Thursday, January 14, 2016

Holiday: Cruise to America - Day 4: The Azores

So, here we are in Ponta Delgado, some 700+ miles off the west coast of Portugal. We arrived around four hours earlier than planned due to a medical emergency on board a few days ago. It was obviously serious enough for the Ship to proceed at full tilt.


The Ship actually docked around 1am and when we woke-up just before 7 it looked like a very wet morning. And the forecast (to keep us Brits happy) is more rain! On a positive note, the Ship was able to berth close to the town, so all we would need to do was get off and take the short walk to civilisation.

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Well, we didn’t rush, preferring to have a relaxed breakfast in the Britannia Restaurant and then with our engines stoked, we kept a regular lookout ashore for signs of life and perhaps, if we were lucky, some hint of finer weather.

Err, no: on both accounts. Ponta Delgada still looked deserted, and the weather was getting worse. But we couldn’t stay on board, as we were getting slightly ‘stir-crazy’ after so many days at sea. We dressed appropriately: Waterproof coats, cardigans, scarf - and a big dollop of optimism!

As our feet touched land, it was now pissing down and we were soon greeted by someone else with a sense of misplaced optimism - the Ship’s Photographer - on the look out for ‘couples’ photographs. We suggested in the most polite way that he was completely bonkers and carefully side-stepped his advances - before aiming for the town.

Once at our destination, the rain got worse. regular sightings of umbrellas turned inside-out with fellow passengers ahead of us doing perfect impressions of drowned rats convinced us this was going to be a quick, rather than detailed, study of the local area.

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Architectually speaking, the town was predominantly made up of buildings whose exteriors were black, grey and white in colour – not the ideal palette to bring out the best of a town when it’s pouring with rain, but I guess it would look a lot more interesting with blue skies. There were a fair number of shops, but like everywhere else, they all looked a bit sad in the rain. All-in-all, I don’t think there was that much to see of interest, although finer weather might have encouraged us to venture further inland.
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On a positive note though, it seemed that wi-fi was free everywhere!
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We struggled on, but the crap weather was getting the better of us. We headed back to the Ship easily taking first and second prize in the ‘drowned rat’ competition.
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I think we’ll remember Ponta Delgado for all the wrong reasons, but in a weird way, it WAS good to go ashore - even in the rain - after so many days at sea.

We spent the rest of the day drying-out and chilling until the Ship raised anchor and sailed at 4pm.

Another informal evening and another impressive menu in the Restaurant. AfterDinner, we decided  not to go the the Theatre, instead, we headed for the Chart Room and chilled-out until the canapes ran out! The clocks went back another hour tonight.

Next stop is Port Canaveral (after another six days at sea).

More news tomorrow…