Sao Miguel (Azores)

37° 44 N 025° 39 W

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15 August - 01 September 2002

Sao Miguel is one of the most beautiful islands we have ever visited. Ponta Delgada, the capital, is an island capital as any other, but that is where the similarity ends. The photo above, shows Liz in a hot waterfall, the orange colour is an algae that thrives in the rich mineral content of the water that bubbles out of the faults here in the Mid Atlantic Ridge. Earthquakes are quite common here. The mineral laden smells from the bowels of the earth awaken deep prehistorc images. The air must have been what the dinosaurs breathed. The sounds of the water boiling deep, deep, down, echo and rumble at incredibly low frequencies


Here is "Voo Livre's" view of Gilana and Gilana's view of Voo Livre as we head out of Praia da Vitoria heading for Ponta Delgada, Sao Miguel.


Soon after we arrived in Ponta Delgada. Cid celebrated his 40th birthday. Liz and the other kids organised a party for him in the restaurant in the marina.

This genetic anomaly exists in the Ponta Delgada Museum. There is a huge dairy industry here on these islands and some of their cheeses are world famous.


We hired a car for three days and drove around the island. Once again we saw the same architecture as on some other Azorian islands. The releif here is very steep, this swimming place was spotted from the road on the top of the cliffs.


The roads, once you leave sea level become overgrown and verdant. We had just driven through the avenue of trees coasting down to a cool plateau, when we realised that we had arrived at Lagoa Furnas. The lake is formed in the crater and is fed by rainwater and geothermal springs. There is a cathedral in miniature here too, about the size of a large house.


Two views of the lake. It was so quiet and beautiful here that we stopped to have lunch on the shores of the lake, with fresh air from the sea drifting across with faint tinges of sulphurous fumes from the vents on the opposite shore.

In the village of Furnas, there is this working mill, probably one of the few in the world fed with hot water (40 deg C) Liz posed for this shot, almost postcard material.



Top Left. This house was in the park behind the mill. Here you can see the water boiling out of the earth. Liz took two eggs along to cook them in the boiling water feeding the lake. The local people come here for picnics. They cook entire meals here burying the pot over a vent for an hour or two.


Liz has her first opportunity to swim in a natural hot spring, and smear mineral rich mud on her face.

Liz looks out East on the North coast of Sao Miguel.


This is another natural spring, where water boils out of the earth, and cascades steaming down the mountain. Incredible surreal beauty. Shampoo ads should be filmed here.

Liz saw this seagull struggling to swim from the main road in Ponta Delgada. She climbed down the embankment and waded out to the bird, talking calmly to it, she caught it and brought it back to Gilana where we cut a lot of fishing line free, and then let it fly away.