geminagarlandlewis

Excuse my bad joke in the title, but whales don’t have feet (anymore)!

I’ve had a pretty action-packed week spent on three different islands, but I’d like to share a conversation I had with Serge Viallelle, the Frenchman who started the whale-watching industry here in the Azores in the late 1980s. He arrived in 1987, the year the last whale was killed on the island of Pico (the last whaling factory in Pico closed in 1984, but a whale was taken out of protest in 1987). He was a wandering sailor, with no tie to the Azores other than that the woman he loved (his current wife) is from the islands.

He knew nothing about whales when he arrived, let alone setting up a business around taking people to see them. His first year he had 56 clients, most of whom he tricked into going by using what he calls…

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