Waves come crushing in on the lava beach

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The azores have a wonderful climate. During the summer the temperature stays steadily between 19 and 27 degrees Celcius. The coasts are mostly sunny, while rain falls on the higher inlands. During the winter the temperature stays above 16 degrees Celcius.

It would almost be a tropical paradise. But one thing is missing: beaches!
Scattered among the islands there are only a few sandy beaches to be found. And they usually have black sand.

a lot of beaches in the Azores look like the scene shown in the panorama. The black rocks are extremely sharp and quite brittle. Waves hit the rocks with impressive thundering sounds and erodes them away. This erosion has formed a bunch of "natural swimming pools" between the rocks. Locals use them for safe bathing.

There is one rock on this beach that can only be reached once every few minutes, when the water is at it's lowest level. I had to be on the rock, since I wanted to shoot a panorama from there. So I awaited the low water level and took a sprint to make it to the rock before the next wave. Sadly the surface was about 5 times as slippery as I anticipated. So I slipped away and because of the camera in my hand I could do nothing to break my fall. I landed hard on my behind and tried to get up before the next wave came rushing in, flooding some 10 cubic meters of water down the path. Luckily I made it, I jumped on the rock and squeezed the water out of my pants.

It was all in vain though. The rock was far to irregular to place a tripod and the waves hitting the rock constantly sprayed a fine salty mist on me and my camera. When I wanted to go back things got even better: I had to jump onto a slippery surface from an uncomfortable height and the water level did not fall as low as before in the pathway. Eventually I had to jump into kneedeep water to get my wet butt safe. "When will you ever learn" was on the mind of both me and my girlfriend..

Me feeling awkward after the fall
Me worrying about how to get back
 Taking a swim can be hazardous!


Thundering sound of breaking
waves in the distance

And up close...