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29th January, 2016

Vitoria, Azores

We made our approaches towards the Azores and the island of Terceira early on Friday evening. By 5pm our pilot had joined me up on the Bridge, a jovial fellow who informed me that he was in fact the only pilot now on the island. As I navigated the vessel through the breakwaters, turned through 90 degrees and moved astern onto our berth the pilot chatted away and shared with me his family history, the state of the Portuguese shipping industry, his thoughts on how to improve the local economy and, much more controversial, who he would put in charge of Manchester United football club! It made the time pass quickly and by 6pm we were safely tucked up alongside in the shelter of the harbour.

Following a relaxing night’s rest many of our passengers were up early the following morning and ready to explore what is one of our lesser visited destinations. There were 3 tours this morning, the first to depart being the ‘Panoramic Drive’ This tour introduced our guests to the beautiful area around the town of Praia da Vitoria. It commenced with a drive along the coast, passing well-preserved traditional villages, such as Porto Martins, with views of the coast and the three bays known as the Enchanted Bays. The next destination was the village of Sao Sebastiao, situated on the east coast. This historic village is proud of its heritage, and has a number of interesting buildings such as the Igreja Matriz or main parish church, famous for its Manueline-style doorways, late Gothic frescoes and for its Chapel of the Holy Ghost.

With everyone safely aboard, and no doubt appreciating the chance to have touched land, we welcomed the pilot back on board and I decided to allow our Staff Captain Alex to complete the departure manoeuvre. It’s a case of full speed ahead now as the second leg of our journey across the pond commences, next stop the Caribbean, rum punch and (fingers crossed) sunshine….

Captain Wesley Dunlop

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