Faial is small but a very beautiful island, total population on the island is around 15000. Historically the life on not only Faial, but on the whole Azores have been very harsh. The main activity has been farming, fishing and whaling. The last whale was killed 1986 by old whalers from Pico, the neighbouring island.
Faial offers a lot of varying nature, very well kept with excellent roads with very little traffic, making it easy to explore, but first about Horta
The main town and port is Horta an old and legendary port for sailors during the history. First settlement was 1467 and 1498 it got the status as a village. Ca 1200 sailing boats clear in here during a year, and I think all the crew visit Peter Café Sport, a meeting point for sailors and cruisers since 1918, now managed by third generation “Peters”.
A very convenient location for cruisers
Many cruisers have left pennants etc to contribute to the atmosphere. We were there frequently enjoying the very good fish soup for only 2 Euro, good value for money.
The view from the harbor is stunning with the top of Pico in the background. The top is the highest mountain in Portugal 2351 m.
All the boat-marks that traditionally are made by cruiser contribute to the very nice atmosphere in the harbor. Below you will find a few examples
Of course, we had to make one as well
Kerstin is painting under full concentration
Not so nice writing and some misspelling as well, we laugh and said that Virginia our grandchild 4 years old soon to visit us would have made a much better job.
The next day when we should correct our misspelling someone had taken our paint even though the paint was standing right at our boat, we went around and found it and claimed it back so we could correct the spelling
No misspelling we hope. We wanted to fill in some of the text once again, but the next day the paint was gone again!!!!
The harbor is an active and lively place with a lot of activities especially for kids with sailing school, and school holiday activities such as canoeing, windsurfing, one of the more popular activity was jumping from the quay into the not so warm water (ca 22 degree C).
Kids jumping into the water, but note the sign swimming forbidden, but no one bothered not even the Police. Rules not so important?
Just a short walk from the harbor one has nice nature to walk, one is the hill in the background on the photos above, and there is another hill not far away and from both of them one has a very nice view on Horta. Well worth to do.
It is a steep and hard climb.
But a rest with a cup of tea and a sandwich tasted good while we admired the view.
Going down was easier but slippery
Led us to this dramatic viewpoint on our way down.
The town itself is small and charming
With a nice park
And a few good restaurants, here together with our daughter Emelie and her husband Axel.
From Horta we took a whale watching tour, it was a sunny and very nice day, very enjoyable
This time with my son Kristoffer who visited us together with our grandchild Virginia.
We were lucky and saw not only whales, but also a large school of Dolphins
It was majestic to see these magnificent mammals in such a magic surrounding.
A whale diving down with the top of Pico in the background
A Sperm whale mother with her calf, the calf can not dive yet, but the mother can dive to several 1000 meters depth, where they pray mainly on giant squids.
We where lucky and saw 4 different whales diving.
But we did not only make fun things in Horta, we had to repair our worn-out sail as well
De-lamination on several places, do not buy laminate sails for extensive cruising!
Strangely at least for us, was that along most of the original folds there were tears.
We got a lot of practice in applying pre-glued fabrics on the sail, we used almost 3 sqm and that was not enough but mend the most damaged parts, now we have to see if it last until we get back to main land Europe a trip of about 900 Nm.
Some of the patches can be seen.
Traveling around on Faial one sees a very varying and beautiful landscape
Billowing agricultural landscape
Beaches, black from old lava. There are volcanos on all the islands in the Azores
The old volcano of Faial
Moon landscape from the latest eruption 1957 who covered part of the old lighthouse on Ponta Dos Capelinhos on the western tip of Faial
Forest with some impressive trees
And impressive ferns I believe
An old harbor, only accessible in very settled weather
With a very impressive stairway down
….can have a swim
And a LARGE
Glass of wine
It is very green wherever one looks
And magnificent Hortensia all-over the place along the roads
Horta is and outstanding beautiful Island highly recommended to visit.