Family, friends, and web-wanderers, this will be the simple blog I’ll keep during my National Geographic Young Explorer’s Grant (and beyond…?) to recount some details of everyday life. Posts exclusively related to my YEG will go up on NG’s Explorer’s Journal blog, which I’ll post links to when something of mine goes up.
As a bit of background, I’m in the Azores from July 13th to August 29th to complete a project on the whalers in this region. My work will mostly be carried out on the islands of Faial and Pico, but I’m hoping to get a trip to São Jorge in as well. For those of you who have no idea where the Azores are, you can find me here, on these little dots between Europe and North America in the middle of the north Atlantic. I first came to Horta (the town I live in on the island of Faial) four years ago during my travels as a Thomas J. Watson fellow to study different cultural connections to whales. I became so intrigued by the whaling culture here, which ended in 1984, that I knew I had to find a way back here to better record their stories. The opportunity presented itself in the form of a Young Explorer’s Grant from the National Geographic Expeditions Council, and here I am! Throughout the next six weeks I’ll be interviewing ex-whalers, participating in sailing and rowing practices in the old whaling canoes, documenting festivals for the patron saints of whalers, and immersing myself in the stories of this unique culture. I’ve only been here five days and already there’s a lot to tell, but for now I’ll leave you with a shot of Jonah, the stray cat who made himself at home at the old whaling factory in Horta (and was aptly named by the staff there!). Até já!