In the first weekend of November we went on a boat trip to the Berlenga islands, just 12 kilometers off the coast from Peniche. We had a super fun day on the speed boat, snorkeling in crystal clear water, cliff diving and wake surfing behind the boat. Next summer we’ll be offering this trip to all of our guests at Olá Onda Guesthouse, and in this blog you can read what to expect from this day trip. (All photos by Tom Dieleman).
The boat trip
The tour starts in the harbor of Peniche, a 75 minute drive from Ericeira. With a high quality speed boat you will be brought to the Berlengas. Depending on the swell it’s about 30 minutes. When we went there, the swell was pretty big and it felt like we were flying through the air most of the time. It was really fun, but not for the faint-hearted. Of course there are also days with a calmer ocean. We’ll always let you know beforehand what you can expect. The boat driver has many years of experience and the boat is brand new. Life jackets and rain coats -if needed- are supplied.
The Berlenga archipelago is a group of small islands that are included in the World Network of Biosphere Reserves. The biggest island is only 1,5 km long, so it’s pretty small. The big island is where to boat stops first. Here are some fishersmans houses, although no one lives there permanently. In summertime there is a restaurant that serves the freshest fish ever and you can even camp on the island. When we were there (beginning of November), we were the only ones. Normally in July and August there are more people visiting the island.
Guided walking tour
From the fishersmans houses you walk up the path leading to the lighthouse. The tourguide tells all about the history of the island, about the pirates and the shipwrecks. Walking from the lighthouse to the fort you get a good view over the islands and its bays. There are no trees on the islands, it’s mostly rocks because of the weather conditions (a lot of wind).
There are a couple of bays on the island that are suitable for snorkeling. Masks and flippers are provided. It’s not like the tropics, so you’ll need to bring a wetsuit because the water is pretty cold (around 17 degrees). There is plenty of fish to be seen and the water is really clear.
At the snorkel spot next to the fort of São João Baptista there are several place from where you can jump in the water. The old bridge that connects the island to the fort is a nice jumping spot (about 3 meters depending on the tide) or you can jump from the higher rocks (up to 12 meters). Most places are deep enough, but always check the bottom of the sea before you jump, there are a lot of rocks.
Surfing in the wave behind a boat is called wake surfing. We tried it for the first time, and it was a lot of fun. It was not easy, you need the right surfboard and the boat has to go a certain speed. We are still in the test phase but we are hoping to offer this (or wakeboarding) on every trip next year!
Already looking forward to do a boat trip next summer? Contact us to book your room at Olá Onda Guesthouse!
A special thanks to Tom Dieleman from Hang Ten Productions for these beautiful images & to Alex from BerlengaLive. For more photos check out our album on Facebook.