Off the ship today….The Azores…Photos of a quaint town…

A colorful display at Ponta Delgada, the Azores.

More than halfway across the Atlantic Ocean today, we had a port-of-call experience when the ship docked at Ponta Delgada. For details about this island of nine in the archipelago, see below from this site:

“Ponta Delgada (Portuguese pronunciation: [ˈpõtɐ ðɛlˈɣaðɐ] (audio speaker iconlisten)lit. '”Thin Cape”‘) is the largest municipality (concelho) and economic capital of the Autonomous Region of the Azores in Portugal. It is located on São Miguel Island, the largest and most populous in the archipelago. As of 2021, it has 67,287 inhabitants in 

232.99 square kilometers (89.96 square miles). There are 17,629 residents in the three central civil parishes that comprise the historical city: São PedroSão Sebastião, and São José. Ponta Delgada became the region’s administrative capital under the revised constitution of 1976; the judiciary and Catholic See remained in the historical capital of Angra do Heroísmo, while the Legislative Assembly of the Azores was established Horta.

The origin of the placename Ponta Delgada (Portuguese for delicate or thin point) was elaborated by the famous Portuguese chronicler, Father Gaspar Frutuoso, who wrote: This city of Ponta Delgada is named for its situation located along with volcanic lands, thin and not too considerable like on other islands, that lead to the sea, and where later, was constructed the chapel of Santa Clara (Saint Clare of Assisi), which was named the Santa Clara point …

Cloudy mountain view.

In 1450, Pêro de Teive established a small fishing village that eventually grew into an urban agglomeration in Santa Clara.

Populated in 1444, the island of São Miguel was a vast territory, with small settlements scattered about, except for Vila Franca do Campo on the central-southern coast and the smaller community of Ponta Delgada. Villa Franca had for many years been the center of the island economically and socially and the seat of the local government, but many nobles and landed gentry despised its subordinate status to the government in that town (originating many conflicts between these inhabitants and administrators in the southern coast). The nobles in Ponta Delgada sent a secret contingent, headed by Fernão Jorge Velho, to meet with King Manuel in Lisbon to petition that the community be emancipated. In Abrantes, King Manuel conferred a foral on 29 May 1507, elevating the settlement to the status of a village (Portuguese: vila).

Celebrity Silhouette docked in Ponta Delgada, Azores.

Then, in 1522 an earthquake and landslide devastated the provincial capital, destroying many of the buildings and killing several people. Ponta Delgada became the only center with an infrastructure to support the Azorean bureaucracy and supplant its important economic links. Quickly, its role changed, and eventually, it was elevated to the status of a city during the reign of King D. João III by decree dated 2 April 1546.

The naval Battle of Ponta Delgada (also known as the Battle of São Miguel) took place on 26 July 1582, off the coast, as part of the 1580 Portuguese succession crisis. An Anglo-French corsair expedition sailed against Spain to preserve Portuguese control of the Azores, which had aligned itself with the pretender António, Prior of Crato, thereby preventing Spanish control (it was the largest French force sent overseas before the age of Louis XIV).

During the 19th century, the municipality experienced its greatest boost of economic activity, with the funneling of citrus exports to the United Kingdom and the growth of foreign-owned businesses in the historic center, many of them Jewish merchants after 1818.[6] As with other centers across the archipelago, the town of Ponta Delgada experienced many of the trends common for the period, including the “greening” of the communities (with the construction of the gardens of António Borges, José do Canto, Jácome Correia, and the Viscount of Porto Formoso, which would become part of the University of the Azores), the construction of many of the ornate homes/estates, the clearing of animals from urban spaces, the opening of newer, larger roadways, the moving of cemeteries to the periphery, and relocation of markets for fish, meat and fruits. Due to these changes, and the growth of the mercantile class, Ponta Delgada became the third largest town in Portugal in economic riches and the number of residents. The poet Bulhão Pato, writing of Ponta Delgada, was surprised by the extraordinary riches of the plantation owners, the “gentlemen farmers” that lived within the urbanized core: exporters of oranges and corn, bankers, investors, industrialists, and shippers, all contributing to a privileged class of economic and social thinkers and philanthropists.

Kayakers in the bay.

