What are those little stands appearing along the coast of the Azores Islands? Original or rebuilt, these lookouts are a symbol of a tradition started at the end of the XIX century and ended only 30 years ago: whaling.
They were a key element in this industry and were used to detect whales at sea. A watchman after spotting a whale was giving a signal with a firework, so the men of the village knew it was time to get ready. Leaving their current activities they were running towards the harbours to prepare the whaling boats, botes.
Despite whaling has stopped, the lookouts in the Azores are still active. In this second life, whales are still the protagonists…together with their cousins dolphins 🙂 Yes, because a blow is still of great interest, not for a strenuous and dangerous fight where someone eventually would die, most of the time the whale, but for a pleasant fulfilling experience that is simply observing these fascinating animals in their natural habitat.
Curiosity, attraction for nature and respect come into action and trigger this new industry called whale watching.
When visiting the Azores make sure you get a glimpse into the past through these symbols, and open your eyes to see the present beauties the ocean has to offer 🙂
[Image sources: above left ©Terra Azul, above right author:Nofahuer in https://es.wikiloc.com, below left http://jfcapelas.pt, below right http://susiel7.blogspot.com]