The world has certainly changed over the last 6 months and so have our sailing plans. As much as the crew dreams about exploring the Mediterranean and experiencing all of the history there, we have many concerns. Will there be a second wave of infections in Europe? How will the Covid-19 virus impact Africa? Will climate change cause more droughts and starvation? Will there be an increase in refugees seeking asylum in Europe? What risks would any of these scenarios impart to the ship and our crew. The current consensus is that exploring the Mediterranean at this time could be too problematic.
Since community spread is currently under control on many of the island of the Azores we have decided to continue exploring these islands. Starting in Terceira we hope to travel to Graciosa, the most northern island in the central group of the Azores. From there we aim to visit what is reported to be the most beautiful island in the Azores, Flores (the flower island). This potential leg will be highly dependent on the weather conditions as the harbor is Flores has not been repaired since it was totally destroyed last year by hurricance Lorenzo, the eastern most category 5 hurricane on record. Some images of the devastation can be found here. There are a few potential anchorage around the coast which would provide shelter dependent on the wind direction.
From Flores a quick visit to Corvo might be in order, however a visit to the tiny island of Corvo with a population of only about 500 people would also require great weather as there is no proper harbor Few yachts ever visit the island but there are anchorages and the reception is supposed more than welcoming. From Flores we to visit our 9th and final island of the Azores, Santa Maria and stops to revisit Faial, Pico or São Miguel seem possible. Our new crew member Jim who will be joining us for a while has never explored these places. Hurricane season is again approaching so we will likely hang out in the Azores until there is a risk of tropical storms and then weigh anchor for Gibraltar. Sailing outside the EU by December will be required or VAT tax would have to be paid on the boat. Any boat staying in the EU for more than 18 consecutive months that has not paid this tax (18% of the boats value) is required to do so.
From Gibraltar the crew aims to follow the southern route which takes advantage of the easterly trades to visit the Canary Islands, likely in the late fall. The Canaries are a part of Spain and the climate is much more tropical than the Azores. After exploring these island the goal is to follow the trade winds and favorable currents for a two week trip to Barbados.
Certainly nothing is the future is certain but if you are reading this and have suggestions of places to visit or people to interview along the way please feel free to contact us and let us know,