2023 Summer Training Cruise

The Azores!

Posted on: June 5, 2023

Time 1200

Lat: 37° 35.5’ N

Long: 029° 03.7’ W

Good Afternoon! We are currently making way for Gibraltar.

The Azores were unbelievable! The islands were dramatic and brilliantly green. The people were incredibly kind and helpful as students explored the island. I was on deck maintenance on the morning when we came into the harbor, so I was part of the team of students and crew that line handled. I was on the bow where the Chief Mate was conducting the operation, deciding which lines to haul in or slack and communicating to the bridge how the lines on the bow were coming along. The Mate started the pre-task brief with a question to the students on what the goal was. A student answered correctly, “To tie up safely”. The Mate reminded everyone that 90% of good seamanship is planning. I was on the working head of the winch for the bowlines and threw wraps on the drum to gain more friction. It was an incredibly exciting but serious job that required clear, calm communication and full attention the entire time. We tied up quickly and safely and moved on to the trash offload operation. Liberty is granted once all daily tasks are completed, and the ship is clean and tidy. On Day One of the Azores, all students had to do was offload trash, which didn’t take long, and we were set loose at 12:30. I hopped on my bike (I suggest if it is an option on future cruises that everyone considers it), and explored Ponta Delgada. The weather was very warm and tropical but with a nice breeze. The city streets are mostly cobblestone, and the city was overwhelming after having not been in a bustling city setting in a while, so I went back to the ship to change and get ready for a bike ride.

I saw a volcanic mountain in the distance and decided that is what wanted to explore. The trip to Lagoa do Fogo ended up being much more biking than I anticipated, but the journey up the mountain was incredible. I passed through several small towns and hilly pastures that were full of cows. The vertical up the mountain was ridiculously steep, so I hiked the last two miles up the switchbacks. A large cloud prevented a view of the entire, island, but I was so happy to be at the top it didn’t matter. There is a pool of electric blue water in the crater at the top surrounded by mossy, rocky structures radiating cool air, which was appreciated. I tried to take the same route back down the mountain, but I would see a interesting street with lots of mosaics or a brightly colored house and take a detour. I cruised through three or four quiet towns and finally reached the ocean. I made my way back to the ship, where I met up with some friends and went to some hot springs! The hot springs were on the coast far from the city. We parked and made our way down to the ocean to a rocky cropping with a small inlet where the waves would bring in fresh Atlantic salt water. As the water level rose, steam would rise out of the rocks, and warm water would radiate from deep underwater. After a long bike ride, and weeks of sleeping in a narrow bunk, it was amazing. And that was only my day one! Students visited swimming holes, pineapple plantations, caves, and beaches, went surfing, and enjoyed amazing seafood, local cheese, and steaks. The next day some friends and I took a taxi to another set of hot springs, which were fresh water. After, I went back to the ship to change and join up with another group to have some seafood and gelato by the water. On the last day I walked around visiting shops and enjoying my time off the boat. By the marina, there was a city swimming pier that was an amazing place for enjoying the brisk Atlantic.  It was absolutely the busiest three days of my life, and I will absolutely try to come back! I am hoping to gather more photos from everyone’s adventures.

– Stay Tuned

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