Today we left Angra do Heroísmo, 10 months after we arrived there and 364 days since we left Florida on our transatlantic voyage. Why the huge delay? Because we are not in any rush and really wanted to experience the Azores.
After being there a few weeks, we learned that the window to make it to Portugal had closed and it would be unsafe to venture on until May the next year.
We spent that time rebuilding and refitting the head and galley, making upgrades and changes that we have been talking about for years but never had the time to execute them. Now we had the time, so we spent 6 months working on the boat and making her look brand new again, 51 years after her hull was produced.
So, the time has come and we had to say goodbye to the place we called home for so many months. Leaving a place will show you how much of an impact you have had there by how many people will come and say goodbye. All of our friends as well as people from the town that we had come to know well all came by to see us off on our voyage.
We scooted out of the marina quietly with our electric motor, then raised the sails quickly since we have a make-shift battery bank at the moment. We began tacking out of the harbor in what seemed like a washing machine! Ocean waves pounded into the harbor only to reverberate off the rock walls in the harbor. You are literally being hit from sides by towering waves.
The forecast for that day and the next few days was light winds (8-15 knots, no gusts) but we had steady winds of 20 knots! We all know how accurate forecasts are!
Once we made it clear of the harbor and Monte Brazil, we turned onto a broad reach to leave and clear the island.
As we sailed around the island, we could see all our favorite towns and the towns where our friends lived. We now have a deep connection with this tiny island in the middle of the ocean. As the sun set and the island lights turned on, we slowly sailed away into the darkness of the ocean, watching the little lights dim out on the horizon.
We are cruising once again.