After three days at sea, on Good Friday we sailed into our first port of call on this Island Hopping Cruise, Praia da Vitória on the island of Terceira in the Azores. Like all nine major islands in the Azores archipelago, Terceira is volcanic, being on the triple junction between the Eurasian, North American and African tectonic plates.
As we sailed in early in the morning the moon was setting, and the low cloud nestling over the hills behind the port looked a bit like snow:
The port is around the bay, about four miles from the town centre. The town buildings looked quite dramatic illuminated by the low rising sun:
Looking up at the bridge after we had docked, I noticed the captain was still getting directions from the local pilot:
Despite the size of the island, for some reason Fred. Olsen only manage to offer one shore tour from this port. I have visited Praia da Vitória twice before, and taken the tour each time (it was at different times of year), but I didn’t want to do it for a third time. I therefore elected to just take the shuttle bus into the local town and wander around there with my camera. I knew a lot of other passengers would also be taking this option, so decided to wait until after an early lunch to do this, to let the rush die down.
As it was a lovely sunny morning, albeit with a strong breeze, I settled on deck with my book. In my previous post, D1602–Spring Sun Island Hopping–Introduction, I described how this cruise is a replacement for my first cruise last year which was curtailed by an engine-room fire. My ears therefore pricked up when there was a tannoy announcement about a fire on board, and very shortly crew members in helmets and breathing apparatus appeared with fire hoses. In reality is was all a planned crew emergency drill, and it was reassuring to see their swift response. A little later almost all the ship’s crew performed an emergency evacuation to the dockside:
It was interesting to see the crew all assembled together, usually of course they are scattered all around the ship.
Following my lunch, I took the shuttle bus into town as planned. The bus dropped people up on the hill, so I walked down to the seafront:
The first thing I wanted to do was to climb up to a monument on the cliffs above the town, from which I thought there would be good views over the bay and town below. This photo (taken from the ship) shows where the footpath winds it’s way in the terraces up the cliff:
Even from half way up there was a good view of the bay:
As expected there were great views from the top – once I had got my breath back!
On the way back down I spotted this lizard basking in the sunshine:
Once back down in the town, I wandered around taking pictures of things that caught my eye:
I had walked the town on a previous cruise, so I knew the drill and where to find the churches and other interesting places – but it was good to see and photograph them again on such a bright sunny day.
I took the shuttle bus back to the ship, where we remained at our moorings until 11 that evening as it was just a short hop to our next port, which will be the subject of my next post tomorrow.