There are some places that simply bewitch you. Faial is one of those indeed.
This little volcanic island in the middle of the Azorean Archipel is a classic stop for many sailors and seafarers for a long time. To split the long Northern Atlantic crossing into two legs, to restock on fresh provisions, to stretch the legs and fill up the lungs with pure ocean breeze loaded with a delightful scent of green grass, sailors stop in Horta and leave on the walls of the marina artistic signs of their passage, creating one of the most interesting open-air travel art galleries in the world! If you ever stop there, we challenge you to find all the drawings Tres Hombres has left over the years.
We have made many friends on the island, and it is always a bit like coming back home for those who have sailed there before.
The hospitality of the locals, who have learnt how to welcome and shelter sailors over many centuries, is legendary (just think of the most well-known example of it, the Peter’s Sport Bar). The island, with its green lush pastures and happy cows, is a hotspot for cheese lovers too. Blessed by the Gulf Stream which mitigates the climate, you can find both sub-tropical and continental varieties of fruits and vegetables too. Oranges and bananas grow next to each other, and a few years ago Tres Hombres’ crew, upon request of one of our farmer friends, brought even a seedling of cocoa. The little plant is now growing into a tree and seems to be pretty satisfied with its new home, soil and conditions.
From Horta, you can enjoy a stunning view of the next island, Pico, and its mighty volcano, which they are very proud of. The funny fact is that the locals in Horta say that the most beautiful thing about Pico is the view you have of it from Faial!
Due to weather and schedule, I knew before arrival that it was set to be a shortstop in the Azores. I got in touch with Paula straight away,
who has been a friend and the contact of the ship for many years. She was so kind and so helpful. The day after we arrived she took me
and some others on a drive around the island to visit some local producers.
First, we went to her family’s bakery where I was able to buy some extra 25kg sacks of flour at wholesale price (thank you!). She also gave us some of the delicious biscuits that they make.
Then we went to Emmanuel, her partner’s project. He has started a small company growing organically oyster mushrooms and has four grow rooms some of which look like some sort of SciFi world with pink lights and ducting. We also bought dried mushrooms for the galley, and be also ready to welcome them to the Fairtransport webshop of sail-shipped products soon!
We then walked to some of his land next door where he grew oranges and lemons which we picked straight from the trees. The ground had almost a carpet of wild mint and it was the most beautiful and overwhelming smell of mint and orange blossom as we walked. Those citrus jewels have been keeping our crew full of vitamin C for the final leg, the most important!
We also went to meet and visit Zuga, who showed us around her new land project and picked 40kg of bananas straight from her trees. Unfortunately, they haven’t ripened yet, but hopefully, it will be a nice treat for the summer trip!
Finally, we went to a beautiful home garden where we bought fresh salad and herbs. After 24 days at sea, all these leafy greens were much appreciated by the crew.
The next day Paula organized a tour around the island with the whole crew. What a lush day. Thank you, Paula, Emmanuel, Zuga, and all the locals who welcomed and helped us. Thank you Faial island, for a brief but beautiful last stop.