At the beginning of the 20th century, Ponta Delgada’s position was relatively high (eighth largest), although the changing importance of rural economies steadily chipped away at its growth. But it remained the central place in the economy and hierarchy of the Azorean archipelago. Consequently, it was at the forefront of political change following the Carnation Revolution. In one such event, property owners and right-leaning farmers challenged the Civil Governor António Borges Coutinho, who was responsible, under the direction of the MFA government, to implement land reforms. The Micalense Farmers’ Protest forced his resignation and inspired a series of terrorist acts that plunged the Azores into political turmoil.[7][8] After a clandestine round-up of arrests and detentions by the Military Governor, the Autonomous District of Ponta Delgada was extinguished, along with the other districts (Horta and Angra do Heroísmo) on 22 August 1975, with the establishment of the Junta Regional dos Açores (Regional Junta of the Azores), the provisional government that assumed the competencies of the administration during the region’s transition to constitutional autonomy.”

We’d considered taking a taxi for the city tour, but we decided to walk when we discovered the village was easily accessible. The air was crisp with a cool breeze, but I was comfortable in a tee-shirt, jeans, and a hooded sweatshirt. Tom brought along a lightweight jacket but never had to put it on.

A play area for kids.

Although not outstanding, the scenery was pleasant, as shown in today’s photos, and we enjoyed the pleasant walk through the quaint village. Although it was a pretty town, it wasn’t an island we’d care to visit in the future. When we compare Madiera, another Autonomous Region of Portugal, we assumed that Madiera, where we stayed for 2½ months in 2014, was much more appealing to our tastes, and we had a fantastic time.

After over a week of sailing across the Atlantic Ocean, it was fun to get off the ship. But, as often is the case, it’s worthwhile to check out various ports of call while we’re cruising to “expand our horizons,” as they say. We’ll reach Southampton on Thursday, five days from today. As mentioned, we’ll spend three nights in a lovely hotel, and then on April 24, we’ll board the Queen Mary 2 to return to the USA.

So far, this has been a fantastic cruise. Before it started, we wondered if being unable to sit at “shared dining tables” would hinder our ability to meet new people. This rule went into place when cruising started up again after the pandemic. But, with the placement of tables for two, we’ve met many wonderful people and made many new friends with whom we hope to stay in touch.

As it turned out, several other passengers on this cruise will also be sailing on the Queen Mary 2 back to the US, some of whom we’ve met. That ship will also have a reduced number of passengers, as has been the case here with only 1288 out of a possible 2888. The Queen Mary 2 has a capacity of 2691, so we shall see how many they actually allow during times of Covid.

Tonight, like last night, will surely be another pleasant evening, during dinner and afterward socializing with a wide array of passengers we’ve met in the past eight days. We certainly enjoy cruising. More new photos will follow tomorrow.

Have a fantastic day!

Photo from one year ago today, April 16, 2021:

Narrow and The Imposter lying close together, appearing to be a two-headed warthog, one head at each end. For more photos, please click here.

Limited number of ports of call on this cruise…Long way yet to sail…9368 km, 5817 miles (5055 nautical miles)…

Isle of Pines coral reef is stunning.

The ship docked at the Port of Suva, Fiji, early this morning for an overnight stay. Why they chose this port for the extended stay baffled us until yesterday when the captain explained in a seminar held midday in the Palace Theatre.

Passengers seemed to enjoy the white sand beach and crystal clear sea.

The ship needed to refuel and gather provisions for the upcoming journey consisting of 9368 km, 5817 miles, 5055 nautical miles to sail to Seattle by May 15. We boarded the ship one week ago today, and the time is flying by more quickly than we’d expected.

These types of garments are not for me, but it’s fun to check them out.

The ease of life aboard a ship, along with a pleasant routine we tend to embrace within the first few days, days almost pass in a blur. We probably don’t spend more than nine hours a day in our cabin, sleeping, showering, dressing for the day, and then for the evening.

There were lots of trinkets for sale in New Caledonia.

Tom and I have managed the small space in the cabin of 164 square feet down to a science. We maneuver around one another with a flow comparable to a well-practiced dance where we seldom bump into one another.

After 18 cruises in similarly sized cabins (this is the smallest to date), we’ve managed to make the most of it in keeping the space tidy, organized, and free of clutter. In addition, we have a phenomenal cabin steward on this particular cruise whose efforts include consistency and organizational skills similar to our own. 

