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22nd February, 2015

Ponta Delgada, Sao Miguel, Azores

High pressure dominated, but instead of clear blue skies we arrived at our final Azores destination in mainly overcast conditions, not black or stormy, just a light grey cloud that hid the higher ground.

Just a light northerly breeze came down over the mountains, enough to make it feel just a little chilly. With my desk cleared, I tagged along in the afternoon on the Jeep Safari tour. A pleasant ride, sat next to the lady driver, motoring along the south coast to the west, eventually climbing towards the crater of Sete Cidades. The country roads were surrounded by green fields of grazing cattle; carefully trimmed hydrangeas lined the roadside, and not a trace of litter. We stopped from time to time, taking in the views, the first being at the crater’s edge looking down towards the twin lakes below. We continued along the rim over a dirt track, which is apparently used for very fast international rallying on occasion. With steep drops on either side that seemed a little too adventurous to me, fortunately we bumped along at a sedate speed, hardly noticing the odd lurch from side to side as our four wheel drive was navigated carefully around the largest of the potholes.

It was a relaxing four hours, stopping at a quiet village near the water’s edge where the only excitement seemed to be locals playing an energetic game of dominoes in a small coffee shop. The scenery was beautiful, and in spring and summer it must be magnificent. This itinerary would be a great option for the summer months. We eventually came back into town via another route, taking in some magnificent views of both the north and south coast. The late afternoon sun was intermittently reflected from some of the coastal stretches, the higher distant mountains, however, were still shrouded in cloud.

Captain Philip Rentell

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