On the trails with Pedro

Our guide Pedro is in his natural habitat during a Hiking trip, and he can be seen regularly throughout the azorean trails.

These trails were used to access neighboring parishes celebrations or to transport goods such as vegetables and fish, when would not be possible by boat, many times the only option of transportation years ago.
Nowadays they are perfect to release everyday stress, exercise, keeping active and healthy, while getting to know more about historical and cultural heritage, plants and animals. Hiking is a complete sport for everyone and the best way to get in touch with the azorean way of life.

In the Azores Triangle Islands (Faial, Pico and São Jorge) there are 21 official hiking trails (marked paths) that lead us to some places only accessible by walking. There are many landscapes to explore: fajãs (small sea level flat areas located at the feet of the island’s high cliffs), waterfalls, hills, volcanos and mountains, amongst those, Pico is the highest mountain in Portugal.

Pedro is passionate about everything that is related to historical heritage, culture and azorean nature. To go along with him is to share his passion about the islands in a fun way.

#ourislandway
your shoes in our steps

Microdocs Season 1

port de horta

It is with great pleasure that Our island presents on December 5, 2017 the first episode of a series of short documentaries, which we call Microdocs.

Microdocs first season has 8 episodes with about 5 minutes each, subtitled in english. We will publish one episode every week starting on Tuesday, December 5, and they will be available on Vimeo and YouTube. They are also available on our website – Filmmaking.

Our island is committed to sustainability. Through active tourism and cultural tourism we promote a small-scale tourism with longer stays, developing programs that provide an immersive experience into the tradition to those who visit us.

We believe that the greatest value of the islands has been left to us by our ancestors throughout tradition, history and heritage. We believe this heritage is paramount to build the future of Our island, for we can only find identity in what makes us unique. Thus, it is imperative to protect our cultural and natural heritage so that we can share it with those who visit us for many years.

We blend tourism with the passion for Azorean history and culture. And now we’ve added to the mix our filmmaking motivation.

Many know that our team has training in film and audiovisual. Luís stands out as a director who already has an interesting and relevant filmography for the region. Rita is the cinematography specialist and the executive producer for this project, she was central in the improvement and execution of ideas. Pedro is a creative force of nature, and the special way he looks at things is always giving us new ideas. Maria is the newest member on Our island team and we are blessed with all her dedication and motivation during the editing and post-production of the Microdocs.

So, it’s only natural for us to give this step, differentiating ourselves and establishing Our island as an ambassador for the Azores culture. We want to make an important contribution to the discussion and sharing of history and stories of Faial, Pico and São Jorge.

Our island team

Wooden Boats of Santo Amaro

making of a boat

Located on the north coast in the island of Pico, facing São Jorge island, we have Santo Amaro, the land of boats. This parish did not have a bay or a naturally sheltered harbor. It also did not have a good ramp for the larger boats that were made there. However, for many years, the knowledge, the entrepreneurship and the hands needed for shipbuilding in wood were concentrated there. Santo Amaro is the great reference in the archipelago of the Azores when it comes to the craft of ships.

But the labor force, the men who for years had cut the trees and made the boats, were not all from Santo Amaro. Many came from other places of Pico island and also from the nearby island of São Jorge. Like master João Alberto das Neves, born in São Jorge, who came very early to work for Santo Amaro in the shipyards of master José Costa.

Today, Santo Amaro is no longer the land of shipbuilding from other times. The construction of wooden boats was deferred by the use of fiberglass construction boats and series production: cheaper and faster. The local production of boats was reduced to small fishing boats or to the maintenance of whaling boats.

Everything that master João Alberto learned was in Santo Amaro. He learned from other masters older than him. And he insists on teaching us this accumulated empirical knowledge, always mentioning his masters. He tells us that he learned “this” with master Januário de São Roque, “that” with master Gambão das Velas, and “more this” with master Rachinha da Calheta. And so on …

Today, he is the last master to own a shipyard that lived the heyday of shipbuilding in Santo Amaro. In the days when the famous “Blue Fleet” was built, the master built from scratch nine tuna vessels, about 30 meters long each (98 feet), such as the “Falcão do mar”, the “Pérola de Santa Cruz”, “Balaia “and the “Flor do Pico”. But he didn’t build them alone and once again he reminds all the men who worked with him in the different specialties.

Today, the master is building an extraordinary piece: a tuna boat on the 1:10 scale. It is a replica of the “Balaia”, as if it were a real ship. Thus, he is able to explain how boats were built in Santo Amaro, from the applied techniques, to the improvements introduced over time.

The four tuna boats mentioned above and built at master Joao Alberto’s shipyard continue to sail and fish in these seas.

Luís Bicudo, Our island Guide

tools in wood
wooden boat maket
a men wooden boat maket
wooden boat maket