Jo’s Monday walk : Porto Pim

I have just one more walk to share on Faial, before moving on to the island of Pico.  Porto Pim is a strip of sand and pellucid bay, tucked between Monte Queimado and Monte da Guia, to the west of the town of Horta, where we walked last week.  At least, it was, the day we took this stroll.  Pretty as it is, there’s a dark side to this story.  Take note of the factory on the far shore.

The beach is a conservation area, and is the first part of the island of Faial to have been settled, back in 1460.  The ruins of a fortress guard the entrance to the bay, and there was once a thriving port here.

Today all is peaceful, though we did note that a lone yachtsman, moored and enjoying the serenity, was asked to move on by the maritime police.  He wasn’t exactly disturbing the peace, and communications were friendly, but he very quickly upped anchor and away.

The shoreline is ragged with rocks and it’s easy to imagine volcanic activity here.  A straggle of houses line half of the bay.

I can dawdle by reflections and shimmering water all day, but eventually I tore myself away and continued around the bay.  I had half a mind to climb up to the Senhora da Guia, but had already been to the top previously, by taxi.  Clouds were scudding about and when the sun disappeared it was cool.  Against my better judgement I headed towards the whaling factory.

It’s a sad fact of life that man and beast often struggle to live side by side.  In the 19th century these islands were the base for a titanic battle between man and whale.  With often averted gaze, I observed the tiny craft which the islanders used to corral the whales and harpoon them to death.  Horrifying though I find it, it was a way of life and a means of survival for islands that were poor and isolated.  I can’t bring myself to share details of the industry but the Fabrica da Baleia (Whaling Factory) explains it for you.  From as young as 13, the men of the islands took to sea, rowing these flimsy vessels in pursuit of their victims.

Whaling was outlawed just 70 years ago.  I’m so happy that leisure boats have replaced the whalers.  The 20th century brought submarine cables to the islands, ensuring telegraphic communications between America and Europe, and now tourism is thriving.

Peace has been restored.  I found this bay oddly disturbing.  Perhaps because of the carnage that once took place here.  I was happy to move on, and we returned to Horta for a meal at Peter’s Sport Café, famous in these parts and full of flags and souvenirs from passing sailors.  You’ll be happy to know that I had a wonderfully healthy hummus salad.  The other half didn’t even have space for cake after his bumper burger.  How sad!

walking logo

Lots of walks again this week.  Thank you all, and please find time to visit- especially any blog you don’t know.  Details over on Jo’s Monday walk.

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Debbie has me discombobulated in old Valencia this week :

A casual circumambulation of Valencia’s Barrio del Carmen

Jackie is a terrible temptress, with a love of art :

Summer Tarts

Amazing what you can do with corn!  Just ask Janet :

Monday walk… in tall corn

Toronto looks to have some nice suburbs.  Pay a visit with Indra :

Toronto Summer- Unionville vibes

A few clouds, a bench or two and some lovely old stonework- that’s Anabel in Scotland :

Castle Semple Country Park

While Rosemay revives a few memories for me :

Valley Gardens Harrogate – Walk to Harlow Carr

And Drake is, as always, at home by the water :

Back to the Normandy

Ulli takes us to a place I know quite well from my days with Polish family :

Vast diversity of Wroclaw

Coffee and cake with Irene, but that’s not all!

A Walk to Starbucks

Ruth took a stroll yesterday.  I never mind what day we walk, so long as we do :

Sunday Stroll -Tranmere Coastal Path

Or even linger a little while, like Carol :

Behind the Walls

But if it’s a long walk you want, Cathy’s your expert :

(Camino day 25) Carrion de los Condes to Calzadilla de la Cueza

And finally, let me introduce Anne.  Please do pop over and say hello :

Frome riverside walkway

Feeling quite virtuous with no cake in sight.  This week I’ll be taking you across the water to Pico.  You’ll love it!  Have a happy one!

115 comments

  1. A beautiful location but it is a fact of life that there are many places with pasts which we now find uncomfortable. However it was a way of life and to support oneself and one’s family.

    1. I know! We have different values these days but survival is survival. Distressing though, to be surrounded by the evidence. I couldn’t wait to be outdoors again.

      1. That’s true Jo but while they can and do change in many ways they seem incapable of budging on whaling. I don’t know what lobby, if any, needs to be satisfied such that they would reverse an earlier decision to curtail whaling.

  2. I know how you feel about the whaling. We can’t judge the past by modern standards, but it does leave a very uncomfortable feeling. We visited an old whaling station in Western Australia. It is now a museum and whale preservation centre, but I couldn’t even look at the whaling photos and didn’t want to go into the buildings. It was ghastly and I never wrote a post about it. It’s nice to see how beautiful the beach and little town are now and I enjoyed visiting with you. Thanks for including my night time art gallery in your list this week. 🙂

    1. I hadn’t even thought about Australia in the context of whaling, Carol, but Brian pointed out that there are many fancy mansions at the coast that used to be whaling stations. We haven’t always treat each other with respect so what hope did animals have? I did love your gallery 🙂 🙂

  3. The photos of very nice and the water looks so clear. I hope you enjoyed it even with the industry of the past. Sometimes we are drawn to places that have a disturbing stories, and places that don’t have them, make some up to bring people in, so maybe it wasn’t so bad.

  4. It is sad to hear about whales been killed, even if it was long ago. They are such magnificent creatures. I can’t believe your other half passed on having cake. I would have it to take away for later 😄

    1. I don’t think there were too many choices on the islands a hundred years ago, Terri. I imagine it was terrifying being out on open water with panic stricken whales. Sometimes you have to be grateful for tourism. 🙂 🙂

  5. Hindsight is 20-20, isn’t it? I’m glad the whaling part of the tale is in the past. It’s such a lovely place, but then many lovely places have less than idyllic bits of history. At least you could enjoy it now and that hummus sounds very good to me right now. 🙂 Too hot to feel like eating much or much that’s not cold. But let me cool you off by offering you some wonderfully cool and beautiful views

    https://sustainabilitea.wordpress.com/2019/07/15/monday-walk-look-out/

    janet

  6. what a lovely walk, Jo! it looks beautiful, magical even, despite its grim past. i love the places you take us along! thank you dear friend 🙂

    1. The first evening we were on Faial we went to Porto Pim for a meal, LolaWi, and the wind was whipping the sails about. Nice to see it so calm and peaceful 😍🐳⛵💕

  7. A beautiful walk, Jo – but I understand your mixed feelings… On Pico there is a museum as well I think. We visited on our first trip.
    And well…I have eaten whale too. In 1982 we went to Greenland for the 1000 year jubilee of the viking Erik Röde, who is said to have discovered America. As the Danish King and Queen was there for the occasion as well, there was a big party for everybody and we ate all dishes the sea bestowed upon us…including whale and shark. But 37 years ago – I did not have the knowledge I have today.

    1. In some ways it’s a good thing that times have moved on, in others not so much! We were offered a tour of the one on Pico with a very charming man who was proud of his whaling grandfather. I was happy that we didn’t have enough time that day 😍🐳⛵💕

  8. What a lovely bay. And photos. Whaling was a way of life for many nations and still is for some. I suppose you are going to hate me when I admit to having eaten whale meat steak? I recall visiting a whaling station/museum in Western Australia. And one in Canada. A hard life for those who were whalers. And I am glad that whales have an easier time of it nowadays. I am also glad that I don’t have to catch my dinner!

      1. It was a bit like tuna I suppose. Meaty texture and slightly fishy taste. After many meals of raw fish and brown cheese (this was when I worked in Norway) I confess that it was a nice change!

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