Ocean, the great and powerful

August 29, 2014
Posted on November 17, 2014

Our search for the perfect snorkelling spot was bound to come to an end, but not without some obstacles. We dedicated the whole day to chilling on beaches, but sometimes the ocean is just going bananas. Our snorkelling masks remained unused.


Praia Santa Bàrbara, near Ribeira Grande

After a tiring day hiking on Lagoa do Fogo, we decided to relax and headed to praia Santa Bàrbara. The waves were stronger than ever, and while they are fun to play in, they are also very deceiving to those not skilled in reading the sea currents. One moment you hop over them, the next moment you find yourself lacking the footing to initiate that hop. And then you notice that the shore is kind of far away…

There is certainly a chance that we’d be able to get out of there eventually, but the lifeguards did not want to take any chances and came out to fetch us. Alex observed afterwards, that apparently I float okay, but do not swim that well. In retrospect, it was probably the most “out of my depth” I ever was, not just literally, but figuratively too. Never before did my sudden realization of how unprepared I was for the situation made me feel quite so nervous. It didn’t surprise me afterwards that they have lifeguards on every half-decent beach in the Azores.

After getting back to our senses and reflecting a bit on what happened, we climbed on the rocks on the beach and had lunch (we were still not sick of the bolos lêvedos) while watching surfers take advantage of the waves. If you watch a few surfing compilation videos on Youtube you might think it’s an exhilarating adrenaline filled sport. Well, it is, of course. But it’s also a lot of work, work and some more work.


The surfers ride the waves, get to the end of the crest, and have to swim back into the ocean, over, and over, and over again.

For the second part of the day, we headed south to Àgua de Pau, where the waves did their best to cause a wardrobe malfunction to anyone who dares enter the water. People rarely talk about it out loud, but stretchy swimsuits become looser when wet, so unless your bikini is really tight, the odds are against you as far as keeping your pants on is concerned. One more reason to consider a one-piece, or something with adjustable strings. 😉


Our scooters bask in the afternoon sun while we’re having ice cream in Àgua de Pau.

Not pictured: fresh fish we got at the supermarket and cooked for dinner that night.

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