Ricardo is a 38-year-old man about whom we know little, except that he is a teacher.
Despite his fear of flying, he touches down on a distant, unfamiliar island - Faial in the Azores. His landing could be interpreted as a modern form of shipwreck. It is at this next stage in his life, hitherto aimless and devoid of ambition due to his existential emptiness, that he becomes carried along by events.
In this new world, adrift in the middle of the ocean, he meets new people, makes friends and attempts a new relationship which is not reciprocated. He enters a new social reality, one that is unexpected and surprising, peopled by immigrants from Eastern Europe who have integrated into the local community. He experiences this new world’s distinctive “rhythm” which makes him confront his anxiety and existential apathy and involves him in strange experiences and obsessions such as an organ competition at the local church, learning to scuba dive (despite suffering a panic attack) and going hang-gliding without taking lessons, just to see where the wind will take him, and landing in a haystack.
One day during a dive he gets into difficulties and is rescued by a mermaid. He falls in love with this vision of beauty. He dives back down, breathing under water without his equipment and experiences freedom. His anxiety disappears when he sees her again in the immense blue depths. He goes with her into the unknown. Ricardo vanishes. Everybody thinks he is dead.