São Miguel AZORES – An Island You Will NEVER Forget (MJ Sailing – EP 90)

You may have seen dozens of photos of this island online, but what it is like to experience it in person?

This week we make the 95 mile sail from Terceria to Sao Miguel. Leaving in the afternoon we plan for an overnight sail, which will have us arriving first thing in the morning. And having been to this island before, we found it quite forgettable. It may have been the constant gray skies and rain, but we didn’t care for it too much our first time around.

Since then there had been a social media boom showcasing all the highlights this ‘Green Island’ had to offer. So hopping on Yellow Bus Tours for two days, we thought we’d give in another shot. And we are not lying when we say this place has now jumped straight to the top of our favorite places in the world.

From quaint towns, to hot springs; lush green forest and crater lakes; many of the places we visited felt as if they had been staged for a movie or pulled from a fairy tale. Settle back as we take you on a tour of this unforgettable island nestled in the Atlantic Ocean.

Much love from the Azores!
Jessica, Matt & Georgie

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Can We Extend Our EUROPEAN VISA to 12 Months? (MJ Sailing – EP 89)

This week’s episode brings us back to the harbor of Angra where we visit the immigration office to see if we can extend our 90 day visa to 12 months. Since we haven’t been finding the winds we need to get north we thought, why not winter here?

That weekend we travel around the island of Terceira to the port of Praia Da Vitoria where they were holding their annual festival of foods, where restaurants and shops from all over Portugal come to showcase their specialties. We try a few local treats and even get to hang out with our local friend Carlos.

Just another perfect week in the Azores!

Much love from the Azores!
Jessica, Matt & Georgie

FAILING At Cooking Fish Cakes – Even The Cat Won’t Eat Them – (MJ Sailing – EP 88)

Getting ready for a large festival in Urzelina, us and s/v Calico Skies move our boats down from Velas. The wind seems pretty non-existant, but that’s a good thing for us once we drop anchor. Because there were no sandy patches and we anchored on rocks, the chances of dragging went down and we felt comfortable to spend one night there.

While on anchor watch before going to the local festivities, I cooked up some of the fish Matt had speared a few days before, and tried to make fish cakes. Without any previous skills or instructions. They did not work out well.

Once on shore though, our evening was much improved as we enjoyed groups of locals dancing choreographed numbers through the street, each highlighting something special about the area.

The next day we joined Fillip’s family again for lunch at their man cave, before being shuttled out to his father-in-law’s house, where he also grows all kinds of fruits and vegetables. The best part is…all of it is done for family and friends!

Much love from the Azores!
Jessica, Matt & Georgie

S#*T….OUR STARTER BURNED OUT!…What Now?! (MJ Sailing – EP 87)

We’re in an island group 800 miles from Europe….and we burned out the only starter we have on our boat!

While immensely enjoying our time in Sao Jorge, our dragging anchor causes us to move ourselves and burn out the engine starter in the process. With few options, and shipping of a new one having a two week delivery date, we rely on some new friends ashore to see if they can help us out of this jam.

While our starter is being worked on, we hop in a car with Bill & Grace to do a little exploring of the coast. We come across hydrangea lined fields, magnificent viewpoints to towns down below, and take in the sights at Faja Orvidour. One of the most spectacular natural swimming spots we’ve ever come across.

After picking up our starter that evening, we join Fillip’s family friends for one of their nightly dinners, and an evening we won’t soon forget.

Much love from the Azores!
Jessica, Matt & Georgie

Sailing the AZORES: It’s A Race to the Anchorage!! (MJ Sailing – EP 86)

There aren’t many harbors to drop anchor in the Azores, and when our limited space is threatened in Sao Jorge, we race to get a place!

Since we can’t seem to find a long enough window to get to Ireland, we trade it for the rolling green hills of Sao Jorge.

Leaving the harbor of Angra on the island of Terceira just as the sun comes up, we make the 55 mile journey to Velas on Sao Jorge, fighting the setting sun and the limited space in their anchorage. Although we are able to make some good miles under sail between the islands, once we come along the coast of Sao Jorge we are head on into the winds and have to pound into the waves until they settle.

Claiming our spot that evening, we reunite with Bill & Grace of s/v Calico skies, and hunt down a good watering hole for the evening. The next afternoon under sunny skies, Bill comes to grab us in his dinghy for a few hours of snorkeling. We check out a few rocks near the harbor, and the big monte.

Later that evening we are picked up by Phillip who transfers us to the town of Urzelina, where he rents out the sets of bungalows Bill and Grace and previously stayed in. Filling ourselves up on 1 euro beers and sangrias, we wander past the windmills on the coast, framed by Pico in the background, and wonder what a life on this island would be like.

Much love from the Azores!
Jessica, Matt & Georgie

Terceira AZORES: You’ll Need a Helmet for This!! (MJ Sailing – EP 85)

Not knowing exactly how much time we have left to spend in the Azores, we try to take full advantage of each stop.

While in Terceria, we visit their beautiful botanical gardens at the city center, and climb up through multiple levels for sprawling views of the bay below. Wanting to get our adventure kick in, we join up with Rope Adventures for a day of Coasteering. Layered up in gear, we snorkel the coastline until we’re at a set of small cliffs where we take turns jumping into the sea down below.

Lastly we are invited for a traditional Azorean lunch at the home of one of our YouTube followers. Fresh caught fish, plus locally made cheeses and desserts!

It’s becoming easy to see how the Azores have stolen our hearts away!

Much love from Terceria!
Jessica, Matt & Georgie

We Got Off To A Bumpy Start… (MJ Sailing – EP 84)

Finally tearing ourselves away from Faial, it was time to hit open waters again. Getting to them was not very easy though.

BUCKET LIST Sailing Destination: Faial, Azores (MJ Sailing – EP 83)

Of all the far flung destinations to sail to in the world, Faial Azores should be near the top, for its beauty, diversity, and sometimes surreal atmosphere.

AZORES: Pico – The Island No One Ever Sails To (MJ Sailing – EP 82)

One of the most noticeable islands the Azores have, for housing Portugal’s highest point, is also the one that gets nearly the fewest visitors by sailboat. Without many good harbors, we find another way to get to neighboring Pico.

Hopping the ferry for the four mile trip across from Horta, we set ourselves up with a rental car for 24 hours and meet up with our friends Bill and Grace to see how much of this island we can see within a 24 hour period.

Much love from the Azores!
Jessica, Matt & Georgie

AZORES: We LOVE This Harbor – We HATE Rafting Up (MJ Sailing – EP 81)

There are so many things to love about Horta. Except when two boats crush you against a cement wall.

As we make landfall in in Faial, we can still not get over the beauty and charm of this island. Rugged cliffs sitting next to quaint European villages. There’s a a lot to get re-aquainted with upon arrival, but we also throw in a bit of boat work as well. Trips to the beach, outdoor concerts, a smashed toe rail and a trip to a world famous bar/cafe. What a way to be welcomed back to land!

Much love from the Azores!
Jessica, Matt & Georgie