Nic from Boogietrips offers besides the Algarve adventure also a surf trip to the Azores. I booked the trip this year for the first week of November. Michel, who was also with us on the Algarve tour, was also at the party and brought along five of his colleagues.
„It is absolutely necessary to bring a rain jacket and a swim trunk with you“ – Nic
We met each other over in Lisbon and arrived on the Azores finally at 12:30 because of the time shift (you have to set back the clock for two hours).
Nic awaited us at the airport Ponta Delgada on the island Sao Miguel and we drove for fifteen minutes to the other side of the island to our accommodation in Ribeira Grande. In spite of our intentions to rest, the island enchanted us immediately and it became a long and eventful day.
After the arrival at the hostel, room arrangement and a little snack in the village tavern in the neighborhood (among other things the tasty and as a typical starter offered „local cheese“ with pepper paste), we peeled ourselves into the wetsuits and went just around the corner to the town beach Monte Verde for a welcome-session. After a five-minute walk in single file we threw ourselves into the easy waves.
But the day was not over yet. In the evening we started what became our daily after-surf routine. We drove to the nearby hot spring Termas das Caldeiras. A place where you could relax and slowly soften body and soul in the open air in 39 degree hot water. And with that the first long day ended.
On the second day we started with another Monte Verde session and our first sightseeing activities. And the Azores offer a lot to sight-see. Fortunately the island is not so well developed for tourists and has therefore still an original character. We drove to one of the many crater lakes, the Lagoa de Fogo, and visited one of the last European tea plantations, Cha Gorreana. After a short photo session on the plantation we tasted the local tea varieties. Conveniently the tea can be bought in the attached tea shop.
This evening the hot spring of our choice was the bigger Poca de Donna Beija with several pools full of ferrous water.
The next day was, especially considering the November weather at home, one of the best of the trip. We spent the whole day at the Santa Barbara beach of Ribeira Grande. We had a challenging morning session and after lunch on the beach a relaxing evening session. At the end of the day, everyone had mentally arrived on the island and established for themselves the fashion style for the next days: track pants, t-shirts and flip-flops. Also in the morning we met the local bodyboard coach Sergio, who supports Nic when he has to coach bigger groups. Sergio is that kind of guy that one can call a „crazy local“. He radiates an incredible and positive obsession for bodyboarding and the nature of the Azores (not to forget for vegan food).
In the evening we all cooked together at the hostel and finished the day with lots of wine and laughter.
„Ohh, what a beautiful wave. GO GO GO!“ – Sergio
Now came the coaches‘ day. A big swell brought huge wedges at Calhau da Areia beach in Maia with tubes which could not let be left unsurfed by Nic and Sergio. On the way to the spot both were already excited like little children at Christmas. And because the group needed a little time to rest, we enjoyed the live action from the waterfront. When the guys came out of the water, both had sparkles in their eyes and grins on their faces, that seemed never to fade away again.
Following the session, Sergio guided us to a mountain with a mossy fairy forest.
The Azores offer a rich variety of nature. At one moment you are at a black volcano beach, then drive through lush green meadows with cows up to a mountain with Black Forest vista and blue crater lakes and back trough a jungle.
Because a big swell now arrived at the North side, we targeted the alternative spots in Ponta Delgada on the other side of the island. And Pupolo beach offered the perfect option. The smaller part of the beach was our own for the complete day. In the evening Nic surprised us with the preparation of a fresh Bonito tuna. He served the fish in a partly raw, fried and marinated way. Yummy.
And of course we once again visited the hot spring. This time to the Caldeira Velha spring, where the pools are located directly within a giant fern dominated jungle.
After the Pupolo surf on the next morning, Sergio led us to an island rarity, the vegan restaurant „Happy Veggies"1990s located between MacDonalds and Burger King. We enjoyed a light bodyboarder meal and afterwards drove to the Lagoa das Sete Cidades. These two picturesque crater lakes are located side by side, one blue and one green. But the most special place over there is the ruin of the former five star hotel „Monte Palace“ which had been used for one and a half year, in the beginning of the 1990s, and then remained empty until 2010. From then on it had been left to decay.
The evening visit at the Termas das Caldeiras evolved into a special kind of trip. We had the pool completely to ourselves and floated in the warm water under the night sky, a cool beer in hand and filled the spring with a mellow electro DJ set. Mentally we drifted away and were only brought back by a slightly drizzle shower. A perfect physical and mental relaxation.
On Friday we went for a midday session to the bigger part of the Pupolo beach and everyone felt very comfortable in the water. In the evening, Michel and I took the last chance to surf and faced the challenge of Santa Barbara. Despite the forecast’s prediction of a meter and a half big swell, a lot of water moved around and wedges suddenly appeared right in front of us. Thanks to Nic’s wave selection we were able to ride some fantastic waves and had a special experience in such wild conditions.
On our farewell dinner in the Restaurante da Associacao Agricola we thought of several excuses to expand or stay, but in the end on Saturday it was time to wave good bye.
The Azores convinced me as a destination for surfing and discovering a varied und original nature. They offer a lot easy to reach surf spots for almost every swell direction and power and for all difficult levels. The line ups are rarely crowded and easy to access. Also the relatively warm water temperature around nineteen degrees Celsius is comfortable. And in case of missing waves there are enough alternatives to discover the island.
Many greetings to our jolly group: Anika, Christin, Michel, Marvin, Fabian, Christian, Denis, Nic und Sergio and a special thank you to Christian for the surf-action photos.