“Keys, it’s packed here!” I yell at Vietz. Wind blows over the bay of Horta on File Island. The first step to enter is the anchor. Then test, wait for the results, clear the habits and cross your fingers that there is a place for you in the marina. I leave the anchor in the appropriate place when the rain flies horizontally. It soon turns out that what is said in the sailing guide is correct: the useless anchor and we happily scratch. The next attempt goes a little better, but then the boat in front of us looks like itching, and we have no time to leave. Witsey gets tired and goes back slightly to the port entrance. The iron work goes inside for the third time, and when I wipe the wet hair before my eyes, this time I feel my foot on the chain that it is OK. When Whitsey kicks back, the chain will be straight forward. Do nothing more than this. We are here!
Immediately we hear on VHF radio: “Brother Caroline, this is Romlia”. We see each other: Romlia? No bell will ring. We react and wonder when our first names are addressed. We are curious about the working channel: someone knows us well and we do not know who it is. Henk Dijk turns out to be a pleasant speaker and explains that he loves to read our columns. “I always feel like I’m on a ship with you,” he says. We get compliments with red cheeks.
Feet above the head
After three days we are allowed to come ashore. We celebrate it with Henk at the famous Peter Cafe game. “How much trouble have you had since Govt 19?” I ask him. “We were stuck in the Falkland for a year,” he says with Frisian sobriety. We retreat vertically. “Once we were able to get to Ushuaia in the south of Argentina, some options were still open there. My personal circumstances changed very quickly, so I had to make an urgent decision to hit the road. “Are you going back to the Falklands?” Whitsey asks. “No. I traveled alone for forty days from Ushuaia to St. Helena. I was not allowed to land there, they were closed at the time. There was nothing allowed: no food, water or diesel, no dentist for my broken tooth. I traveled to Ascension, where I was 24 hours. Time is gone. We listen breathlessly. “Then over 3000 miles, just like you” He concludes his account. “Is that why you’re so thin?” I ask carefully. “I’m eating a dizzy to gain weight again.” Returned to the Netherlands by boat. His son will be on the ship in a few days to go.
The next day we lay down comfortably in the marina and started on the work list. First, the shed must be removed from the top. The carpet of those bizarre scales sits on the harbor side: the lever side during the upward section. We clean and wipe, fill the laundry bags to the brim, and switch from ‘Marine Mode’ to ‘Coastal Mode’. After a few hours of floating, we go for a nice walk in the colorful painted quays. A broad smile gentle man approaches us. “You’re from Anna Caroline, aren’t you?” We nod to him eagerly. “Wings from the Wings where I lay. Our mutual friend Voter has asked us to celebrate your arrival with champagne. See you this afternoon! “We laugh at Wooder’s funny act and see the dozens of boats that lie here. Horta is such a fantastic hub in the Atlantic Ocean. We see friendly boats we know from New Zealand and boats we have met in South Africa.
France and Amelie are in the boat with the bubbles a few hours later. Their daughters, Milo and Rabian, travel around the les-optimists at Horta’s boat club. “Are you already installed here?” We listen carefully. “Yeah, we’ve get the levers back now,” Franz Greens said. Emily tells the story: “Last year we left the Netherlands with great plans for a great trip. Things have already gone wrong at Cape Verde: we were locked in there for a few months. Not an option to go to the Caribbean. We decided to travel to the Azores which gave us more opportunities to create follow-up projects. When we got here, a few months later, we knew it would take longer than we initially expected. We boarded the boat at Tersira and headed back to the Netherlands. We have a rental house since January and the boat is slowly getting ready for our second start as we leave ”. Frances points out the girls who go on her boat: “They have rowing lessons here, they ride horses, they have a great time. Azores are adults. ”
We are looking for a water sports store with a great shopping list. You don’t have to look long here at Horda. Again we run to the good Dutch people: Sandy and Marcel are the driving forces in a vibrant company that is fully equipped to solve all sorts of problems that sailors bring. We go through our list, and they set the motion. “Very simple,” says Weitz excitedly. “How did you end up here?” I look forward to another interesting story like this. “We were ready for a turning point. We started a P&B in Alcarve many years ago, but for the Azores we fell in love with the file and wanted to live here. Then we got these jobs. We were blown away, we will never leave this place,” says Sandy excitedly.
The next morning it was a party. We’ve already seen Wild Swan’s masts: a beautiful classic that anchored in the ocean. The rituals are obviously completed and they are located in a beautiful place. “Look, how do you do that?” He says with admiration to Vietz as he lies exactly right with a screaming shortcut to the 52-meter-long colon. On the rear deck, we see Hellman turning heads like a great athlete, with the rest of the team recording things like a well-oiled machine. A large Dutch flag flies in the background.
Appreciate the beautiful ship. Captain Richard Slottweck arrives and we make fun of: “Good boat”. He smiles and we start talking. The Wild Swan turns into a school ship: a group of children sail on it for half a year, while being taught. “It’s a lot of fun,” Richard explains. “These kids had to work very hard to get a place on the ship. They are motivated, eager and eager to learn. I still travel with my sexton every ocean, and it’s so much fun to share that knowledge.” I keep thinking ‘where do I know him’ when the coin falls. . “Amsterdam city?” I try. “Yes, I was a captain there for almost twelve years,” he says. “Absolutely top job in this world, I did it with great pleasure. But I wanted to do something else, and pull a string more often. So now I am a captain on many ships and I really enjoy the variety ”.
“What was the perfect day at sea for you?” Whitsey asks. Richard laughs: “Nice steady wind, good balance on the boat. So the boat does it itself, only you have to realize that everything is OK. Delicious ”. With that perfect image in our heads the three of us become silent. How lucky we are.
Horta, File, Azores, June 2021
See previous columns here H.
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