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19th February, 2013

Ponta Delgada, Azores

Due to their geographical location in the middle of the North Atlantic halfway between Europe and America, west of Finistere - about 700 nautical miles from mainland Europe and 1100 nautical miles from Newfoundland, the closest point of the Americas – the Azores have been the maritime equivalent of a cross roads for centuries, an umbilical cord to the new world from Europe.

Situated at the junction of three tectonic plates – the Eurasian, African and the American – the archipelago was literally thrust up out of the sea from the restless tectonic and volcanic activity of the region. The black volcanic stone that has been embraced by the sea and weathered by the Atlantic storms has provided fertile land upon which flora and fauna have thrived. If you were to describe the Azores in one word it would be “green”. More so than that of England’s green and pleasant fields, and more so than that of the Emerald Isle.

After six sea days of blue sea, the green of Sao Miguel, the island upon which the Archipelagos first city, Ponta Delgada was built, would be a welcome change for our passengers. Fully rested from the hectic schedule of the Caribbean, our passengers were raring to go and plant their feet upon terra firma once more. The crossing was a good one, sandwiched between the effects of two low pressure systems on their journey towards Europe; Saga Sapphire enjoyed the fair weather afforded by our fortuitous situation with only a low Atlantic swell to accompany us. Had we left a day earlier or a day later, the pleasant journey under blue skies, would have been more of an ordeal than a holiday, and our ability to dock in any of the ports in the Azores would have been “touch and go” at best. Such is the nature of this ocean and its weather systems.

Docking in Ponta Delgada in the South of the Island it was noticeably colder at 16 degrees Celsius than on previous days. A cloudy morning with the promise of a brighter afternoon, greeted our passengers as they disembarked to explore the magical island, and enjoy a short respite before we resumed our Atlantic crossing heading for Lisbon and another two days at sea.

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.