High up on the mountainside of Sao Jorge are two working water wheels; the Moinho a Agua (a 300 year old working flour mill) and the Serragem de agua da Achadinha ( a water saw mill that is run for tourists on a donation basis).
Moinho a Agua
We went first in search of this working flour mill but when we arrived the place was boarded up and no water from the Levada do Reis was flowing through it. I am guessing that it caters mostly for tourists during summer months which is a pity because it is the last working watermill on the island.
I found this video of the mill working on YouTube (opens in new tab) from 2012.
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Serragem de Agua da Achadinha
So instead we went looking for the Serragem de agua da Achadinha instead. It is only about 1km up the road and thankfully they were open and happy to show us the sawmill in action.
As the girls weren’t very interested in coming, only three of us went and it was lovely to spend time with the boy by himself. He loves all things mechanical and engineering, so this was a great time for Rich to explain the physics behind the movement of water.
Turning on the water
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Rich was in his scientific element explaining how the water wheel was energised. Our boy loves everything science based so he lapped this up.
Sawing the wood
The saw is very noisy and in order to cut succinctly, it is painfully slow. They can cut much quicker but the result would be messy!
Inside the hut
The hut has a collection of olden day paraphernalia; including the sleeping section. Let’s hope they didn’t try to sleep whilst the saw was sawing because it’s very noisy!
Decorating the walls were lots of old tools and objects that had previously been used.
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Outside the hut
The hut is very well presented and these two gentleman were very knowledgeable about explaining (in English) how it all worked.
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