After a 14 day sail and 2 days of anchor, the small community of our magnificent vessel was impatient to discover the Azores. Many of the students went to the grocery store to replenish their empty snack bag. The nights on board are getting cooler, so I bought a cozy blanket. The second evening, I packed provisions for the expedition planned the next day. I woke up early and after a good breakfast with a glass of fresh creamy milk from a farm nearby, our group of 14 trainees made our way to the ferry.
We arrived thirty minutes later to the lovely island of Pico. We discovered the gorgeous landscape of the island as the taxi took us to the bottom of the highest mountain of Portugal, Mount Pico. I felt like if I was transported in the British grassland with the contrast of the bright green lawn and cloudy grey sky. Some small walls made of volcanic rocks divided the lands into equal sections. We could see the shapes of the countless cows in the horizon. In fact, the island hosts three times more cows than the number of habitants. We started the hike determined to accomplish our goal of reaching the top of the volcano. As we climbed, the temperature got warmer and when we passed the clouds, the sun started to burn our delicate skin. Unfortunately, nobody had sunscreen and we all ended up with tomato red faces. At twelve, we made it to the top and were rewarded by a delicious meal and a breathtaking view. There was even some snow at the top of the active volcano and we made a snowman. We came down and got steaming cups of hot chocolate in a small cafe near the ferry.
After a three hours hike, a group of students from Class Afloat made it to the top of the 2351 meter high volcano.
The fourth day, we started our day with provisions. We met the new cook’s mate, Carrie, and organized all the fresh food for the next sail. We finished for lunch and Cody ordered pizza with a thick layer of melted cheese. After everyone was allowed to go, I made my way to one of the five cheese factories on the island with Julia, Mairead, and Felicity. We had the chance to taste many samples of the dairy product. That cheese was the tastiest I’ve ever had. I was pleased to be informed that the island would soon start exporting their products to Canada. We were able to look around the factory and ended with the best part: the baby cows. We all fell for those adorable three-weeks-old babies. Some of them were playing around and others were sleeping in the grass. We took some pictures with our new friends and Julia even had the chance to pet one. The view from the cheese factory was beautiful. We could see the ocean and even Mount Pico that we had climbed the day before.
After our photo-shoot with the cows, we decided to stop at Peter Sports Cafe, a restaurant near the port where most of the sailors go for a drink or to eat a good dinner. We took a table and ordered a nice meal. The place had a cozy ambience and some good music. It was decorated with flags and stickers from countries of every continent. I ordered shrimp with creamy pasta and garlic bread. After a long time at sea, it’s always pleasant to get some good food with friends. For dessert we had a great variety of choices like chocolate cake, apple pie, Pastel de nata, and many more.
We then went to the shop of the restaurant and got a nice shirt like the majority of the Gulden Leeuw trainees. Finally, I stopped at the best ice cream place called Gelados do Atlántico Açores that was sadly closed the first three days of our stay. There, I ordered a waffle with decadent ice cream.
Written by Class Afloat Student, Eliane C.