Açoriano Oriental
“Lajes do Pico” on a French beach

On the beach at Dotchot, on the French island of Belle-île-en-Mer, Benoît Le Gourriérec found a boat buoy that prompted his curiosity, mainly because of what was written there: “Lajes do Pico”.

“Lajes do Pico” on a French beach

Autor: Célia Machado

The yoga teacher visits the beach almost every day, for bathing in the sea, both in summer and winter, and this is not the first time he finds objects like this one, which he collects because he "usually removes plastic waste from beaches", as he tells us.

On October 26, when he made the discovery, he thought of a French friend who very much likes to talk about the place she moved to a few years ago.

“There was a click in my head and I immediately thought of Pico Island, where my friend Isabelle lives. I recognized Pico by name, mainly thanks to her, who is a great ambassador for the island”, he tells us.

Still, and to be sure, he turned to the internet for a quick search where he confirmed that it is the name of a village in Pico Island, in the Portuguese archipelago of the Azores.
Le Gourriérec was more than surprised when he realized that, among the objects he had already collected and managed to identify the origin, this was the one that made the longest trip. Now, he tells us, he wants to meet the owner of the boat.

When Le Gourriérec told his friend about his finding, she posted on social media about the subject and that was how this “meeting” came to our attention. Now, although the Captaincy of the Port of Ponta Delgada was unable to give us any information, such as the boat owner's name, we found out that “Lajes do Pico” is the name of a fishing boat, 30 meters long and eight in width. Built in 1999, initially for pole-and-stick tuna fishing (currently it is a longliner), the boat is registered in the port of Ponta Delgada; however, the buoy journey was shorter than one might think.
“Lajes do Pico” is one of the Portuguese surface-longline vessels authorized to operate in Spain, according to the Portuguese-Spanish agreement. Therefore, it is authorized to fish in the neighboring country's waters in the first two weeks of every month. On October 29, for example, three days after the buoy was found, the vessel was in Spain, in the Port of Santa Uxía de Ribeira, in Galicia, from where it left on November 5th.
I want to know the Açores!

If Benoît was already curious about the Azores, now that urge has intensified. And he is already thinking about paying a visit to his friend who lives in Pico.

Isabelle Clerc, Benoît's French former co-worker, has been living in Piedade, Pico, for a few years now, with her partner Thomas Dufour and their son. They are in love with the island's peace and quiet, which helps raising Ulysse (now a little bigger) in a healthier environment.

They settled in Piedade and it has been their home ever since: she paints tiles and he is a forestry engineer, working remotely most of the time (he was the subject of a previous AO piece), while their child absorbs both the culture of the country of origin and that of the community in which he lives.

In addition to occasionally hosting French family members and friends in their home, they don't shy away from talking about the island's beauties to those who haven't experienced it yet. Because of that buoy, Benoît now has an additional reason to finally get to know the archipelago.

“I am even more eager to go to the Azores, particularly to Pico: to explore this island in the middle of the Atlantic, to see Isabelle and to get to know her tile workshop. And, who knows, to organize a yoga retreat there with students from France and other countries”.

“And, of course, to find the owner of this buoy!” he concludes.

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