Today’s scenic highlight was a visit to Capelinhos, the site of a massive series of volcanic eruptions on Faial in 1957-58. Villages were buried in ash and over 2 kilometers of new land were added to the island. Miraculously, no one was killed. The views over the towering bluffs of ash and pumice were dramatic, as were videos of the eruptions presented in the nearby volcano museum. The museum is creatively built underground at the base of the historic lighthouse, which somehow escaped destruction during the eruptions.

Another highlight of the day was the whaling museum in the town of Horta. This museum is located in the former whaling factory, “Fabrica da Baleia de Porto Pim,” where sperm whales were rendered into oil and “meal” – ground bones and meat that were used for cattle feed and agricultural fertilizer on the islands. Whaling officially ended in the Azores in 1987, though it had ceased to be a major activity by the 1970s. We’re pleased that whale-watching is now one of the major tourist attractions of the islands.