Submitted by scott on
Start Date
End Date

Atlantic island group of volcanic origin, located about 740 miles west of Portugal, which has owned the islands since the mid-17th century. The Quaker City was to land at the largest island, San Miguel, but to avoid a storm, it instead anchored at the port of Horta on the island of Fayal on June 21, 1867. After two days... the passengers voted to skip San Miguel and go directly to Gibraltar.

(Mark Twain A to Z)

At three o’clock on the morning of the twenty-first of June, we were awakened and notified that the Azores islands were in sight. I said I did not take any interest in islands at three o’clock in the morning. But another persecutor came, and then another and another, and finally believing that the general enthusiasm would permit no one to slumber in peace, I got up and went sleepily on deck. It was five and a half o’clock now, and a raw, blustering morning. The passengers were huddled about the smoke-stacks and fortified behind ventilators, and all were wrapped in wintry costumes and looking sleepy and unhappy in the pitiless gale and the drenching spray. I think the Azores must be very little known in America. Out of our whole ship’s company there was not a solitary individual who knew anything whatever about them. Some of the party, well read concerning most other lands, had no other information about the Azores than that they were a group of nine or ten small islands far out in the Atlantic, something more than halfway between New York and Gibraltar. That was all. The mountains on some of the islands are very high. We sailed along the shore of the island of Pico, under a stately green pyramid that rose up with one unbroken sweep from our very feet to an altitude of 7,613 feet, and thrust its summit above the white clouds like an island adrift in a fog! We got plenty of fresh oranges, lemons, figs, apricots, etc., in these Azores, of course. But I will desist. I am not here to write Patent Office reports. We are on our way to Gibraltar, and shall reach there five or six days out from the Azores.

From Page 408-9  The Life of Mark Twain: The Early Years, 1835-1871:

After sailing twenty-four hundred miles in ten days, the Quaker City reached the Azores, an archipelago colony of Portugal a thousand nautical miles from Lisbon, early on the morning of June 21. Bursley anchored the ship in the Bay of Horta, on the east side of the island of Fayal, to weather a gale. There the excursionists suffered the first in a series of inconveniences at the hands of petty bureaucrats that would repeatedly mar their holiday.  As Moses Beach explained, their landing was postponed for hours by the visits of health and custom house officers and the making out of almost impossible declarations as to who we were and where bound. Nor did they neglect to ask for the place of birth, and the faith in which each passenger was baptized, the pounds of coal and of ice, the quarts of water, and the bottles of wine on board, as well as the weights of anchors and the sizes of cables, to say nothing of trying hard to learn just how many crackers were left in the locker and how many grains of powder had been taken out of the magazine.  In a word, Job’s patience could not have sufficed to answer all the ridiculous questions solemnly asked by the Portuguese officials. ... The whole proceeding from beginning to end was, and necessarily, a farce.

But we had to change our purpose about San Miguel, for a storm came up about noon that so tossed and pitched the vessel that common sense dictated a run for shelter. Therefore we steered for the nearest island of the group—Fayal (the people there pronounce it Fy-all, and put the accent on the first syllable). We anchored in the open roadstead of Horta, half a mile from the shore. The town has eight thousand to ten thousand inhabitants. Its snow-white houses nestle cosily in a sea of fresh green vegetation, and no village could look prettier or more attractive.

The island in sight was Flores. It seemed only a mountain of mud standing up out of the dull mists of the sea. But as we bore down upon it the sun came out and made it a beautiful picture—a mass of green farms and meadows that swelled up to a height of fifteen hundred feet and mingled its upper outlines with the clouds.

A link to this site was provided to me by Pedro Reis on Google+. It offers a history of the Azores for the 19th century through images.… Of particular interest to me is a series of photographs that "... represents a sampling from three Dabney family albums generously donated to the [New Bedford Whaling] museum in 2004.