The Azores in Pictures: Faial Island

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Faial is one of nine volcanic islands in The Azores, the Portuguese archipelago located in the Atlantic Ocean.  It is perfect for photographers, hikers and general lovers of the great outdoors.

Located between Europe (Lisbon lies 1,500km to the east) and North America (New York lies 4,000km to the west), Faial Island is a popular transit point for sailors crossing the Atlantic.  And yet when I told people I was heading there earlier this year, most responded with blank stares.  And this is part of its charm: it has a tourism infrastructure that makes planning and travelling on the island relatively easy and comfortable – without the crowds.

But that’s not all it offers.  The landscape is stunning and diverse, the history fascinating, the locals friendly, the whale watching world class and the marina characteristic.

As a keen photographer, I was spoiled for choice – at popular Horta marina, on the water with whales and dolphins, at the volcanic sites that have shaped both land and history or under the stars at a quiet beach.

These are some of my favourite photographs from my visit to Faial.

 

Horta Marina, Faial, Azores

Horta Marina.

More than 1,400 yachts stop at Horta Marina each year for the stocks and repairs they need to make an Atlantic Crossing.

Full moon rising, Pico Mountain (taken from Faial, Azores)

Pico Mountain.

Pico Island lies directly opposite Faial and the mountain that dominates the island can be clearly seen from Horta Marina – if the clouds allow it.  This was taken moments after the full moon rose.

 

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Horta Marina.

Horta Marina is an open museum of nautical history.  The tradition of leaving a “I was here” painting has continued through the decades and a walk through the marina is a reminder of the number of different people from all over the world who have docked here.

 

Sunset, Pico Mountain (taken from Faial, Azores)

Pico Mountain.

The mountain, as seen from Horta Marina, doesn’t change, but the view of it does – constantly.  The clouds determine it’s visibility and the time of day it’s colour.  This was taken just after the sun had set for the day, leaving a beautiful pink sky in it’s wake.

 

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Horta Marina at moonlight.

I never tired of photographing Horta Marina and the full moon provided beautiful light over the peaceful bay.

 

Horta, Faial, Azores

Porto Pim, Horta.

Porto Pim was once the original harbour of Faial and sits on the outskirts of Horta.

 

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Porto Pim, Horta.

The full moon provided beautiful natural light on the sandy beach at Porto Pim and was one of my favourite locations to end the day.

 

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Bottlenose Dolphin

The Azores is one of the top 10 best destinations in the world for whale and dolphin encounters, being a temporary or permanent home to more than a third of the world’s species.

 

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Sperm Whale

Although I was too late for the annual migration of humpback, blue, fin and sei whales,  there were enough sperm whales in the waters near Pico and Faial Island to ensure I didn’t return home disappointed.

 

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Capelinhos

This is the site of the 1957 volcanic eruption that displaced many locals from their homes, forcing them to relocate to North America.  There is a great visitors centre that provides education about the eruption and the islands themselves with a collection of video and photographic footage.

 

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Caldeira

470m deep and 1,850 in diameter, the caldeira is central to the island, both geographically and historically.  It’s a popular location for hikers on the island.

 

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Kellie is a traveller and photographer who is most at home when exploring the world beyond it. Through the intersection of her travel, writing and photography passions, she shares her experiences to inspire others to create there own. The desire to live life instead of existing through it has introduced Kellie to inspirational locations throughout seven continents and from this a passion for landscape and wildlife photography has evolved. She feels a particular connection to the polar regions and Africa. You can see more of her photography at www.kellienetherwoodphotography.com

Comments

  1. These are beautiful photos! I’ve thought about going to the Azores because I’ve heard they’re so beautiful and because we have friends whose families are from there.

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