Luis, Age 70s, Interviewed 10/30/19
Interview Conducted in Santa Cruz
Pico Island, Azores
What is your favorite part of living on Pico?
Fishing, I love to fish. I used to work as a plumber in Toronto Canada, but I returned home to Pico. My mother and one of my brothers also live here. I adopted a deaf cat, the white one with one green and one blue eye. She had seven kittens and now I have many. I go fishing to feed them. I enjoy being near them and my family, especially after my wife died.
What is you least favorite part of living on Pico?
Did I mention that I make wine? You can see some of the vines behind me. This is my little man cave. I have more vines behind my house down the street. I left Santa Cruz in the 60s when there were wars in Angola and Mozambique. There was a law that if your entire family was leaving that military service was not mandatory. I was 16 at the time so my father and my brothers left for Canada where I lived and worked for for many years.
Do you notice the weather changing?
Yes, quite a bit. Winters are no longer severe. We don’t get snow here but we get freezing rain. Sometime the entire mountain is white all the way to the road, but it doesn’t happen as often anymore. All the seasons have changed and we no longer have a real winter. Spring and summers are becoming one.
Have you seen changes to animal and plant life?
There are not as many fish as their used to be. When I was a kid we all just used a line, one with a few hooks at most. There used to be many fisherman catching enough the feed their family and share some fish with other. Now there are big boats with 10 kilometers of line with many hooks. They catch both big fish and small. The catch is indiscriminate and it has changed the ocean. I think it is because people no longer want to work hard at it the and do it the old way. They would rather be lazy and use technology, they even use overhead images to find fish. It was not too many years ago that you could go out with a line and catch a big fish and fight it for hours.
I am from America, Is there anything you would like to ask me?
No, I lived in Canada and my brother lives in America. Before the interview you asked about the location of the cheese factory. Would you like me to take you there?
“I notice a common thread of the people of the Azores. People do not seem to have an answer to what they do not like about their island. The ones that have answered the question have been coaxed. They all seem eager to share the good bits. It is a place of great natural beauty. The slow pace of life here contributes to this splendor. The Azorean people seem honest, they told us not to bother to lock the boat. They seem happy and are generous with their time. They rarely seem in a hurry. The islands pace is wearing off on me the transition back to the rat race in America will be difficult.” – Matt Ryle