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Cruise Diary: Azores, Portugal

Five-Star Mariners Jan and Dick Yetke set sail on Prinsendam’s 64-day Grand Mediterranean Voyage in March, and we’ll catch up as quickly as possible. Enjoy the journey with Jan and Dick!

Now headed back across the Atlantic with just a few stops left. Today we docked in Ponta Delgada, Azores. This is a beautiful island that’s got a very nice town in it.

We signed up for and took the ship’s tour: Whale and Dolphin Safari. This was a three-and-a-half-hour tour out on a Zodiac with 12 seats, two-by-two, facing forward. What an adventure it was!

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We were taken to the base shop of the tour operator at a marina where we were briefed on what we hoped to see, suited up in pants and jacket rain gear and an orange life jacket. It was a cool, cloudy day so we had dressed in layers ourselves, all of which we had on under the gear they gave us.

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We went fast out to sea —probably about 5 miles to where the “spotters” had radioed there was a whale. Whale Ho! Yes, we did see a Finn Whale. We hung around there watching her lay on the surface, do a few “blows,” some shallow dives, and back to the surface. That was it for whale 1.

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Then we rushed over to another area where some dolphins had been spotted and we watched them for a short time. Then the rain was moving in and it was time to return to the marina, so we hurried back there. Like I said, it was an adventure. Would have been nice to see more of the wildlife, but there are never any guarantees.

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Dick and I did not take the tour bus back to the ship, we just walked back. It was a very nice stroll through town and along the waterfront! We had been there before but it was nice to refresh our memories.

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You were not allowed to walk all the way to the ship since we were docked in a commercial container pier so they provided a complimentary shuttle bus. We found where to board the bus and got back to the ship. Just as we were boarding the ship, the rain came, and it rained quite hard all afternoon. So, we were happy we had done what we wanted to do!

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Some Info: the volcanic Azores Archipelago, situated on the active mid-Atlantic ridge is a group of nine islands. The largest, Sao Miguel, is about 400 sq. miles, while the smallest, Corvo, is only 8 sq. miles. Each island features at least one perfect natural harbor, except Corvo. Summer weather is always fair, and the islands are unmatched in terms of charm. The water is sparkling clean, and the Azorean people are naturally hospitable.

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Ponta Delgada has been the capital city of Sao Migual or Saint Michael since 1546 A.D. Due to their location, the Azores became a rendezvous for the Spanish treasure ships laden with riches traveling home from the New World. In more recent times, its location again thrust the Azores into the political arena. During World War II, the islands of Lajes and Santo Maria were important air bases and centers of communication between the U.S. and Europe.

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A 1951 agreement gave the United States rights to use defense facilities in the Azores. Volcanic in nature, the islands rise steeply from the Atlantic Ocean and the shores are littered with rocks and pebbles. As recently as 1957-58, the eruption of the volcano Capelinhos enlarged Faial Island. 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.

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1 Comment
  • Sheila Mayville

    thanks for your interesting account of visiting the Azores and your wonderful pictures. We would love to visit there sometime, as we have been to Portugal and loved it. Appreciated your sharing your adventure.

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