Sailing from Bermuda to Azores – Arrived at Flores Island

(July 16, 2017) Appreciation and Pride! It is the wind and a few hours of motoring that took us to Flores Island in the Azores SAFELY, 13 days and 6 hours crossing the Atlantic Ocean after leaving Bermuda. A total of 1,874 nautical miles. Remarkably respectfully, and thankfully, we didn’t have any boat issues during this trip. We used only a total of 17 gallons of diesel for 13 days to run the generator (for water maker and freezer) and to run the engine only about 12 hours.

About 40 miles away from the island, John said to me ‘Land Ho’ quietly. I thought he was joking, not from this far… Yes, we were seeing the islands even 40 nautical miles away. (About 48 land miles = 77 kilometers) Two islands (Corvo and Flores) are on the horizon with clouds on the top in the clear blue sky.

We wanted to enter the harbor during daylight. For last four hours, we had to motor-sail to speed up. The marina in the Flores is much smaller than we thought. There was hardly space for us. We squeezed and managed to raft up to another boat with a little help. We were not thrilled about tying up with another boat but we wanted to be at the marina rather than at the anchorage. However, the owner of the boat (we tied to) showed up later and told us that we cannot. We are new in this part of the world (European Island). We apologized him and untied. Later, we found out he has no right to say it. It is typical to raft up boat by boat here.

Not having a space to secure our boat at the marina, we came out to anchor. We were seeing lots of rocks around and we struggled to settle. Our anchor was not holding on the bottom. It was getting dark. We decided to dock at the empty commercial ship dockage for a night. When we were somewhat sleeping, someone was calling us. There will be a freighter coming soon and we have to leave. He kindly suggested to dock at a container ship dockage because it will be okay for a few days. Other than leaving for another island (a day of sailing), we moved to a new commercial dock with huge truck tire fenders hanging down with rusty chains. Not wanting any black skid marks around on the boat, we used all of our fenders to protect us from them. This was not exactly what we planned. What can we do. Let us rest. We toasted a glass of wine rather uncheerfully which forced us to relax. On the next day, we tried to anchor again. No problem this time.

We haven’t cleared customs or immigration on this island yet. Before we land, we want to make sure our boat is securely anchored. That way, it doesn’t end up on a rock or drifting out to the open ocean. The island looks beautiful. There is a festival going on (Immigration Day Festival) on the island. We are so looking forward to seeing the island. ‘Gun-Bae’ (cheers in Korean) for everyone who wished us well for crossing the Atlantic. There are more oceans to cross but we are thrilled by safely arriving.

Crossing the ocean by sailboat, takes lots of trust and patience. Yet, there are many people who are doing it. Pretty much everyone in the marina has crossed ocean. All different people from different backgrounds, and countries. Having this new journey, I look at them and realize there should be a strong character in that person.

PS: I learned a lot about sailing from this trip. Feeling the combination of wind and pressure, size and angles of sails, direction to go, and speed of the boat, slowly and naturally it is getting into me. This is how all the ancient sailors did it with feeling rather than the knowledge of physics or geometry.

***We still have no access to the Internet.

Kay Chung at Flores Island in the Azores

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