An unknown paradise in the middle of the Atlantic.
A new adventure lies ahead. I’m on my way to Sao Miguel, the main island of the Azores in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, about 1300 km west of Portugal. I haven’t done much research this time. I know the islands lie far away from the European continent, that it belongs to Portugal, that Ponta Delgada is the capital and it is said to be the European Hawai’i. After my adventure to Hawai’i last March, I was very excited to check out these islands, which are a little bit closer.
When the plane took off, I realized how incredibly lucky I am with the life I’m living (you can read about it in my last blog ‘Behind the scenes’). I’m on my way to an unknown paradise to see if it might be a possible location for a new surf trip. Doesn’t seem too bad to spent my first weeks of the summer there.
I arrived in Ponta Delgada but my luggage was still in Amsterdam. I imagined it had to happen once, with all the traveling I’m doing. The only thing I could do was laugh about it and hope it would arrive sooner or later.
A friend of mine knew a guy on the island where I could spend my first nights. He knew the islands very well and told me all about it. He was telling me about this special place on Sao Jorge island. A surf spot where you could only come by foot, where a friend of his build some huts and where there was barely anyone in the water. 2 days after I arrived, my luggage was found and brought to the place I was staying. Since there was some swell coming, I decided to go to Sao Jorge island for some days, to relax and surf.
Sao Jorge is indeed a beautiful island. Small, very green, a friendly vibe (where in the world can you leave your car open, ready to be used?), clear water and even though it’s the high summer season, barely any tourists. After a couple of days of hiking, surfing, sleeping and relaxing, I went back to Sao Miguel to pick up Tomas, who would join me for the last week.
Our adventure of wild camping, exploring the island and doing research for a possible surf trip location started. After our first night sleeping near a waterfall (our shower), we caught some waves on the South side of the island. The most crowded spot where many locals surf, since it is the closest to town and not a lot of people own a car here.
Over the next days there wasn’t much swell coming in. But being on a ridiculously beautiful island, an adventure is never far away. We hiked down a volcanic crater and made camp next to a lake. Making fire was a tough job since there wasn’t much firewood and if we found some, it was very humid. But Tomas was committed to the job and made it happen: 2 hours later we had tea, a smoky fire and a instant food meal.
The Azores is a volcanic archipelago which has a lot of rain fall. This results in green, hilly islands with lots of lakes, rocks and a lot of flora. The only reason I can think of that the islands don’t attract many tourists is because of the climate. In the summertime, it doesn’t get much warmer than 26 degrees Celsius with some cloudy days and some rainfall every now and then. For the rest, I was really surprised not to see many people. For what I’ve seen so far, it’s incredibly beautiful, peaceful and friendly with a lot of amazing hikes, astonishing nature and warm waters with a big chance to see different kinds of dolphins and whales throughout the whole year.
We camped on some beautiful places: on a cliff with amazing sunsets on the North shore, at a rocky beach at the quiet West coast and on top of a mountain range on the East coast. We hiked some random hikes through forests which made me think of the Lord of the Rings set, on top of volcanic craters with views you can hardly imagine, passed waterfalls and ocean views where you can only dream of. It really felt like we were super far away from the rest of the world.
Oh yeah, we also came here to surf, and to check out some locations for the surf trips. We found another beach break on the North coast. The most well-known, with hardly any people surfing when the swell was on. Pretty much every day there where some waves, good for beginners and for longboarding. Some days we took out our shortboard and we had some fun sessions.
The island is amazing really. The surf is good, but like the rest of the Atlantic, not the biggest waves during summertime. But you shouldn’t want to come here only to surf. The island is too beautiful not to go on an adventure. It’s perfect to go to in summertime since there are not too many people and the weather is just fine.
One way or the other, I will be back here one day. There is too much to explore and there are still plenty of breaks to surf, whales to spot and trails to hike. I can’t wait to dive into that beautiful clear and warm water again.
What a life we are living, what a life to share and what a beautiful world we live in.