An unexpected 10 hour delay on the return flight gave ample time to hike the rim of Sete Cidades, trail PR 04 SMI (Mata do Canario - Sete Cidades). Turned around about the 3 mile mark, but got some nice views and managed to avoid blowing away in the 20-to-30mph winds. Many descend all the way to the town of Sete Cidades and take a bus or taxi back (11.8km/7.4 miles one-way), but I decided to turn around early and head to the most famous viewpoint of Sete Cidades, Miradouro da Boca do Inferno.
Turns out the very flat, less-than-1-kilometer, hike to Miradouro da Boca do Inferno easily lived up to its name as the best view around. The extra one-third of a kilometer (~1.2 miles total) to the very end of Miradouro da Boca do Inferno is a tad more effort, but still easy and well worth it. Easily the hike to do for Sete Cidades. The stop at Lagoa do Canario right off the trail on the return is worth a few minutes, too.
Got caught in a bovine-caused traffic jam on the way way to dinner. Took a few minutes longer than I expected, but still wasn't long, and seemed like a fitting end to my time in the Azores. Dinner itself was not particularly good, if somewhat more artfully done than expected, but Xitaka was pretty empty (good for social distancing/COVID-19 safety) and had fast wifi, both of which were exactly what I needed for the evenings' calls. Then had a bit of confusion (aka: difficulty reading Portugese) trying to find diesel to fill up the rental car before heading back to the airport.
The return flight started off with a quick jaunt through security and immigration at Joao Paulo II Airport, one of the more through secondary security screenings I've had, then a brief rain shower that still prompted the airport to bring a bus to bring all 16 of us to our plane, instead of a quick walk across the tarmac. The 16 of us (plus flight crew) got to soak up a sunset made all the more beautiful by the brief rain shower. Food on the return flight actually wasn't bad, again with very fresh fruit, but you definitely have to wonder about the profitability of the route with only 16 (!) passengers onboard a plane for 166. At least it was great to spend some time talking to fellow passenger, including The Points Guy's Ethan Klapper, who covered the inaugural flight three days earlier.
Due to headwinds, the return flight was right around 6 hours. Add in the continued bad weather on the east coast and the total delay time ended up being more like 11 hours. At least I beat the customs and immigration lines at EWR and found myself with other travelers from the flight in Terminal B, looking in vain for a customer service agent for vouchers and hotel rooms and instead having equal (lack of) luck from the virtual agents based in Guam.