Green-themed sarongs.

Each morning as soon as we depart for breakfast, she cleans our cabin to perfection. Then, when we return to get our laptops to head to the Diamond Lounge to prepare the day’s post, every last item is completed with nary a wrinkle or item out of order.

Tourists typically purchase tee-shirts and beach towels.

Today, we arrived a little later than usual when we lingered at the breakfast table chatting with other passengers, all of whom were about to explore Suva for the day. We didn’t arrive in the Diamond Lounge until 10 am, when in most cases, we’ll be done preparing the post by 11. This accounts for today’s slightly later posting.

A tiny rowboat at the ready.

As we’ve recounted the details of our four-month stay in Fiji on two islands, from September 8, 2015, to January 4, 2016, we giggled over our varied experiences during that period.

Ship passengers peruse the many shops in Isle of Pines, New Caledonia.

Whether it was the ants that filled the mattress and pillows on the bed on our first night in Savusavu; buying Kava for the chief when we visited the Vuodomo waterfall; the nightly visits by our neighbor Sewak’s adorable dog Badal who happened to arrive while we were dining, hoping for morsels of meat which we always provided; or the trips to the outdoor markets for food and supplies, we continue to relish the experiences, good and not-so-good yet today.

Two sleeping dogs seemed unfazed about the stream of visitors.

Unfortunately, on the second island in Fiji, I contracted this lingering intestinal bacteria I’m continuing to purge from my system with carefully selected foods, supplements, and portion control. 

A rusted outboard motor fashioned into a work of art?

Regardless of the ups and downs, we continue to feel a powerful sense of joy wash over us every day.  From the couples with who we’ve become friends aboard this ship; to the many email messages we continue to receive from readers and friends we’ve made along the way; to the anticipation of the upcoming Alaskan cruise and, of course, seeing family and friends in less than a month.

Clouds above the pretty beach in the Isle of Pines.

Today, at 1:30 pm, the newer movie, Lion, filmed in Tasmania, is playing at the Palace Theatre. We’re certainly looking forward to this movie when our recent stay in Tasmania left us with an appreciation and gratefulness for the three months we spent on the exquisite island.

I haven’t owned a muumuu since I was pregnant in 1966.  (That certainly “dates” me!)

Every day as time marches on, we’re reminded of our growing past experiences in one way or another. And yet, there’s so much we’ve yet to see. The future looks bright and filled with wonder.  May good health keep us on track for that which is yet to come.

We offer the same wishes for all of you; good health and well-being.

Photo from one year ago today, April 29, 2016:

Sunset on the last night of our cruise to Singapore one year ago today. For more details, please click here.

Ship docked in Tasmania today…Great comment from a loyal reader…

 Due to a poor signal aboard ship, we’re unable to post many photos each day. 
Last night at the show, Jane, Tom and Rob, our new Aussie friends.

Today, our ship has docked at the port in Hobart, Tasmania. With our upcoming three months on the island beginning in less than 11 months, we decided we’ll save touring this interesting location for that time.

We’ll have a rental car for the full period and can travel at our own pace as we choose. Besides, I’m still nursing a cold/virus I picked up on the flight to Sydney when the man sitting next to me sneezed and coughed during the entire flight. With the use of Tylenol and a nasal spray I’m nursing it, hoping to return to total health in a few days.
As much as we’d prefer not to whine about being ill, we feel it’s only fair to our readers to tell-it-like-it-is including the less than ideal periods we experience from time to time.  
On occasion, most of us get colds, flu, viruses, infections or injuries which regardless of our aggressive preventive measures we can’t seem to avoid. It’s life. Ups and downs. How foolish and unrealistic our site would be if we only shared the “up” times and not the “down” periods.
The thought of doing more today than lounging with a cup of hot tea was beyond me. Thank goodness I’m not sneezing and coughing during the day or I’d quarantine myself to the cabin. Now, as day four since the onset of these symptoms, I’m hoping I’m not contagious.
No flash photography was allowed during the performance, making these photos a bit dark.
Luckily, over the past five days, I haven’t felt so badly that we weren’t able to go to breakfast and dinner. Last night, we dined with new friends, Jane and Rob from Australia. After dinner, at 9:00 pm we all attended the Andy Joy show in the Solstice Theatre, who’s a talented and versatile musician and singer. 
When the show ended, we said good night (no handshakes, no hugs) and headed to our cabin where again I had a good night’s sleep, vital during periods of feeling less than ideal.
Now, with 80% of the passengers off the ship for one of many Tasmanian tours, we’re again quietly content to be lounging in the Café al Bacio coffee bar. We’re contemplating spending a little time at the pool once we’re done posting. 
Today is a mild, not humid, sunny day, a rarity in our lives over these past many months of living in outrageously hot and humid weather. As we move along on this cruise, we’re expecting cooler weather which we’ll fully embrace.

