Pictures can only begin to show the beauty of this island in bloom. It was named Flores for the flowers, and they're everywhere. Hydrangeas, wild roses, and canna line many of the roads that twist along the steep coasts of the island, which is the top of a range of volcanoes. Stone fences line the fields and the fences, in turn, are lined with hydrangeas.

Flores was our first stop in the Azores and the most memorable. Few tourists come here, and most yachts head to Horta to clear into the EU officially. As a result, the island is peaceful and quiet. It's a steep hike up the hill from the harbor to the town of Lajes, but the views are spectacular. You need to rent a car or hire a taxi for a tour in order to see all that the island offers: lakes filling old calderas, steep cliffs plunging to the ocean, quaint villages, the ruins of old stone houses, and of course, the flowers.

Here we finally met Saeta, another Sceptre 41 from California (Santa Cruz). Richard and Andrea were a year ahead of us on the Baja Ha-Ha, and now they're headed to Spain. They sail and do flamenco: he sings and plays the guitar and she dances. We were lucky to share part of a flamenco evening with them at Lajes, as well as a rental car to see the island and the festival at Santa Cruz.

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