Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Ponta Delgada and an “Unplanned Event”!

As always, the ship’s company take great care and pleasure in making traditional events as special and as enjoyable as possible. Halloween was no exception on board “Azura” …….


……… and, although it’s just one pic, it shows the fun everyone had – this is one of our bar staff (we think!!)


Apart from the friends we’re cruising with and, quite by chance, narrow boating friends and blog readers Peter and Margaret (ex nb Kelly Louise) who are also aboard and hopefully we’ll get pics of them later, there are a number of staff members who we know and who will undoubtedly add considerably to our enjoyment. One of those is entertainment officer Laurie who is terrific fun and we’re so pleased to catch up with him again.

20161101_110641Our first port of call, after leaving Southampton last Friday, was Ponta Delgada on the island of Sao Miguel in the Azores which we reached on Tuesday. This is our fourth visit to PD so we know our way around a bit by now.


This pretty “Tessellated Town” is full of streets and pavements decorated with various black and white patterns. On our last visit in May this year these streets were beautifully laid out with flowers for a religious festival.


The black and white streets go well with the black and white buildings ……


…… and, although overcast and par for the course on these tiny bits of land in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, it was warm enough for us to have a walk around – even if the town didn’t “open” until 11 o’clock!


One of the many tree lined squares and ornate churches all connected by the lovely winding streets.



St Bras Fort, close to the sea front, can be walked around but not into. The lovely marble edifice built against the fort’s massive walls commemorates the lives lost by Portuguese sailors during the First World War.


The sea front, like everything in the town, is kept spotlessly clean and tidy and, in the distance, “Azura” dominates all around her.


They probably didn’t get planning permission for this! James nearly walked straight into it! It looks like some form of defence construction or lookout post and, by the amount of wire fencing around, it looks like it could be a prison.


The fabulously decorated front of the main church.


Well, after several worrying moments when we thought “Azura” might not be able to get into Ponta Delgada due to the high winds, and the delayed plane flight from Lisbon to PD which was bringing friends Pam and Geoff to join us on the cruise, it all eventually happened and here we are celebrating the event in one of the local bars. Doug with Pam at the back, James with Geoff in the front and Bernard and Sandra flanking us on the sides. A joyful reunion and a great relief!


The six of us assembling for pre-dinner drinks in the Glass House on Tuesday evening. Bernard,Doug, Geoff, Pam, James and Sandra.


Our dining arrangements, now that Pam and Geoff have joined us, are somewhat squashed! That’s entirely due to the fact that none of us on the table want to be parted and the restaurant manager can’t find a table to house all ten of us. So here were all are – ten of us around a table barely big enough for eight -  but all happy as Larry. From the gap at the front we have Sandra, Bernard, James, Pam, Geoff, Doug, Sarah and her mum Pamela, Alison and her husband Chris. We have to thank the four latter lovely people, and our delightful waiters (Guru and Rahul) for being great sports in all this.


On Tuesday evening, before diner when the Captain Robert Camby gave instructions for the ship’s engines to be started in preparation for sailing –THEY WOULDN’T START! And all evening the engineers worked in vain to get them to start. In the morning when we awoke, we were still safely berthed where we had been the night before but with important replacement electronic parts being flown in from Germany to help fix the problem. Evidently the very sophisticated engine management system, which has to go through it’s own sequence of safety checks before the engines can be fired up are not playing ball and the whole sorry saga has given us another day in Porto Delgada. Not that we’re complaining – we’ll get too the Caribbean at some stage! So, after attending some on board activities, we all had pre-lunch drinks at the bar we frequented yesterday.


We’ve called PD the “Tessellated Town” and here is why. On our return to the ship we see a work force dedicated to mosaics beavering away just outside the cruise terminal.

Well, we were asked to be back on board ship by 6:30pm on Wednesday for a hopeful departure.  What are the odds?

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