Arrival in Santa Maria - May 24th

55 miles  and we reached Santa Maria, famous for white beaches and ..........a lot of chimneys!

Still looking good after over 1000 miles

Still looking good after over 1000 miles

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Shame that there is little wind and overcast -but the many shades of green are wonderful on this small island.

Shame that there is little wind and overcast -but the many shades of green are wonderful on this small island.

The small church of de Nossa Senhora dos Anjos, Baìa dos Anjos, Santa Maria 

The small church of de Nossa Senhora dos Anjos, Baìa dos Anjos, Santa Maria 

giving thanks in the steps of Christopher Columbus and his crew.

giving thanks in the steps of Christopher Columbus and his crew.

Festa del Santo Cristo, Ponta Delgada

Yesterday , another interview with the people at Caterpillar [Rai 2 ] the Italian radio programme, here is the link to the podcast

http://www.radio.rai.it/podcast/A45640659.mp3

Save the Nerd  forever at Ponta Delgarda -thanks to the artistic efforts of the Milanto crew.

Save the Nerd  forever at Ponta Delgarda -thanks to the artistic efforts of the Milanto crew.

By an extraordinary stroke of luck Friday was the very special day of the year in Ponta Delgada, The largest religious festival in the Azores is the “Festa do Senhor Santo Cristo dos Milagres”, (meaning the Festival of the Christ of Miracles). This  takes place on the 5th Sunday after Easter. A statue of the Christ is paraded through the city, and then returned to the convent at Esperança. There are street stalls, a fair, and a great crowd. Brilliant and the lights are stunning.

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Magical evening!

Magical evening!

The Captain and crew happy to be on terra ferma.

The Captain and crew happy to be on terra ferma.

Our last day in San Miguel.

Christopher Colombus , on his first crossing was caught in a storm to the North of the Azores which was a serious risk to his fleet. He made a promise to hold a mass for all the crew the first place that they could safely land. This turned out to be the Baìa dos Anjos on the NW coast of Santa Maria. Here they came ashore and held the ceremony is the small church of Nossa Senhora dos Anjos leaving half the crew on board as a precaution. This was a wise more as the Portugese authorities areted the Spanish sailors, accusing them of spying. Columbus had to sail to the larger San Miguel in order to get the men released. the little chuch still exists , you can see the porch, a  Gothic archway and the altar all exactly as Columbus would have seen that day.

Tonight we are leaving again and in the 'footsteps' of Columbus - having come out unscathed from a bad storm - we too will visit Santa Maria. Here in the Azores we have met  welcoming and kind locals and many have been interested in our project  'Save the Nerd'. We have managed to rest a little and restocked Milanto for the second section of the transatlantic to Gibraltar. Filippo has managed to stay off every device and it is amusing watching him staring into the window of an internet cafe! It should be easier in Santa Maria which is said to have remained  a traditional agricultural community and so a slower pace of life. In front of us the ocean waves are breaking on the rocks of this volcanic island ,bright green fields in the distance, vinyards which reach to the sea, the white houses covered in blue flowers and the important architecture , a gorgeous colonial Baroque reminisant of Jesuit Portugese architecture. I'll admit it here that going back to sea is not easy!

May 20th

For the last two days the dreadful news of the possible sighting of Cheeky Rafiki , the 40' Beneteau upside down in the rough seas. Andrew and the others had been in Antigua,  he'd  left a day or two after Milanto I think . Cheeki Rafiki crew onboard was  Andrew Bridge ( captain) , James Male,  Steve Warren and Paul Goslin and are hopefully in their life raft waiting to be found. We have received message from both the organisers of the ARC rally  -World Cruising and one of their daughters. Unfortunately we are miles away from where the yacht was last sighted. We are devastated and our thoughts go out to all their family and friends.

Valerio

Detox now at  50% The sea was totally flat,looks like metal, there is a low fog and giant Portugese men of war (jelly fish) are everywhere around us. It feels like we are in a primeval swamp and we are using the motor to try and escape as going nowhere is what tries one's nerves more than anything in the middle of the ocean. Now we have 20 kn of wind, no sleep all night trimming the sails and drying out the inside of Milanto so my only moment off was to write this blog. Of course moral is really low due to the news of Valerio's friends. We still do not have the co-ordinates but think that they were going further north than us when the storm hit last Thursday. it of course makes you very aware that there is only 13 metres of yacht between us and the sea. So we are all sending our best for their safe return.

Lorenzo

 

Thanks for the great comments so far...................

We have decided to alter our direction .Basially the wind decided for us so instead of going to Horta in the Azores which is close (144 miles) we have changed and going to Ponta Delgada (250 miles)- It is located on São Miguel Island, the largest and most populous of the Azores

Volcanic beauty

Volcanic beauty

Position  at 16 30 UTC  36 58 N 30 57 W. course 80

Be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves.” (Matthew 10:16).

This is why , in Medieval and Renaissance imagery  Prudence holds a snake in one hand and a mirror in the other to see behind her. This has been our method for the last two days, slipping between one storm front and another, snake-ing along the edges of the 'eye'. We still had strong gusts of wind which tested the crew to the limit but the strategy  set out by our tactically wily Captain Valerio appears to be a winner and we are now running along with 25 knots of wind. The genoa is 'butterflied'  and the three metre rollers are pushing us towards the Azores. Having come out unscathed by the danger each and every one of us feels strengthened  and happy to have been through this experience which really  hit us hard and we are now stronger friends for it. The waves are breaking under strong sunshine and the whales are showing their tails in the distance.

Lorenzo

 

It is so pathetic -I actually dreamt about Facebook, the dream had no sense and was totally insignificant but  it is still embarrassing even to write this! I cannot even post it if I wanted to until I arrive anyway. Beside the odd email that we are writing just to let people know we are alive we are totally out of contact. Last night Stefano and I tried to communicate with a passing Korean cargo boat. the reply we got was from an ancient old women who listed a litany of misadventures. So be it. The ocean is truly a weird place. Thirteen days now spent in 13 metres and we have not been driven mad......or maybe we just have not noticed! So I am leaving you with a question: if , in your spare time, if you had no social media, what you you get up to? Please go on the the Save the Nerd website and we will add your comments to our research and documentary.

Filippo

posiTion 32 03 N 39 37 W  //detox 35%//-  650 miles to the Azores
Position at  22:45:04 BST  16 May 2014

Position at  22:45:04 BST  16 May 2014