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Galway Transatlantic Family Crew on Danu Finally Welcomed Ashore in Azores

16th June 2020
Friendly port and ocean crossroads – Horta in the Azores, with the commercial, ferry and cruise-liner berths in foreground, while the anchorage, old harbour, and yacht harbour are beyond Friendly port and ocean crossroads – Horta in the Azores, with the commercial, ferry and cruise-liner berths in foreground, while the anchorage, old harbour, and yacht harbour are beyond

Today (Monday), the Quinlan-Owens family from Kinvara on Galway Bay with the Atlantic-circuiting 39ft steel ketch Danu have been finally free to roam ashore as they please in Horta on Faial in the Azores, as the next phase in the lifting of the COVID-19 restrictions in the islands is reached.

Portugal and its islands of the Azores have had a marginally better record than Ireland in dealing with the pandemic, and the outcome of this significant move, in a group of islands which have become the Atlantic crossroads and stopover port for ocean voyagers in vessels of all sizes, will be monitored with international interest.

Welcome to Horta! The Azorean Pandemic Patrol managed to put a bit of fun into Danu’s arrival for (left to right) Vera, Lillian, Ruari and Peter, but the Kinvara crew still had to spend a night in anchored isolationWelcome to Horta! The Azorean Pandemic Patrol managed to put a bit of fun into Danu’s arrival for (left to right) Vera, Lillian, Ruari and Peter, but the Kinvara crew still had to spend a night in anchored isolation

Danu - with Vera Quinlan, her husband Peter Owens and their children Lillian (12) and Ruari (10), arrived into Horta on Wednesday after a 25-day passage from Antigua, their progress having been slowed by light airs and headwinds. While their welcome to the Azores was as warm as it could be (Azorean Pandemic Patrols manage to put a bit of fun into a tedious process), they were still obliged to anchor in isolation in the Outer Harbour under quarantine, but as Vera reveals, with a bit of the “Galway gab”, after a day or so they secured a pontoon berth inside the quarantine quay.

Danu gets a pontoon berthFinally there……a bit of the “Galway gab” secured Danu a pontoon berth – albeit still quarantined – after a day outside. Photo: Vera Quinlan

This allowed them freedom to walk or run or cartwheel or even try the conga (if you stayed in the family bubble) every last metre of the 300 metres of the Quarantine Quay. Most of us wouldn’t even look at it for a nano-second as an option for our daily constitutional, but after being hot and bothered and becalmed and all in the same boat out in the Atlantic, it seemed like boundless paradise………

Access to the Quarantine Quay provided Danu’s crew with just 300 metres of shore-walking space Access to the Quarantine Quay provided Danu’s crew with just 300 metres of shore-walking space for their first three days in the Azores, but it made quite a difference to the wait for the restriction-lifting. The time-honoured custom of painting your boat’s name and home port (and sometimes lots of other details too) onto the harbour wall at Horta has reached such a level that every bit of space – vertical, horizontal and overhead - is now being covered. Photo: Vera Quinlan
But now, the world of Horta and Faial and the Azores is theirs to explore, and of course they’ll have to make their number in due course at Peter’s Café Sport, the heart of Horta for the ocean voyager.

WM Nixon

About The Author

WM Nixon

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William M Nixon has been writing about sailing in Ireland for many years in print and online, and his work has appeared internationally in magazines and books. His own experience ranges from club sailing to international offshore events, and he has cruised extensively under sail, often in his own boats which have ranged in size from an 11ft dinghy to a 35ft cruiser-racer. He has also been involved in the administration of several sailing organisations.

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