As we sail towards the Azores, we come into what was traditionally whale hunting territory, chiefly by the Basques, a hardy nation within a nation who were hungry for resources. While the earliest evidence of the trade in whale blubber was in the 11th Century, it is not certain whether Basque whalers were simply harvesting blubber from whales that washed up, rather than hunting. By the end of the 12th Century, 46 ports in the north of Spain were associated with whaling across the entire country, not limited to Basque County.

Carlos, an ethnographer of whaling, gave us an excellent introduction to the history of this brutal trade to prepare us for our days to come. Basque whalers, he told us, were famously used by Northern European countries to exploit the maritime resources of the northern islands in Europe and Labrador.

The cultures of the islands we have visited during this trip have been incredibly diverse, and we were happy to be able to visit Ilhas Desertas for the first time; to land, dive, and conduct science.