Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Horta..

A bit of a disappointment!

We had a mixture of delightful sailing in almost flat seas, motoring in calms, and a bash to windward in a Force 6 on our final approach during which I cheated and motor sailed with a full main and 1/4 Genoa because I was too lazy to put a reef in the main for 1 hour's sailing.

We dropped anchor at 0800.

First we got our anchor fouled on an old chain on the bottom and despite setting a trip line and trying to haul ourselves clear, we remained firmly stuck. Prior to that I'd donned the wetsuit and goggles I had bought especially for such occasions but lying on the surface looking down into 20 feet of water I bottled out and  in the end we had to ditch the anchor and chain after boying it. Then we squeezed into the Marina and went in search of something to eat. By now I was starving having pumped the dinghy up twice and stowed it all gone ashore, waited absolutely ages to get checked in (a computer problem) albeit by a very friendly chap. I took pity on a Spaniard I got talking to while waiting and given he only had to check out I let him go first. Half an hour later....

Then the computer seemed to be fixed and I was processed in less than 10 minutes.

Anyway then we went in search of world famous (in boaty circles anyway) Peter's Cafe where for 15 minutes we were ignored by two snotty waiters and finally after getting yet another brush off we got the message and left and headed back to a Cafe with a grumpy waitress, but at least we got served.

On the way I went in search of a Diver despite being advised that they weren't working today because it was a public holiday. Things took a turn for the better because I found one straight away and yes he could rescue the anchor if I came back at 4.30. Wonderful.

So after lunch served by Ms Grumpy we met up with the Diver and his two crew. Jumped in their rib and out to the anchor and we went.



After 20 minutes the diver came up shaking his head and said it was a real mess down there. However he handed his mate the line we had previously tied to the anchor and went down again. His mate hauled away with gusto and lots of bubbles came up and eventually to our surprise and relief so did the anchor.


They then took us and the anchor back to the boat. It cost €50 but I was happy to pay it despite the views if my youngest!

Events at and experience of Horta (with the exception of the divers) were though rather disappointing, particularly given the evocative scenes we enjoyed during our approach...

Cone on Pico Island

and after all we had read about how fantastic Horta was and in particular Peter's. Also, Angra Do Heroismo had so much more going for it, partly due to its festival. By contrast, despite a packed Marina, the town at Horta feels dull and empty. Maybe it will cheer up tomorrow, when by the way, we head for Velas on Sao Jorge to rendezvous with Chris and Lorraine the previous owners of Arctic Smoke on the return leg of their circumnavigation.