Our Port of Call in Ponta Delgada, Sao Miguel, Azores

The following is quoted from the Ships Daily Program:

Welcome to Ponta Delgada, Sao Miguel, Azores

“There are nine islands in the Azores.  The largest Sao Miguel, covers about 400 square miles, while the smallest, Corvo, its only 8 square miles.  Each island features at least one perfect natural harbor except Corvo.   Volcanic in nature, the islands rise steeply from the Atlantic Ocean and the shores are littered with rocks and pebbles.  Evidence of the Azores volcanic origin are the steam vents, boiling mud pools and hot springs of the Furnas Valley. The weather is temperate and the hills lush and green. The water is sparkling clean, and the Azorean people can only be described as warm and friendly. Mainland Portugal is 900 nautical miles east and Bermuda the nearest neighbor to the west is twice as far away…….”

Our table mate, Thor and I, had sort of agreed to met in the Crow’s Nest around 5 am.   I arose got dressed and headed up about 5:30 AM, but possibly Thor had already arrived, not seeing me and gone back to bed.  Anyway I got some coffee and returned just to savor the experience.  Setting at the bar facing the front of the “Observation Lounge” as HAL  now calls it , I had over a 180 degree view of the darkened sea before us. It was like sitting in a giant spaceship as it hurtled through space, with a gentle up and down, and side to side motion. Although it was still quite dark the sky was just starting to lighten as our course was eastward toward the dawn. The distant lights of Ponta Delgada were faintly twinkling in the distance and the light house in the vicinity of Ponta de Ferraria to our port beam were the only signs of civilization.

We sailed into this beautiful harbor and were alongside the brand new wharf with theBbarbara on Verandah gangway properly secured and open for early departing passengers at…8:00 AM.

Our tour ashore with Alan did not depart until after 9 AM so we were able to have a leisurely breakfast in the Lido.  Alan’s new plan (new to us) worked just fine as he now loads his busses according to the color of your tickets, and since ours are hot pink, today we loaded last, which was alright with us as we like sitting at the rear of the bus.  He rotates colors each port day so that all get a chance to sit toward the front.  No big deal for me. Of course when you have this large of a group it takes organization and Alan is a master of that,however there are some “turkeys” who don’t listen and that causes problems for all.

Our guide for today was a young “Azorean” named Wilson, and at times he wrestled with choosing the correct words, but  he speaks a whole lot better English than I do Portuguese.  Our driver, whose name I missed, did a masterful job of winding through narrow streets and finding nonexistent parking spots, and standing at the ready to come an fetch us after our short walking excursions.  The weather couldn’t have been better, although at times it looked like there would be rain, but the sun continued to beat back the menacing clouds.  We visited three excellent churches in the center of town, a botanical garden and then motored a fair distance to the edge of the city to visit an unusual method of growing pineapples in “glass houses” – their version of our “Green Houses”.  Of course the “plantation” had the obligatory gift shop, which did a brisk business, while serving free samples of their pineapple juice.  Back in the city center the majority of our group were dropped off near shopping and I returned to the ship  for a hamburger before returning ashore.

I always try to have at least one beer in each port we visit and that was my reason for going back into ashore.  A short walk from the magnificent new terminal and across the main street was a small sidewalk selling drinks and snacks.  I went inside and ordered my beer which the young lady opened and sat next to a glass on the counter.  We had purchased what we thought would be sufficient euros before we left home so I broke out my stash and handed her a 5 euro note.  She asked if I had anything smaller, cause she had no change and the charge came to 1.45 euros.  I said no and she responded with “That’s okay just take the beer!”  I was astounded at her generosity. Luckily there were a couple from our Cruise Critic group sitting nearby and I begged a couple euros from them and went back in a paid the young lady including a .55 euro tip for her trustfulness.  When I had finished my beer, Barbara happened to walk by and I hailed her for some change. Since she needed all the euros I had  she gave me two euros to pay our friend back and took my 20 to continue her shopping with.  In the end I got the better deal as she wanted the money to pay for a very nice polo shirt for me.Hot smile

There are several things that have always impressed me with the Portuguese people; their friendliness, the cleanliness of their cities, towns and countryside,and their use of local stone to build beautiful walls and buildings.  When we lived in Spain in the 70’s we had the opportunity to visit Portugal, and you could always tell when you crossed from Spain into Portugal by the cleanliness of the countryside.  Nothing has changed, even in these islands 900 miles removed from the mainland  Pictured here is a city worker with a modern-day one man street and sidewalk cleaning operation.

We move our clocks ahead one hour again tonight which will put us 8 hours ahead of the west coast. We have two more days at sea and then begins the “Port Intensive” days of this grand adventure.

I do receive an email anytime a comment is made to this blog, and I had a question about the two pieces of “something” alongside the towel bunny in a previous post – those are pieces of chocolate  wrapped  in gold foil, usually accompanied with a short message from the captain and crew – tonight’s message was about the clocks moving forward one hour. Disappointed smile

What’s Next? Not quite sure,but I hope I find something to write about that will be interesting. Till then, Good Night.

3 thoughts on “Our Port of Call in Ponta Delgada, Sao Miguel, Azores

  1. Larry says it’s time for a “turkey shoot”. Hopefully with our smaller group, we don’t have any turkeys. I look forward to getting your updates. It sounds like you two are having a great time.

  2. Thanks for the time info. We just got home from a community play and know you are just having your first early morning coffee. By the time we go to bed you will be taking Barbara her morning coffee.
    Will you be rested up by Sept. 24th? Look up the 35 day Circle Hawaii, Tahiti and Marquesas Islands on the Westerdam when you have a spare minute. Leaves from Seattle. Sounds like our next pick. Gwen

  3. What a great web log. I spend hours on the net reading blogs, about tons of various subjects. I have to first of all give praise to whoever created your theme and second of all to you for writing what i can only describe as an fabulous article. I honestly believe there is a skill to writing articles that only very few posses and honestly you got it. The combining of demonstrative and upper-class content is by all odds super rare with the astronomic amount of blogs on the cyberspace.

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