Author: Caro (Jeezy peeps)
Position: Horta, Azores
Nautical Position:38°31’8’N 028°37’5’W
Etmal: 12309 NM
Ship: Pelican of London
We’ve now spent a couple of days in the lovely town of Horta, so I decided to write a bit about a couple of things that I learnt during my stay. Enjoy.
Today we had an enjoyable day out, riding our bikes down a volcano. Yes, you heard correctly, we were driven up the sleeping fire mountain where each student got a bike and after a small instruction basically telling us not to die in all the different ways imaginable, we were allowed to take off. Due to the quantity of pelican Trainees, they had to split us into two groups, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. At the top of the Volcano was a large Caldera, where white birds flew through while the steep walls were covered in flora which could easily attach to the rocky ground.
It all had a surreal appearance and also the small volcanic water ponds located inside the caldera added to the mystique attire of this place. We started our tour from the caldera and rode past lush green fenced fields which gave way to the coniferous forrest which was tainted in all the shades of green, sun rays pierced through the cover of needles and illuminated the shadowy undergrowth. At some point I found myself chasing a chicken and then stopping it from being chased by wild teenagers.
Due to the road always leading downwards it was surely one of the most exiting bike rides I remember. We gained quite some speed and even leaned into the curves of the country road, which maybe didn’t lead us home but into the centre of Horta. We had to keep several metres distance to avoid collisions when braking, due to our speed and of course we tried to accelerate to the maximum. Even our tires started smoking when bracing and the air filled with the smell of burnt rubber around us. We enjoyed some stunning views onto the volcanic island Pico, which basically is one huge, majestic volcano in middle of the blue ocean. The peak is nearly always embraced by fluffy white clouds and large waves braking into white spray on its rocky shores. All in all quite an impressive sight. After many small delightful stops accompanied with a lot of fun we entered the traditional pleasant town Horta where we immediately drove to the Pelican and helped stocking our new food supplies.
The small town of Horta is famous for their scrimshaw. Scrimshaw is art made by sailors, especially during the late 18th to 20th centuries, where they carve images with ink into whale teeth which are called ivory and bones. Especially during this era whaling was essential for the oil they carry in their heads. This was mainly used for illumination, whereas fat from the meat for soap, whale vomit called amber was used for perfume, meat was consumed by the population. Other products where also made with the use of whale leftovers like corsets from bone or simply art made with their bones and teeth. Whaling came out of fashion after the discovery of petroleum and with that the petroleum lamps came into fashion. The sperm whale was released from its use as oil source and hunting declined but the art stayed. The life as a whale was tough and did not seldomly result in injuries or death.
In Horta especially small boats were sent our to see carrying rocket flares on board. As soon as these spotted a whale they sent the explosive up into a sky and the people on shore immediately gathered and ran to the boats to help and tame the “wild beast” which harpoons. Once killed, the whale was dead weight floating at the surface of the ocean and was brought to shore for further processing. The teeth were used by sailors for their art, who polished the uneven teeth to create a soft and smooth surface. The averagely 500 – 600 Gramm heavy teeth were covered in ink and the artist drew on it in form of a negative. The places he didn’t carve stayed white after the ink would be washed off.
In 1984, the strongest storm of the century hit Horta. Winds reached up to speeds of 250 km/h whereas the waves reached a height of 15 to 20 metres. In front of the town there is a huge, cliffy Rock which protrudes into the furious ocean where it is exposed to the force of nature. With spray reaching a height of up to 60 metres a Hortan photographer decided it would be a great idea to take a picture during the calmest part of the day. The images laid untouched in his possession, until one day he decided to present them to the people in the Café Sport. Immediately they recognised the huge crash of the waves in one of his images the side profile of Neptune in all his glory. His majestic crown, wild hair, nose, mouth and lips can easily seen as the wave is shattered on the rock. Once you see it you can’t overlook it. You can find this image all around Horta and who knows what slumbers deep in the barely discovered depths of the ocean. Maybe we humans aren’t as intelligent as we always think we are.
Caro: Hello mum, I’m sorry for always laughing you when you try and ride a bicycle. I kind of fell over while standing with my bike, head first into a bush and struggled getting out. Well I thought nobody had noticed until someone shouted loudly: I’ve recorded that!