D1602 – Well drilled

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.


4 thoughts on “D1602 – Well drilled

  1. Hello Graham – Happy Easter! Lovely photos Graham. Are you having a good time in these smaller destinations…or is it a bit of an anti climax after Brazil etc?? Or a pleasant change? I realise that these questions may be difficult! Easter weekend has been a very British affair, again, this year. Beautiful Good Friday ( almost summer, but a lovely spring day), grotty Saturday, better today, storm tonight. John has a weeks holiday, so is slowly getting into the thought that he doesn’t have to drive back to London this evening. Poor Anne has had D&V over the weekend, the successor to this title from Sophia, then Ruth, then me; but perhaps Anne had something a bit different from us. Anne and John hope to join Catherine in Weymouth from Tuesday, and I will return to London tomorrow afternoon to resume guard duty with Sophia. The travelling is hard, and it is tiring but very enjoyable working to her daily schedule. Little Sophia seems to be well know in the Hampstead community, so it is very easy to chat to folks as we go round. Best bit? two hours sleep around lunch time, and we always have a nap to recharge our own batteries when she does this!! Well, by now I expect that you are well on your way to the next PoC and we will, as always, be fascinated to see and hear from you Graham. Have a great time Love and best wishes, Anne and John

    Date: Sun, 27 Mar 2016 15:54:42 +0000 To: john_neugebauer@msn.com


    1. Hi Anne & John, (belated) Happy Easter to you and your family too! Very sorry to hear about the health problems doing the rounds, and I hope Anne recovers soon. I’ve read about your pending storm, and I’m thankful to be so far south away from it all. Yes, I am very much enjoying this cruise, but as I suggested in my previous post, it’s quite a different style of cruise. My last one was being adventurous on my own in new places, this one is relaxed with friends in familiar places, and one makes a nice contrast to the other. Today was the first of three days at sea on our way to the Cape Verde Islands where we have two PoCs. Keep reading to find out how I get on! Love & best wishes to all Gx


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