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A 30-minute ferry ride brought us from
Horta to Pico, the second-largest island
in the Azores. A bronze monument of
a harpooner in a small boat heralds
TheWhaling Industry Museum at Cais
do Pico on the north coast. Inside,
whales were processed in massive
boilers and vats into vitamins, oil, fertil-
izer and animal feed, from 1942 until
1984, when whaling stopped.
“In 1,000 years, Azorean whalers with
their rudimentary equipment didn’t
kill what Japanese whalers killed in
one season,” said Eva Goulart, our guide. (She moved
back to Pico after living in Oakville, Ontario, for several
We saw the narrow, six-person canoes at theWhalers
Museum in Lajes do Pico on the south coast of the is-
land, which is 42 kilometres long and 20 kilometres wide.
It wasn’t surprising that many canoes overturned as they
pulled harpooned whales to the shore. A 22-metre-long
sperm whale’s jaw, in the museum, was three times our
height. Its teeth were as long as our hands. Nowadays,
instead of hunting whales, Azoreans bring tourists out to
whale-watch between May and October.
At Fonte Cuisine Restaurant, in the bucolic Hotel Aldeia
da Fonte, we dined on grilled fish and prawns and
smoked Azorean sausage marinated in white wine, garlic
and spices. To accompany our meal, we enjoyed two
great, but inexpensive, wines – Terras de Lava and Curral
Atlantis. Both depicted Pico Volcano on their labels.
The latter wine’s name recalled another local legend. It
claims that the Azores are remnants of Atlantis.
Pico – Whales, Wine & Underground Walks
Bottles of Terras de Lava and Curral Atlantis wines from Pico.
Bronze monument at theWhaling Industry
Whale fin in front of Pico.
Photo: iStockphoto