After more than 60 days at sea, this was about the most beautiful sight imaginable.

The welcoming Azores!

Part of the beautiful town of Ponta Delgada in the Azores.

If you have ever wondered why European streets are so narrow, here is a view of how they were meant to be used when they were originally built.

In every direction, the scenery is wonderful on Sao Miguel in the Azores.

This seemed to be the primary means of transportation on the Azores in 1969.

This was actually the milk man's mule and the can full of milk he was selling from door to door. As he'd come by, women would come out their doors with empty bottles he'd fill.

A typical cottage in the countryside.

Aren't you glad you aren't a road worker in the Azores? This was their version of the jack hammer back in 1969.

Not a square centimeter of land seems to be wasted in their picturesque towns.

This is about as much traffic as we ever saw on the main road.

Part of the harbor, Ponta Delgada, Azores

The USS White Sands (ARD -20) in the Azores, summer 1969.

I wish I could remember this man's name. He befriended a group of us and even had us over to his house for dinner one night. It was SPECTACULAR! His wife was a terrific cook . . . a most memorable night.

This sure looks like an interesting adventure, but for the life of me, I can't remember what we were doing in that cave.

Looking across the harbor at the White Sands with Apache along side and Trieste safely in her drydock bay. . . . A lovely little family scene, huh?

I can't remember seeing a single building that wasn't painted white . . . and newly painted at that!

This sure reminds me of parts of Ireland.

Kids were driving these animals around and around and around this little yard to separate the wheat from the chaff . . . a very old-style threshing machine I suppose.

This was the most modern piece of farming machinery we saw on the entire island.

I wonder what this guy told his family that night about the goofy American who wanted his picture taken with him and his team.

Wouldn't it be great to find out what has happened to all of these people in the 35+ years since this picture was taken? What triumphs and tragedies befell this interesting group of characters, I wonder.

The man with the crutches lost his leg in a fishing accident. Here he is showing us how strong he still is . . . "even with only one leg!" he kept shouting.

I'll bet this spot gets really wild and wooly in the winter.

LTJG Bill Wadsworth was almost always in a good mood . . . one of the best officers I served with during my 3 1/2 years on active duty.

Here I am, trying to bribe a local official so he will let off one of our crew members who got into a little scuffle the night before :-).

Not exactly a good tourist spot to bring your children to.

Anyone can be captivated by this wonderful place, where humans exist right on the edge of the sea.

Through our cab driver / interpreter, I asked these men if it was OK to take their picture. They said sure, but couldn't understand why anyone thought they were worth a photo.

What an incredibly beautiful land!

I wonder what was going through my mind at this moment?

Talk about real seamen! In 1969, the men of the Azores were still launching small boats from this ramp to hunt whales in much the same way as their great, great grandfathers did two centuries ago.

Ponta Delgada, Azores . . . looking up at the church from the waterfront.

A clock tower in Ponta Delgada, Azores.

The entire time we were on Sao Miguel, both before and after our on-station time, this guy was sitting here on the corner, patiently making little stones out of big ones. . . . And he sure looks happy, doesn't he?

Notice the nautical motif on the front of the church.

By now, these little boys are grown men and probably have children older than this themselves . . . time really flies if you don't pay close attention to the here and now.

Fishermen tending their traps and nets.

With small fields like these, all encased by stone fences, tractors are out of the question. The technological stage of farming on the Azores in 1969 was at least a century behind the rest of the world . . . BUT, the taste and quality of food grown in the Azores was the very best I've ever had on this planet!

Lorenzo, pretending to be cool :-).

This was the most common form of transportation on the island.

Even on a cloudy day, the scenery was spectacular.

Life seemed very peaceful on the Azores in 1969, particularly to the men who had recently returned from cruises to the sunny climes of Viet Nam.

Drying racks for onions and other produce.

Part of the beautiful coast of Sao Miguel, Azores.

A very young Lorenzo standing at one of the boat ramps that were used to launch small boats, which the local men still used to hunt whales several times a year. . . . This was in 1969.

This is one of the vats where whale blubber was still rendered on the Azores.

I can't imagine why they thought they needed a traffic cop here.

A couple of craftsmen in a cabinet shop where we bought a few souvenirs.

This bell has probably been ringing for as long as the USA has been around.