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Praia Da Vitoria, Azores

Saga Sapphire blog - Captains' blogs

2nd November, 2014

Since our departure from Southampton on the 29th we have been extremely fortunate with the weather, some overcast and rainy conditions for a while, but only to be expected on our journey deep into the Atlantic. The low pressure systems and big swells stayed well to the north, the sky cleared on our final sea day and as we approached the island there must have been a million stars visible in the sky. The sun rose for our arrival alongside in Vitoria, the charming sheltered port on the east side of Terceira, and it was positively warm as I stood on the quayside greeting those passengers eagerly off on their tours.

That part of the island visible across the bay had, in the main, a very rural appearance, rich green fields rising into high ground to the north west where the ubiquitous wind turbines could be seen dominating the skyline. The town with its historic church lay nestled in the low hills further to the north while closer to the port a certain amount of light industry was evident by the odd trail of smoke or minor activity. This is not, I believe, a place where the inhabitants feel the need to rush around too much, and it was a Sunday.

Tours around the island and to the island's capital, Angra do Heroismo, were blessed with good weather. Angra in particular is one of my favourite little towns, characteristically Portuguese and with wonderful views to the south. In times gone by it was the safe anchorage where sailing vessels would come to supply and victual, so it has some splendid architecture which reflects its importance on the Atlantic trading route. The ‘Duke’s Garden’ looks down over tiled roof tops towards the centre of town and the 16th century church of Se, which is also known as the Mother Church of the Azores.

We departed in the afternoon, by which time the north westerly wind was becoming just a little gusty. As we departed the harbour there was an exchange of whistles, a departing gesture of friendship. We turned to the south west on our voyage across the ocean, the next landfall will not be for five days. The Windward Islands beckon.

Captain Philip Rentell

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.

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