Adventures Onboard: Part 1: The Archipelago of the Azores

Today I wanted to share a story of unexpected adventure during one Atlantic Crossing, in which, we explored a touch more of the Atlantic Ocean than originally planned. We were told by weather routers, that we would need to make a stop over in the Azores. Weather routers are professional weather forecasters who prepare route recommendations based on the forecast. Needless to say they are invaluable on the high seas, and while we were not looking forward to finding a rare safe haven along the Archipelago to anchor, we heeded their warning.

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The Islands of the Azores are a hidden gem, composed of nine Portuguese volcanic Islands that lie on the nexus of the European, American and African tectonic plates. Nature lovers and sports enthusiast adore the hot springs, grottoes, cedar forests and green pastures, all completely unspoiled. So on a normal day, a planned trip to Azores is amazing. This was not a planned stop.

We did end up eventually finding a safe but rocky place to drop our anchor and waited as the weather quite literally blew over us. While the wind and rain pounded through the night, most were able to get some shut eye while the deck crew rotated watch. Whether crossing the Atlantic or at anchor, there is always someone on watch, because the guests, crew and yacht safety is the highest priority.

As the storm raged through the night, our anchor chain broke, and we immediately started drifting and fast. Andy, the deckhand, immediately notified the captain and engineers, and engines were soon running.  Emergency diverted but for those brief moments, as we drifted down the Atlantic, I could not help but worry.

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Anchoring again was not an option, so we spent the remainder of the night cruising up and down, waiting for day break. At first light, in extremely cold conditions, two of the crew suited up and went diving for that anchor we left behind. We weren’t going to leave that. Luckily, they found it relatively quickly and used a float bag to lift it off the ocean floor (with a lot of cheering from us!)

The crew spirits were high from the adrenaline rush and the truth is, that this was an example of the rigorous training the crew went through, in action. Without that training, the situation could have had a very different outcome.

The weather calm, the anchor onboard, it was time to continue our crossing.