As our posts have continued over the years, we’ve had countless heartwarming experiences of hearing feedback from our readers. Often, they prefer to email rather than post a comment at the end of any day’s post. Some prefer anonymity while others find it quicker and easier to email rather than post a comment.  Either way is fine for us.

However, we suspect that many of our readers enjoy reading the comments of other readers, although they may not be comfortable posting their own comments. I can easily be a “lurker” never saying “boo” on another blog or website I may peruse regularly or on occasion.

Getting into the theatre at the last minute we had no choice but to take seats on the side, not center section.

Our reader, Amit, who stumbled upon us accidentally only a short time ago, has sent email and also posted a few comments. An email he sent a few days ago lingered in my mind that it may be of interest to our other readers. Here’s Amit’s email message sent on January 5, 2016:

“Hi, Jess,
 I have continued reading your blog with great interest and have gotten to the part where you visit the Namale resort to celebrate the third anniversary of your adventure with Tom. Belated congratulations on your new to me occasion. 
One of my Facebook friends from my only adventure in the last 25 years, a trip to Central Europe, posted about her upcoming trip to Australia and Fiji and asked for advice. I eagerly recommended your blog and have showed it to other friends, especially the 8 visitors in 1 day post from Marloth Park. 
It’s exciting to realize that I am only 2 months of posts away from your real-time adventures, on a new Pacific Cruise if I remember correctly. In the post I’m reading now you talk about the world map of your travels which I always open in another window when I read your blog. 
You talk about updating and correcting the map and I’d just like to make one minor observation. The map has a link to Borabora in New Guinea rather than Bora Bora in French Polynesia. It would be so exciting if you did get to New Guinea on a cruise. Maybe later. 
Thank you so much for all happiness you have given me with this blog. It makes me excited for my own travels in the future. I really would like to go to Morocco now, although just for a short trip. And I never even knew about your favorite place, Marloth Park.”
His message immediately inspired Tom to correct the map on our homepage. Tom, who handles the map, got to work to make the corrections. In our ongoing efforts to always present a realistic and accurate representation of every aspect of our lives of travel, we can’t express how much we appreciate Amit alerting us to the error. 
The performer was versatile, playing multiple instruments including the piano.
In the past, other readers have offered correction suggestions all of which we’ve taken seriously which we’ve immediately implement when applicable. We welcome suggestions provided they aren’t of a “bashing” or bullying nature. We’ve certainly had a few such comments we soon deleted to which we’ve seldom responded.
This is a positive and “happy” place for us to share our experiences. Yes, some days things go wrong or we’re “under the weather” but that doesn’t diminish the overall depth of the quality of our journey. It all a part of life which for all of us is rarely a constant stream of perfection and ease.
We wrote back to Amit, thanking him for sharing his thoughts with us, explaining that he started at the beginning to read from our first post in March 15, 2012 to the present, which he’s almost reached.  Perhaps, by the time he reads about himself here, he’ll be caught up.
Today’s post is #1257. Amit, that’s quite a commitment and we thank and commend you for tackling it and, for sharing it with your friends and for writing to us. 
As we strive to continue to grow our worldwide readership, sharing our web address with family and friends is so appreciated and meaningful to us. All you need to do is send them an email including this link:
It will direct your friends to today’s newest post which changes daily as we continue to post 365 days a year…366 this year, a leap year.
That’s it for today, folks. We hope you have a wonderful day. We’ll be back tomorrow with more new photos as we continue to revel in our “boatload” of new friends and experiences!
Photo from one year ago today, January 9, 2015:
A map illustrating how the city of Hilo near the bay was wiped out from tsunamis over the years.  Notice the Lyman Museum name at the top of this page, which we’d also visited in December 2015 with the family. Click here for details.