We see our whaler ancestors has heroes, for the risk they’ve take for such and endeavour, to hunt the giant sperm whale with the same technics used on Melville’s Moby Dick. And the boats were launched from the land, so you see, this men weren’t only whalers, they were farmers, fishermans, stonemasons, etc, the whole community and family was involved. The activity embraced the live here in so many ways, inspired so many people, how many people were born because of Azores whaling? how many love stories, books, poetry, films? in the hand to hand fight to the death with the sperm whale, our community learned a lot about humanity.
Whale watching now kind of replaces the whale hunt, the first whale watchers here learned with whalers, the look outs are still of paramount importance to spot the whales from the distance, the boats are different, the reasons are others, but sailors and sea dynamics are the same. Skippers still compete to see which is the more sea worthy, look outs still work to be the first to see whales each day
And this is yet only one more example of how our heritage perpetuate. We don’t hunt whales any more, but still sail the beautiful Azores Whaleboat, for pleasure and sport, during the the summer regatta season. A boat unique of it’s kind, and I can’t stop to shiver when I sail it or when I see it sailing, it’s like I’m seeing my ancestors. Like I’m seeing my young grandfather, a whaler, a hunter that was born after his father met his mother during a whaling season of on another island.
In a world that keeps telling us the importance of the instant, of the moment, The Azores is a place where that notion is left in pause. Here I feel the weigh of the centuries, the relative impression of time. there’s a very thin line between now and then.
by Luís Bicudo – Our island Guide
for the Azores Trade Winds blog