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Of Crab and Crisp Air

The weather is persistently clammy here in Brooklyn, although it is now officially autumn, and all I can think of are the crisp blue days of Fogo Island, staying in the most cozy hotel.

Since the hotel is rather the central feature of the island's topography, as well as the hub of our stay, I wanted to share a little bit more about our time there and nearby.

We woke up each morning to warm light off the sea. I peered through binoculars to see boats and possible whale spouts in the distance (although we never saw whales).

This view, the sky sometimes bluer and darker than the water, calmed me to the center, pure peace. Nothing in a hurry out there. Really, nothing at all out there.

I looked and looked for whale spouts, but never saw one.

The light down the hallways was both pristine and serene, and on the 3rd floor where we stayed, you could see the whole length of the hotel.

When we had moments between activities or meals, we walked out to the water. The winds fought us a bit getting down there, but the aquamarine pulled me like a magnet.

The Shorefast Foundation had recently finished working on the Punt Premises, a preservation of a set of historic buildings demonstrating the cod fishing and preservation life, not too distant a memory for islanders. 

The tour started with a salt box house, the rooms short and absolutely endearing. I wish a house like that would be on sale; it was Alie-sized and I was smitten with the old wood and bright trim. I think it reminded me a bit of Maine.

From the house, we continued through a series of two other buildings, one where the boats were built, fixed, and stored, and the the second where the fish were brought directly after being caught to be gutted and cleaned.

The old wood and equipment was dated, showing that this lifestyle, completely manual, was most of the island's work just 60 years ago.

You can see a small box near the center of this photo--a glassless window. We learned this was for throwing the fish guts right back into the sea down a little shoot after the deboning on this table.

What you don't see here is that Walker was precariously standing on a ladder, looking up at this empty floor to get this light through the netting.

Outside, there were punts, the small fishing boats, that are used still in yearly races, and I believe they said built by local schoolchildren.

You can see on the far right of this photo the fish flake, where the cod would dry and preserve. 

The seaweed was sure looking healthy and fertile! And see how clear the water.

On our way back, we stopped for fresh ice cream at Growler's, and my delicious blueberry reminded me again of Maine. We also stopped at the saw-dusted and stunning wood shop, where the furniture at the Inn is made. As we drove back toward the hotel (just a mile or so), 

we pulled past the graveyard, and for the first time in my life, I wanted to walk through, the setting on the sea hills so devoid of anything ominous.

Back at the hotel, we had signed up for something called a 'community supper' in the building adjacent to the hotel. I came down to the lobby in a casual dress and the couple hosting the dinner kindly told me that I might want something that could get dirty. So I promptly changed into a sweatshirt and jeans, and was instantly happier.

The night was all sorts of blue and pink strokes, and the winds whipped against the building where about 15 of us sat at a long table, meeting new friends,

and pulling out endless strands of crab.

The night was the most memorable part of our entire stay; the friends we had met throughout our time around one table, pulling sweet, long ropes of Atlantic crab and dipping them in pot upon pot of warm butter, piling fresh berry desserts high, and hearing local musicians sing ballads of the island, and stories of the fierceness of the local fishing trade by our hosts, Aubrey and Marie.

Next morning, we woke up early to squeeze in an e-bike ride around the local towns. I'll tell you something: they are ridiculously fun, those bikes that boost you up a hill!

The morning was clear and cool, and the bright colors of the summer were just so joy filled. Look at those little cups of butter by the sea!

Do you like my travel brochure fake bike ad?

The great and quieting sea out there: I could have stayed rocking here all day! We can't wait to go back to the cool next time heat rolls around.