Whale-watching! It wasn’t on the schedule but couldn’t be missed. Cliff negotiated a good deal – taxi there, three hours whale-watching and a taxi back – E37.50!
Rushed into waterproofs, sat astride the saddle, readied the camera, and clung on to the handlebar. The Zodiac roared into life and swung away from the harbour wall. SWOOSH! Drenched in five seconds as the first wave smacked the boat.
Bang, crash, from wave to wave. Head down against the driving rain and sea. Eyes tightly shut. Bucking Bronco ride. “Thar she blows to the North!” (allegedly). Zoom off; pause; scour the tossing seas. “Thar she blows to the South!” (allegedly again). Zoom off; pause; ditto.
Two hours more of the above then – “We give in.” All self-respecting whales are a mile down and are staying there. So it’s back to land, coffee, and time to wring out the knickers.
However, “No whale – no pay”. That softened the blow. Sadly, the camera copped it and, so far, in spite of a week in the airing cupboard, has failed to come back to life. (A good excuse to upgrade, though!)
Anyway, we had two and a half hours of extreme exhilaration. We live to chase whales another day.Advice for other visitors to the Azores who want to see whales:
• abandon the schedule on the very first calm day;
• wear as little as possible;
• keep the camera in a plastic bag until the boat slows down for a sighting;
• enjoy the boat trip in case that’s all you get!