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Location: Pico and Faial, Azores

The big day! Our first complete shore day after 15 full days at sea. We had an early 5:15 am wake up so that we could eat breakfast, pack our lunch sandwiches, and catch the 7:30 am ferry from the island of Faial to Pico Island. The ferry provided an amazing view of Faial as we were able to witness the entirety of the island.

After arriving in Pico, we were warmly greeted by our guide for the day, Joao. We had two additional drivers to shuttle all 24 of us for the day, and we started with the most physically challenging adventure weve had in a while. Our day started with a roughly 3-hour, 8-mile hike which started at a lake surrounded by cows and took us through strikingly beautiful plains. It didnt take long before we took a surprise turn into the greenest forest Ive ever seen in my life. It was deceptively beautiful, because of the entire path as a slippery, downhill slope which would quickly punish bad footing. After the exhilarating hike, we ate lunch and checked out a whaling museum since the Azores used to be a popular whaling port.

At 2 pm we stopped by beautiful seaside cliffs for a quick glimpse at more scenery before heading to the fascinating lava tubes under Pico. Our underground tour took us about 500 meters into the tunnels where we got very detailed explanations of the rock formations, history of the tunnels, and were told a captivating story by our guide in pure darkness.

The final big stop for the day was at some of the local vineyards of Pico, where we took a prom-themed photo at a nearby windmill. The intricately placed vineyards resemble complex mazes. The stone walls comprising them were constructed around 400 years ago by the first settlers of Pico as they attempted to clean up the rock-covered ground to use it for agriculture.

We finished the day with a quick stop at a skate park, ate some last-minute gelato, and took a 6 pm ferry back to Faial for a debrief aboard Argo. The group split up from there to enjoy a relaxing night out to enjoy the delicious foods and sights Faial has to offer.