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  • Writer's pictureRita Cardoso

Corvo, Açores - Corvo e o seu Caldeirão

One of the most awaited visits for Pedro was the Corvo Island (it was his 4th attempt to visit). Given the fact that sometimes the weather is terrible and it’s impossible for the boats to go out, or the boat goes out but the island is covered by clouds and mist, I decided not see any pictures to lower my expectations and just explore what I find, but of course, everything was planned in paper and Pedro’s head.

We were in Flores’ island and we slept in the westernmost village of Europe, that’s what we could read on the sign by the road, at Lajes, Flores. You can’t see the Corvo Island from that part of the island, and it was a nice sunny day, so you can imagine our faces when further on the road the first image we saw was that beautiful island covered by clouds. As we got closer and closer to the port where we were supposed to take the boat, more clouds were forming everywhere. Would we be able to see anything?

When we arrived to Porto das Poças, the port in Santa Cruz das Flores, Cecília was already there waiting for us, from the Elisiário Malheiros - Passeios Turísticos Flores’ group. The forecast wasn’t great, but it could always get better, who knows… They got us ready for the boat trip. As soon as we arrived all the hands were disinfected, everyone wearing mask (even if you got 2 negative covid-19 tests), they verified if we had waterproof jackets, they lent jackets to anyone who didn’t have one with no extra cost, and then we all put lifejackets.

The trip started with a tour on the Northern coast of Flores island, and it was amazing to see waterfalls, some of them huge, ending at the ocean, we saw caves and beautiful rock formations contrasting with the vivid blue color of the Atlantic Ocean. We’ve seen some black crabs, hiding as we passed, and lots of Portuguese man o' war. At some point, we thanked for being so well prepared with waterproof clothes, because it started raining a bit. That’s why I took less pictures from the Flores coast.

Docking at the Island, the first thing you’ll see it’s the taxis’ queue to take the tourists to see the main attraction, the Cauldron. All charge the same price, 5 euros to go and 5 euros to return. If you want, you can stay there and set a time with the taxi driver to go and get you, or you can go to the only place with cellphone service and call them to come. It was still cloudy and the boat guides together with the taxi drivers told us that probably it wasn’t going to get better, but we were there, so we still wanted to try our luck. Noel, was the driver who took us there, gave us some music and also some explanations of what we were seeing and about the island. Did you know that Corvo’s population is about 430 +- 30 people? These 30 includes the births, deaths, seasonal workers and others.

Between music and facts, we arrived to our destiny, the crater at Monte Gordo (Fat Hill, it’s funny in English). Cauldron’s visibility was about 5%, ahahah, but we told Noel to come and get us a few hours later, we had our lunch with us and we got ready to go down. I had no expectations, as I said before, but every step I took they were surpassed.

We went down through a path, that was more or less fixed with some rocks to be easier, and we were able to see the crater outlines. The fog was passing through the top of the cauldron and going down we crossed it, like a magic portal. One of the things I was not expecting was the fact that there were lots of cows and even horses inside the crater, but why was I surprised, we’re in Azores, right?

We walked a little bit more of the trail till we got to a lagoon, there was a small hill with rocks that seemed to be cutting out from the green grass, and always with that fog further away keeping us company, keeping the mood somewhat magic. We decided to have lunch there, and it was the wisest decision because in the hill there was something similar to a covered balcony to protect us from the strong rain that fell for a while. Luckily, our years spent in Iceland, got us ready to every kind of weather and we were fully equipped with waterproof clothes, head to toe, including waterproof bags for wallets and gadgets, and my waterproof cover for my camera, my beautiful blue plastic bag. Ahahah!

We hiked a little bit more and the rain stopped, and it was good that it rained as it helped to clear the fog for a while and have a better view from the Cauldron. The intense green everywhere, the grazing cows, the lagoon with serpent like outlines, the hills planted in the middle (named Cavaleiro and Marco), the micro-forest with maybe 20 trees if that much, actually I just had to close my eyes and imagine sheep instead of cows and I felt right back to my Iceland. Ah, and also imagine the Alaskan Lupines instead of the thousand hydrangeas, but the colors are similar.

All the trail is well marked with signs and it was an easy hike, it has 4,8km, and the most “difficult” part for me was only going up in the end, just because it was a steep climb, almost 160m in a very short space. We stopped a lot for pictures, obviously, and after a while I was able to see Noel, he was already waiting for us at the top to take us back to the port. The view from up there was now 0%, you could only see something if you got under the fog.

Getting down, Noel took an extra lap around the village and showed us the main points of interest and even the beach and the natural pool. It was worth it and it added value to what was supposed to be just a transfer from the port to the cauldron and back.

During the return boat trip, it was sunny and it was to chill that I slept a little bit, except the moment when a flying fish jumped from the water, crossed the front of the boat and went down the ocean several meters after.

Regarding expectations, and after already seen pictures of the cauldron on sunny days without fog, I can say that I loved the experience just as it was, the fog, the mist gave us a magic mood, some mysticism in the air and we did and saw everything (but not everything at the same time 😊 ). I almost dare to say, that probably I wouldn’t have liked it so much if it was a sunny day.

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