Tuesday April 26 – Whale Watching, Eastern Sao Miguel

Our B&B hostess had again provided a wide variety of breads, her homemade jams, cheeses, tea and fruit juice to drink. I enjoyed the morning conversation before she had to head to work; Clare again stayed busy upstairs applying makeup, and when she came down, didn’t want anything but yogurt.

Having mastered the art of leaving town from our mistake the morning before we made a quick 15 minutes across the island and back to Ponta, parking underground and walking up to the tour kiosk. Clare had agreed to go morning whale watching with me, which wasn’t her first choice. We were again booked with Futurismo, and the day started off great, with waterproof macs provided to protect against water spray, and a trained marine biologist as one of our guides.

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We saw dolphins right after we pulled out of the port, and enjoyed them frolicking around the boat. Then we headed off, first one direction, then another, according to directions given from watchers on the mountain with telescopes as to where they’d seen a whale blow. Besides the native whales to the region, in the spring there are migrating herds of whales.

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Our hopes were very high to sight some whales, but as much as we chased around we were the only tour that week NOT to see any whales. Since Futurismo guarantees sighting whales, I got our money back (a few others chose to reschedule). Between no whales spotted and the seasickness, the morning was a disappointment.

However, we had the rest of the day to enjoy, so we decided to try the pottery shop the Azores are known for. Clare and I carefully combed through the pieces available to buy, each choosing to take back several to the States. Then we headed back out on the highway, counter-clockwise around the east and north sides of the island. The wider, straighter highway gave way to narrow roads with switchbacks, often steep mountain sides on one side of the road, and drop to the ocean or down a cliff on the other.

13903424_10103168732371776_8804256746012014442_nWith some clouds and fog, parts of our drive had limited visibility of the amazing coast line and forest we were driving through. Still the drive with hairpin turns, and just a few scattered villages until we got to Nordeste, was thrilling. Although Portuguese have inhabited the island for over 400 years, clear cut forests had regrown or been reseeded, and the population density is not great, so there are large tracts of wild lands. Due to volcanic nature of the island formation, the peaks rise steeply above the sea. We could see where landslides had started with a lot of rainfall causing trees and soil to start sliding down hillsides, and were glad we could get around road damage, and that nothing came down on top of us! We finally ate a late lunch outside of Nordeste, then followed signs to a much larger highway taking us back towards Ribiera, where we took our cut off to Fenais da Luz.


After resting a bit, we decided to go back across to Lagoa to one of the restaurants that had been recommended, Palmeras da Quinta. It turned out to be a very modern looking building connected to a spa and hotel, right outside the historic village. Once seated inside, we were given computer tablets to order our menu items from. Since I don’t like seafood, I again treated myself to a delicious steak, while Clare again experimented. For dessert I got as passionfruit meringue and Clare got a different dessert. The passionfruit meringue, which Clare also tried, was about the best dessert we’d ever enjoyed in our entire lives. It was light and sweet without making us overly full. We were satiated and happy as we drove in the night back to La Casa dos Hisbiscos, our temporary home in Fenais. We were still not adjusted to the time zone, so just went to bed right away, even though it was early.

 

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