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Faial Island, also known in English as Fayal, is a Portuguese island of the Central group (Grupo Central) of the Azores. Its area is 173 km² and it is located 28.7° W longitude and 38.6° N latitude. The nearest island is Pico Island to the east. The island is also referred to as Ilha Azul (the "Blue Island"), by poet Raul Brandγo, due to the large quantity of Hydrangeas that bloom during the summer months.
Along with other islands in the Azores archipelago, the island is of volcanic origin and is close to the tectonic divide between the European and American plates. Indeed, the island can be considered the westernmost point of Europe (the two islands west of Faial, Flores and Corvo, are already on the American plate). Relatively small in size in comparison to the Pico, the centre of the island is dominated by Cabeηo Gordo and its Caldeira. Until 1957 the island was circular (20 km x 25 km). The last eruption occurred near the small parish of Capelo on September 27, 1957. At first, the Vulcγo dos Capelinhos formed a small islet, near the western part of Faial. But the volcano became active again on December 16, 1957; this lasted until May 12, 1958 and connected the islet with Faial, effectively enlarging the island by 2.4 km² and forming the "Ponta dos Capelinhos". This area is now considered a national refuge and ecological sensitive zone with limited access to the dormant cone.

There are several festivals on Faial, the most important ones being in the summer. The most popular ones are the Espνrito Santo festivals occurring throughout the island between Ascension Day and August. Saint John is the patron saint of Horta, being celebrated has Sγo Joγo da Caldeira.

The island, like some other Azorean islands, produces cheeses and other milk products, along with cow meat, and by-products notable in Portugal, and it has a rich cuisine that also includes local sea-food.

Scrimshaw, handiwork made of whale teeth, is a traditional craft of the Azores. However, because of the prohibition on whale hunting in Portugal, some designs of this can easily cost hundreds of Euros, due to the rarity of whale teeth.

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Additional Photos by Marcio Costa (bach37) Silver Star Critiquer/Gold Workshop Editor/Silver Note Writer [C: 40 W: 63 N: 34] (193)
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