Trans-Atlantic 2008 - Flores

     Home     Trans-Atlantic home page      Sailing home page  

(Double click to see full size, then use the back button on your browser to return here)

Flores is the closest of the Azores to Bermuda, and we felt the most beautiful.  It is relatively undeveloped, with only about 4,000 population.  Everything is very well kept, and the people friendly.  Services are limited, but who cares?

The island was originally called Ilha de Thomas, but was renamed to a couple of hundred years ago because of the abundance of flowers.

There was no human habitation till about 1500, so it seems many of the flowers were natural.

This photo was taken on an old cobbled road on the cliff above the anchorage.  It is ever provided with shady seats, and (not shown) a barbecue spot.

Until about 15 years ago there was no secure anchorage in Flores.  In 1980 we had to anchor in 130 feet of water, using 690 feet of anchor line, and relied on calm weather.

Today, there is a breakwater sheltering a small beach at Lajes in the SE corner of the island.  It is quite sheltered except in winds from N through east, when conditions  may range from rolly to untenable.


The old town of Lajes overlooks the port.  In the past, this was one of the few spots where attackers could land on the steep shores, so it was fortified.

We are the closest boat under the gun, so were pleased that it is long past being workable.

(Double click photos to see full size, then use the back button on your browser to return here)

The island has steep sides about 500 metres high, mostly dropping to the sea, with some flatter valleys. 

The steep sides have many high, thin waterfalls, even in the dry summer.

The apparently flat fields in the photo above are heavily terraced as seen here.

The walls supporting the terracing  are dry stone, often impressively high. 

There are dozens of old volcanic craters, mostly under 50 m diameter, but some quite large and full of water, with no visible exit, like this one.

Most of the coast is too rough for landing, even in the settled summer weather when we took this shot.

People build things to last, with all construction except the most recent being in stone. Recent work is on concrete.  No trailer parks, plastic shelters or other temporary work.
Even this mailbox is in stone.
The bridges are solid, and represent an impressive amount of work since they predate major construction machinery.

Even the street signs are made to last.

There are lots of festivals in the Azores in summer, often a mix of religious activities, folk music and rock bands.

This one was to celebrate that start of the fishing season, and ensure good catches.  After church everyone was served a large meal of fish, wine etc.  they refused a contribution to it from us, saying that they wished only for a good fishing season.

        Home     Trans-Atlantic home page      Sailing home page