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Cruise Diary: Faial, Azores

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!

Horta is the chief town and seaport of the island of Faial, also known as Fayal, Portugal, one of the Azores, in the Atlantic Ocean. It was named Faial (Portuguese for ‘beech wood’) because of the abundance at that time (15th Century) of wax myrtle, mistaken for beech by the Portuguese. Faial is mountainous, rising to 3,000 feet above sea level, and is 14 miles long by 10 miles wide. Fishing, cattle, and farming are the principal occupations. Basket weaving, carving (from the white pith of the fig tree), and lace making (from agave thread) are widely done. Faial is the smallest of the three ‘Triangle Islands’ and an easy island to visit and get around. It has one of the main airports in the Azores and there are several ferries every day to Pico from Horta. When the first transatlantic cables were laid, Horta was the central communication station and many cable company offices were located here.

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There is one main volcanic caldera on the island. The walk around the rim follows rough paths and takes about 2 hours. Lower level walks abound in the event of misty weather and one particularly interesting area to visit is Capelinhos where in 1957 and 1958 several major eruptions occurred creating a volcanic peninsula and half burying a lighthouse.

Okay, so all that sounds great. Well, when we got there, Captain, in conference with the local pilots, etc., decided the anchoring conditions would be unsafe to get passengers on and off the tenders safely, so he decided to cancel the port stop. Many people were disappointed, but we are always in support of the Captain’s decision. So, the photos are all from the ship looking at the island. Looked pretty!!!

So, we were off to Bermuda. Actually, the Captain was able to arrange for us to go into Bermuda the afternoon before we were scheduled to arrive and be there overnight. That was a great plus!!! Thank you, Captain!!!

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