We decided to hire a car today with fellow ARC 2012 sailors Karen and Nigel to explore Faial. We'd been told about the incredible geography of the island and were keen to witness it first hand.
The Azores are of course tips of volcanes sticking out of the Atlantic. A lot of these are dormant but do erupt reasonably regulalry in volcanic terms. Pico Mountain last erupted 15 years ago whereas the main volcano on Faial hasn't erupted since 1957. The result of this volcanic activity is a very dramatic landscape with barren plains intersected by lava flows at Capelinhos - a real lunar landscape at the western end of the island, and home to a still-working lighthouse. In the centre of the island is an enormous crater, approximately 2km wide and 400m deep, called Caldeira.
There is a well-known 10-volcanoes walk on the island covering a distance of 27km which we didn't have time (or the inclination!) to do but it just shows how many volcanoes are present on such a small island.
One disappointment for me was that the hydrangea bushes that cover a lot of the island weren't quite in bloom, Oh well, there always has to be a reason to revisit a place!