Baías de Agualva

NOTE: I am having difficulty posting photos, which I have always considered essential to my travel posts. Rather than not post at all, I will include as many photos as I can in the remaining posts of this trip, then try to add more later.

Monday night we learned that schools would be closed on Tuesday because of a major storm. Forty mph winds were expected, but minimal rain. The desk clerk said schools close when winds are strong enough to blow the children over. Being used to Oklahoma winds, we weren’t particularly concerned and decided to continue with our planned hike on the north coast. We encountered rain in the middle of the island, but there was blue sky as we began our hike.

The hike began with a steep descent to the coast, then a scramble back up the cliff. There were some nice views. We encountered a part where we were between a rock wall and the cliff. We were thankful for vegetation along the cliff edge and that the wind wasn’t too strong.

Then we rounded a corner and encountered gale force winds and a cliff edge with no vegetation. Fortunately, the wind was blowing inland. If it had been blowing toward the cliff, we would certainly have turned back. At one point, I was blown into the vegetation by the wall and could only hang on and wait until the gust abated. We finally found a place where we could squeeze between the wall and the barbed wire above it to reach the safety of a field. Then we climbed over another wall to get back on the trail where it turned inland away from the cliff. It was still hard going as we went steeply uphill into the wind.

Later at dinner, we learned that all trails on the island were “closed” because of the storm, but there was no signage to that effect. My description may suggest that we took serious risks, but we always knew we had options.

After the hike, we visited the throat of a volcano that erupted about 2,000 years ago. It was like being inside a large bulbous vase with an opening to the sky. The artfully lit walls gleamed with a variety of colors. The space was nothing like a limestone cave.

Then we went inside a lava tube. This was a totally different experience with rough, harsh surfaces all around—again, quite different from a limestone cave. I bumped my hard hat eight times.

Categories: The Azores | Leave a comment

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