Geography Trip to the Azores
St Benedict’s GCSE and A Level geography students went on an unforgettable trip to the Azores at half-term in October.
The group stayed on the Azorean island of Sao Miguel, where they experienced the changeable weather of a tropical climate; in sunshine and rain, everyone was impressed by the coastal scenery.
Activities included an amazing whale-watching trip; visiting the thermal springs of Caldeira Das Furnas, where they met scientific specialists and tested the different pHs and temperatures of the water and swam in hot springs (heated by the local volcano!); exploring caves, arches, stacks and stumps carved out from volcanic basalt; sampling delicious pineapples at a local plantation; and touring the ‘Gruta das Torres’: tunnels formed by lava flowing beneath the hardened surface of a lava flow long ago.
All in all, the trip was a truly breathtaking experience!
Do you know where the Azores are? I didn’t, but it turns out that they are a set of Portuguese volcanic islands off the coast of Portugal, approximately a third of the way to America. It was a long trip to get there and back!
Because the Azores are in the middle of the Atlantic, the weather changes rapidly. The first day it poured one moment, then windy and sunny the next. We did so much during the trip; it was amazing and an experience I will remember for life. We visited three currently dormant volcanoes, natural hot springs, amazing coastline and walked through volcanic basalt tunnels carved by lava. I absolutely loved our boat trip when we saw two whales and two pods of dolphins which swam alongside the boat. They were beautiful. We also swam in a natural iron oxide pool; it was freezing, and the water felt odd. We all came out bright yellow!
Apart from the trip itself, I made a lot of new friends from older year-groups who I would probably not have got to know otherwise.
This year’s Azores trip was extremely enjoyable and included a range of activities with a perfect balance of education and fun. A particularly good educational experience was the lava tunnels on the last day as, although short, was very interesting and engaging. However, my overall favourite activity has to be the whale-watching, which was an amazing experience where we saw several hundred dolphins in several pods as well as a distant sighting of two whales. Overall, it was an extremely fun and exciting trip, both educational and entertaining.