A Trip of a Life Time
With conservation and environment being the key components to the tour, the seniors’ jam-packed itinerary involved trekking through mountain forests and up slopes of volcanoes; camping for 4 days inside the crater of a volcano where locals cooked their supper by using the geothermal heat within the soil; swimming in iron-rich hot water pools and then cooling off again in stunning waterfalls; learning about the fascinating geothermal elements of the island; trekking for 11 km to visit the Gruta do Carvão, a primitive lava tube that extends over 2 km; spending a day at the Gorreana Tea Factory which is reputed to be the oldest tea producer in Europe and visiting the Terra Nostra Botanical Park which is internationally renowned and over 200 years old.
And if that was not enough, probably the highlight of the entire 9 days was joining a team of marine biologists sighting and logging the dolphin and whale activity around the island. Contributing to a united global conservation effort, everyone was in awe by the number of dolphins and whales sighted, including five Humpback whales and a Fin whale (the second largest whale in the world). What better way to finish off their day than the chance to snorkel with a pod of dolphins! One group was lucky enough to swim with a giant oceanic manta ray, a real once in a life time opportunity.
The end of the tour came around all too quickly so with a wave goodbye to the magnificent island of São Miguel and the Archipelago of the Azores, the pupils returned with fond memories of their visit to the “green island” and a new founded practical knowledge on marine conservation and the wonders of geothermal energy; mother nature at her very best.