Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Bermuda to Flores in Nine Thousand Words

2011 07 12

Porto Das Lajes, Flores, Azorean Chain, Portugal

 39 22.72N
031 19.18W

We are here.  Twenty Four Days after departing St. Georges Bermuda we have made landfall in pretty Porto Das Lajes on Flores Island, one of the Azorean Islands.

Right you see us approaching the "Town Cut", only way in or out of St. Georges Bermuda.

Most of the trip was slow, sailed under extremely light winds which ranged in velocity from 3 to 8 knots.  Winds exceeded ten knots for only 36 hours or so on the entire journey.  

Fortunately we were supplied with a "cruising chute" or gennaker, a gossamer thin sail of finest nylon silk which would pick up any breeze at all.  Reluctant users of this sail previously it has become second nature for us to bend on this marvellous invention.  

 For the past 15 days the gennaker has flown almost nonstop - even overnight.

There were days and nights when the wind was not sufficient even to draw the impossibly light film of this impressive sail into form and those nights we drifted, halyards clanging and sails beating themselves to death as the swell continued to roll and roll and roll...

In the ordinary course of any sail things break and must be fixed.  
Even crew are not immune.

 Unlike lake sailing there is treasure to be found on the high seas, the bounding main and this compensates for much of the hardship.

Two days out from Flores we calculated we were two days out from Flores.  Our speed at the time was 3.5 to 4 knots.  Almost immediately the wind fell to 3 knots and our speed to 2.  

As it turned out this was a bit of good fortune.  That afternoon we came upon a monster whale lazing about the surface blowing geyser after geyser of flume into the air.  This whale we learned today has been in the waters for several days and has been measured at 20 metres in length.  Very impressive.  No pictures.  We were too busy watching.

One day out from Flores we calculated that we were two days out from Flores.  Our speed at the time was 2.5 to 3 knots.  This gave us a timely approach to Porto Das Lajes and we would arrive about 1200 z.  Almost immediately the wind built to 14 knots, an almost frightening velocity given our history on the ocean.  We arrived at the south end of Flores about 0300z in total dark.  Not willing to enter any strange harbour in the dark we hove to and slept.  

Awaking at 0700z we finished the journey in no time at all.  Now we will sleep in Porto Das Lajes.

Good night.

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