Cast adrift in mid-Atlantic, the Azores are full of surprises. Despite their volcanic soil, the vegetation on these islands is luxuriant. In summer, it's reminiscent of Brittany, but with the profuse plant life of the West Indies...
In fact, the Azores are something of a transatlantic meeting point. When it comes to describing the islands, the superlatives begin to flow: Magical, radiant and solitary. Absolutely the last land before the expanse of the Atlantic, the Azores are garden islands where the lava flows have weathered to become fertile red and black soils.
Everything here has a flavour of legend about it, from Atlantis and the whales, to hortensias and the Anticyclone. Every island has its distinct colour… green for São Miguel, hibiscus pink for Florès, blue for Faial and the colour of Morning Glory for Pico. This was the garden of the Hesperides. Verdelho wine really is drunk green, and sailors still tell tales of Moby Dick in smoke-filled cafés.
Located between 36 and 39 degrees north, and 21 and 34 degrees west, the Azores are 760 nautical miles west of Lisbon and around 1,200 from Brittany. There are three groups of volcanic islands: the central group (Terceira, Graciosa, São Jorge, Pico and Faial), the eastern group (São Miguel and Santa Maria) and the western group (Flores and Corvo).
The Azores are perhaps best-known for their famous high pressure region. Mobile and rarely where you might expect to find it, this anticyclone is of no fixed abode, but certainly has its effect on the weather of Western Europe.
As reported at 23:17 GMT on Sunday 25 April, Geronimo's position at the end of Day 60 of her Jules Verne Trophy attempt put her 1,587 nautical miles from the finish line.
On the equivalent day of her 2002 record-breaking circumnavigation (28 April), the catamaran Orange skippered by Bruno PEYRON was 1,701 nautical miles from this imaginary line between the Lizard Point and the Créac'h light.
The Capgemini and Schneider Electric trimaran was therefore 114 nautical miles ahead of the Trophy holder at this time, compared with 173 nautical miles the day before.
It remains to be seen whether the northern option that Geronimo has been obliged to take will allow her to maintain this slim lead.
Everything on board is now focused solely on the objective of crossing the Jules Verne Trophy finish line before 07:54:04 GMT on Friday 30 April, although it should be stressed that conditions are hardly conducive to Geronimo giving her best performance.