Horta, at anchor – June 10

More excitement than a bag of cats

Around mid-morning, things started to become unhinged.  The less-than-ferocious wind had shifted 90 degrees since arrival, encouraging the swell coming into the harbor and putting a new pattern of stress on all our tie lines.  Lines were inspected and new ties were devised; all for naught.  The swell and swinging mass of boats (about 175 tons in the case of the 3-wide tie), in spite of the anchor deployments, created a harmonic motion that became too violent for the lines to constrain.  The sound of lines snapping to maximum tautness sounded the ‘abandon seawall’ alarm!

Luckily, Moxie’s crew were all on board.  Bob gave clear, concise orders and we were beginning to pull away from Jura within a couple of minutes.  Managing that process without damage to either vessel was a tribute to his competency and the value of hydraulic thrusters.  

Aleoli’s crew was not aboard, and they were the outboard boat.  It was commandeered by a mixed crew that left other boats short.  James and Rob were conscripted to assist, and in that manner all boats slowly moved away from the wall and out to anchor.  Anchoring proved to be yet another challenge.  It’s a muddy bottom, without much holding power.  Everyone tried at least twice, even Moxie, with the biggest, honkin’ anchor I’ve ever seen on a boat this size.  On Angela, with a big CQR anchor, Bernie tried time after time, but could not get it set.  Finally, he gave up, saying he was going to dump all 400 ft of the chain and trust in the the wind forecast that was for the same or less.

The two boats on the wall both sustained damage.  Jura took a blow to the corner edge of the swimstep, resulting in that point being crushed.  The depth of the damage is unknown, at this point but it seems it will not prevent it from continuing on to Scotland.  Relish must have rolled into the seawall.  There’s a superficial 12″ scrape just forward of the portlight and a pretty nasty looking bash on the aft side of it, the edge where the inset comes out to the hull.  It will take a bit of both fiberglass and gelcoat repair to rectify that black eye.

This is a busy harbor on a holiday Saturday (Portuguese Day, no less), with whale watching and scuba diving boats coming and going, sailing dinghy races, windsurfers (no paddle boards, so far!), private small-craft passing and commercial fishing boats blasting through with no regard for their wake, all contributing to a chaotic surrounding.  Additionally, there are many other boats at anchor, including a very large floating version of ‘hoods in the woods’, a boat for troubled youth.  Apparently, all this is too much for Stefan, as he has decided to weigh anchor and head for Pico.  

He came by to bid us adieu and deliver Bob’s NAP 2017 commerative, etched acrylic globe.

Jura did not complete an oil change while on the wharf.  In doing so, this afternoon, the sucking-out hose parted at a junction, creating a mess in the engine room.  It has not been a fun day for Cameron.

Shar & I have now been aboard for a month.  It’s been rewarding, fun, busy, boring and, very occasionally, a bit tense.  Today was tense, coming off the wall; the toilet seat fiasco tended that way.  But it has not ever been really stressful.  Bob is both easy-going and competent.  His handling of today’s excitement did not seem to raise his stress meter very much, which helps keep everyone else’s low.  I can say that, in his place, I think my stress level would have been higher.

On to other matters

So, today has morphed from explore-and-play into another boat-bound one.  I don’t think we’re missing much on Portuguese Day; no parade, anyway.  Moxie’s crew, at a minimum, still plan to have dinner at Restaurante Genuino, where the group dinner was to take place (the cancellation of that event is not under investigation and shall not be reported).  Shar has been making a fruit crisp while I do this reporting.

Dinner was another winner.  Prime spot, good food.  Bone suck in’ good mackerel.  I passed on this in favor of swordfish.

This is the south western view of the beach, taken at street level.  Restaurant is behind and on the right.

This is the view from the restaurant; deck is for the pub at street level. And I knew paddle boarders would show up at some point.

James and Rob, the visiting techs from Palm Beach joined us, but other boat crews did not.

Everything was in fine shape when we returned to Moxie.  We’re off to bed hoping that tomorrow can be our explore-and-play day from beginning to end.  Good night.

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