Trans-Atlantic 2008 -  Horta

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Horta, on the island of Faial, is well known in sailing circles as the crossroads of the North Atlantic.  Until recently, it was the only really secure harbour in the Azores, and is well known as being friendly to cruising yachts. When we passed through Horta in 1980, there were about 100 yachts a year visiting.  today there are slightly over 1000, and the quiet harbour that we had anchored in is now a marina.

The town is just the right size to have reasonable services, but small enough to walk everywhere.  Cruising sailors tend to spend a while there, enjoying the climate, the social life and the opportunity to tour the island and its high, volcanic, neighbour, Pico.

The weather was mostly sunny, with light winds all five weeks we were in the Azores.  The locals say it is cold and windy in winter, but after discussing the details, we concluded that most of them have no idea what cold is.  Overall, it s a great climate.

Michael is sitting on the bow pulpit is the typical foul-weather clothing for the region.

Pico is the dominant natural feature when in the Horta  marina, but is rarely completely clear of clouds.  This early morning shot was the only time it was completely clear in a week

Milvina is visible amongst the crowd (tallest mast in the photo).

The multi-coloured sea-wall behind the boats is covered with the pictures that yachts passing Horta traditionally paint.

This shot looking along the sea-wall shows about 10% of the pictures on the docks.  Some are magnificent works of art, while others are pretty crude.


The ship is an inter island ferry that came in every second day or so. 

Pico is wearing its usual cloud cap in the background. Refer to the Pico page for photos.

Our own painting effort it below, with one of the best in Horta beside it.  We met Robert and Gill on Myriad in Flores, and had a very enjoyable time touring with them.

Like all the Azores, Faial is volcanic.  This was brought home rather dramatically to the residents in 1957 when an eruption at the far end of the island from Horta added about a mile to the length of the island, and destroyed two villages. 

The lighthouse in the photo used to be at the West end of Faial.  It's burned out skeleton is now in a useless spot for a lighthouse.

The island is quite hilly, and intensively farmed.

To avoid making cattle wear themselves out walking, the farmers move their small herds from pasture to pasture every few weeks or so, taking a portable milking system with them.

Notice the hydrangea hedges in the background.

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