Pico

While Rachel and Chris were visiting, we wanted to take a trip to see another island.  The Azores are in 3 region, and my island is in the central group.  This is the largest group, which contains 5 of the 9 Azorean islands.  We decided to head by boat to Pico, about a 2.5-3 hour boat ride, or longer, depending on the type of boat.  We selected this because the island is known for it’s mountain, hence Pico.  It is the highest point in all of Portugal, meaning mainland included.  It does get snow in the winter.
I found a company where I could charter a boat.  Ryan was able to go with us, and my friend Sam came too.

Around 9 in the morning we piled into a small speed pontoon boat, and left from the Angra marina.  I had expected to get sea sick, even with taking meds, but none of us actually did get sick.  That was a very good thing because most of us on that boat have issues with motion sickness.
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Here we are leaving the marina area, and passing by Monte Brasil.
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Say bye to the island!
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Now we are a good bit away…
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and look what we spotted…
a pilot whale.
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Sorry if these are too blurry, but it was hard to take pictures with the boat moving up and down.  We spotted 2 species of dolphin and 1 specie of whale.  It was unbelievable and extremely amazing.  They were all in the same area and just kept swimming by us.
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After a bit I was confused over what was a whale and what was a dolphin because they do look similar.
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I managed to get some videos. They are not professional quality, but it gives you an idea of what we got to see there.
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By then Sao Jorge was in view.
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I zoomed in on the lighthouse, but it is a little hard to see.
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this island has waterfalls that pour off the side.  They are much bigger during the winter months.
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Bye bye Sao Jorge
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Out in the open sea again on the way to Pico.  We spotted some birds and slowed down to take some pictures.
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Here is Pico as we approached
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This is the village of Sao Roque.  The peak is hard to see because of the clouds, but you can make out where it is still going up behind the ridge in this picture.
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This is the boat.  I didn’t get a good picture before we headed out, but I managed to get one once we landed.
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This was neat looking.  It was near where we were eating lunch.
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This is the view we had from this restaurant.
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It was the clube naval (or something similar) restaurant.
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Nice view, although cloudy and grey.  A storm was heading in soon we only had 4 hours on the island.
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The guys got the buffet for lunch.
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Some bread and cheese for the table.
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Rachel had a tuna baguette.
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Sam had the cod.
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I ordered grilled fish, btu I honestly can’t remember which fish this was.
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Dessert was an ice cream bar.
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While we were waiting for the boat driver to find us an alternative ride for the day, we looked around the harbor.  The original driver had a broken car that day and most cabs were occupied.  It was starting to look like a big problem, but then he did find us 2 cabs that would show us around.
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This town is known for whaling back in the day.  It was their main industry.
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This is a whaling boat that was in the tourism office.
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The first activity was to drive up to the base mountain area where there is an observation area.  The top is not accessible by car.  Here are some pictures from areas where we stopped on the way to the observation area.
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The island across the way is Faial.  On the way over we also saw the outline of Graciosa, which means at this point we saw all 5 island of the central group on this day.
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We turned up the road to the peak.
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You can see that Faial is not too big.
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I had to zoom in to get a good picture of this mound.  They do not know the dates of these, but they sprung up all over the mountain during the time that it was active.  I actually think it is still an active volcano, but it does not do much now.
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Here is the peak of the mountain.
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Then we headed back down to the coast.  This area is known as Cachorro, which means puppy.  This is because this rock (yes, hard to see) is thought to look like a dog.  I find the word cachorro so funny because it was one of the first words I learned and then one day we were at a food truck and the menu said cachorro and I freaked out.  I assumed they were selling puppy.  No, turns out that is the word they use for hot dog.
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This area has lots of lava rock and the water goes in the cracks.
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After that, we hurried over to a wine museum.  We were short on time so we just bought some things and headed back to Sao Roque to see the whaling museum.
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This whaling museum was very interesting.  It was nice to learn about their history and culture, but some pictures were very bloody and graphic.
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Since the storm was coming, we had to head back a little early.  the trip was great, but it was super rough on the way home.  Tons of bumps and we were all soaked.  I couldn’t even open my eyes because it was like buckets of water being tossed at me.  There was not much we could do because it was the weather.  The driver did a great job of safely getting the boat home.  It was an awesome time, although I have bruised my behind a little bit and it is still hard to sit down.  Totally worth it!

QUESTIONS:  Do you get sea sick?  Have you ever been dolphin or whale watching?

13 comments:

Simply Life said...

what gorgeous views - looks like a great time!

Mer said...

so fun!! No, I don't get sea sick...I mean that would be bad seeing as I am married to a sailor. I have never been whale watching but I have seen dolphins many-a-time when at the beach!

Beth said...

Looks like a great time! I get seasick, as demonstrated by what happened on our trip out to Monhegan Island while we were in Maine. I threw up off the back of the boat AFTER we were docked and at the island. In my defense though, there were about 5 other people on the boat that also got sick--it was really, really rough.

Emily said...

I usually start feeling queasy on boats, too. Not my fave unless they are the size of cruise liners. :-) So neat that you saw dolphins and a whale, too!

Gina; The Candid RD said...

So fun!! I do not get seasick, however, just form watching these videos I could see how I might get seasick when so far out in the ocean and on such a small boat. It was also windy so that would perhaps cause problems! The dolphins (and whales??) look so pretty and happy to be alive. I love watching animals do their thing!

HAve a wonderful weekend Melinda. Thanks for sharing these pics and videos. So gorgeous.

sophia said...

Melinda, you like get ALL the good adventures. how did you get so lucky?! One of my good friends is interning with an ocean biology team right now, and she's posting pictures like yours on her Facebook all the time...and pics of her swimming with the dolphins! I'm so incredibly jealous, because I have yet to even see a whale or dolphin from a boat. >__<

Special K said...

I totally get sea sick...although I think certain points of my life, I am more sensitive to others. Too many times we don't "try" things because we have identities rooted in "I can't do that, because..." every now and again, I would need to check it out...I super want to go fishing...

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