Crossing the Channel

A boat trip that takes less than half an hour and crosses the agitated channel separating the islands of Faial and Pico, a trip made famous by Vitorino Nemesio.

Made famous in "Mau Tempo no Canal", a masterpiece of the twentieth century Portuguese literature by Vitorino Nemesio - the disheveled maritime areas between the islands of Faial, Pico and São Jorge provided the title and setting for some of the most exciting scenes of the novel. While the channel between Horta and Madalena is usually sailed through a calm sea in less than half an hour, most enjoyably, it is, notwithstanding, an area with great depth, located right in the middle of the Atlantic, and, if caught by currents and winds, can become dangerous and therefore forbidden to regular navigation. We leave the docks of Horta, on the east coast of Faial, on small, sturdy and maneuverable boats, suitable for the crossing. There are several scheduled crossings a day to Madalena and from Madalena to Horta.

 

 

 

Leaving Horta docks, we marvel at the beauty of the small city, of its cosmopolitan, marina, the old fortress that now operates as an inn. As the boat goes away, we cannot help enjoying the quality of the urban scenery with the facades of churches sunlit (if leaving in the morning), uphill, wrapped in Horta peculiar light, a distinctive feature of Atlantic cities. The pivotal moment of the journey begins with the departure from the protection pier, and the transition to international waters. Depending on the condition of the ocean and winds, we may have to quickly leave the deck, or we can stay and enjoy (always energetically and always firmly attached) the pleasure of the thin, sharp air, the salty aroma, the sight of dolphins which often accompany the vessel. It is then that the overwhelming presence of Pico, the huge mountain, begins to impose itself, inevitably capturing the attention of all travelers. And gradually, as we approach Madalena, we perceive the isles, Ilhéu em Pé and Ilhéu Deitado - small but meaningful signs of the telluric force of nature that invented this excessive mountain, as if guardians of the entrance to the Pico town.

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