Boqueirão Whale Factory Museum

The Atlantic island of Flores is the westernmost of the Azores, 200km from its neighbours and nearly 1,900km from mainland Portugal. It was an important place for whale fishing. The Boqueirão factory operated from 1944 to 1984 and became a museum in 2015. It was started in response to the rise in oil prices during the Second World War. Whales of perhaps 50 tonnes were pulled up a slipway to the courtyard of buildings on the cliffs. Men and boys from Flores joined American whaling expeditions in the 18th century and brought back techniques from around 1860. They hunted the from wooden rowing boats. At the factory, oil was extracted for lighting and to make candles, soap and margarine. Byproducts included ambergris for perfumery, bone for carving and corsets, and meat and bones for fertiliser. The museum shows harpoons, bone artefacts, a boat and other objects and shows a film of one of the last catches. The factory is complete with its stoves for rendering fat into oil and all its machinery for grinding and drying flesh and bone. A model of a sperm whale cut in half is outside the building.

Boqueirão Whale Factory Museum
Museu da Fábrica da Baleia do Boqueirão
Rua do Boqueirão n.º 2
9970-390 Santa Cruz das Flores
+351 (0) 292 - 592159