Faial is a pretty small island, with 170 square kilometres about the size of Lichtenstein, but if you add the Atlantic Ocean surrounding Faial, then Faial has an almost infinite size. There is hardly any point on the island from where you cannot see the sea. So obviously when visiting Faial the Atlantic Ocean is an important part for your excursions. The two most obvious choices are definitely whale watching and sailing.
The Azores are a hotspot for whale watching, the know how on how to spot the whales still comes from the area of commercial whaling. Lookouts, vigias, on the land serve as observation posts from where the whales are spotted and the whale watching boats directed to. The waters around Faial and Pico are home to a multitude of species some of them like the sperm whale, which was the most hunted species, are around all year. Others like the blue whales are spending part of the year in the nutrient rich waters of the Azores.
Sailing and Horta are for centuries closely tied to each other. In the old days, the protected harbor of Horta was the preferred stop over for the big sailing boats crossing the Atlantic. Nowadays it is the yachts which have their rest in Horta, stop in at the famous Peter’s Cafe for a gin and restock the provisions and souls. A living witness of the sailors passing by in Horta marina are the mural painting at the harbor they leave behind. If you are visiting Faial, there is the possibility to charter a sailing yacht or go on a sailing trip with an experienced skipper.
If you do not want to go to far from the shores, then the Atlantic Ocean is probably the biggest swimming pool you can imagine. Faial has sandy beaches, but also natural swimming pools which where formed by lava flows. Each parish around the island has its own swimming area, some of them are supervised during the season, others just romantic bathing spots.
Further to these obvious activities, every type of water sport you can imagine can be exercised in Faial, be it surfing, SUP paddling, game or coastal fishing, diving and so on.