The Whaling BoatsTopo
Half-day (2 hours)
The port of Topo village came to grow as an important strategic point for establishing maritime connections between the islands of São Jorge, Terceira and Pico, with the construction of the first whaling station of the island in this location.
The hustle and bustle of the town’s port once depended on the “whale in sight” signals sent from the Outeirão Lookout, a sighting location that covered the sea until the south coast of Terceira island, and the southwest entrance of the São Jorge-Pico channel. This lookout was owned by José Cristiano de Sousa, a shipowner from Pico, who parked his boats here, in Topo. Our visit begins precisely here, where we can enjoy the view and visit this small structure, restored today by the Vila do Topo Heritage Defence Association.
We continue to the Topo Pier, nowadays a pier where boarding and disembarking of passengers or cargo takes place, but also where sperm whales used to be dismantled once. The fat was transported to the tryworks on site with the help of a crane. This pier, very much transformed by time, as well as due to requalification works, is a must visit in order to understand the history of whaling in São Jorge.
The Hauling Ramp, steep and sloping, leads to a platform built with loose stones from the coast. There were several caves here to shelter the vessels. Currently, only two of them still exist and are being used for this same purpose.
Although the existence of a Boathouse on the top of this ramp is questionable, a small structure was built here, similar to the old Boathouses used to keep whaling boats and boat-gear.
In this port, with a breathtaking view over the sea, it is still possible to find former whalers, who come here in their spare time, reminiscing on the incredible stories of the whaling days.
Guided, self-guided or self-guided with support
Recommended means of transportation
Points of InterestNOT TO MISS
• Party at Casa dos Botes always on the third weekend of July