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Saturday, October 23, 2010

Ferraria - São Miguel, Azores


The Ferraria thermal springs emerges at the sea level in the Ferraria lava delta (western edge of S. Miguel island, as a result of a volcanic eruption that formed the island Sabrina in 1811. Shortly after the forming of the island, it disappeared into the sea,but left a lava flow in the coast.
Left are the vestiges of this eruption where the thermal baths of Ferraria exist now. A completely refurbished facility, offering mineral baths, massages and an Olympic size outdoor pool filled with naturally heated water, and a café, reopened to the public in September of 2010. Previously it was operated as a thermal baths hospital that had fallen into disrepair.
The road to the site was modernized with a safe concrete road that now provides easy access. The surrounding area was also landscaped and offers a large parking lot.
Public swimming is available at the end of a gravel trail, that takes one to a modern changing area and showers. This is free to the public.
At the end of the trail, there are some wooden and composite board platforms on the rocks that allow for sunbathing. At least one has already been thorn apart by strong waves. It is only a short time before the rages of the winter seas, tear the others out, leaving no place to sunbathe. This arrea needs to be reevaluated for better and permanent structures, that are still eco friendly.
Due to the limitations demanded by the environmental group Quercus, access to the natural pool is very cumbersome and dangerous. The public must walk on jagged, uneven volcanic rock until one reaches the stainless steel step ladders that give access to the natural pool.
It is unfortunate that this shortsightedness will result in additional high expense to the regional government, not to speak of the possible major injuries that sunbathers, may endure.
Setting aside the dangerous access to the natural pool, once one reaches the site, it is one of the more enjoyable activities one can experience on São Miguel.
A natural pool with cool water coming from the open ocean it is heated by underwater volcanic vents that spew out hot water at around 140ºF. After mixing with the ocean water, it creates a comfortable water blend of a constant 81ºF to swim in.
Be careful and enjoy!
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