other islands overnight.
Firstly from Miradouro Lagoas Rasa e Funda we could see Lagoa Funda das Lajes and Lagoa Rasa, two lakes that are at dramatically different heights.
Next, we had another 2 large lakes, right next to each other. These were Lagoa Funda and Lagoa Comprida which are very different depths and also very different colors!
We were dropped in a car park where we could both start our main hike down into Fajã Grande, but first, hike up to a waterfall called Poço Ribeira do Ferreiro (Alagoinha). There was a beautifully maintained path to the fall, and a large still lake just beneath it.
The hike then took us through some of the greenest lands we have seen since being in the mountains of Santo Antão in Cape Verde. So many green fields, cows, European wildlife, water, and high green cliffs.
We continued down toward Fajã Grande, where we could see one boat at anchor and another that was just leaving to avoid some swell.
Just before reaching the town we stopped at one final waterfall.
Overwhelmed with our first “long” walk of the month, we headed into town to our pickup point for a burger and drink right next to the ocean.
We stopped in at the shop again on the way to the harbor, picking up some frozen pizzas for our night sail, and arrived back at the harbor at around 3pm and started getting ready to leave. We topped up our water tanks with a few jerry cans full of water, had a final on-land shower, and cast our lines to start heading on to the other islands.
After 30 minutes the lines and fenders were stowed, pizzas were in the oven, and the dolphins were back, escorting us on our night motor sail (not much wind at all).
And at the time of writing this, we are roughly 3 hours from our next port of call 🙂