Once out of the Algarve, which is just around Ponta Sagres, the ocean takes a completely different feel and look. This is the junction where the Portuguese coast goes from an east west to a north south orientation. Finally we were pointing Cadence north since leaving Barcelona.
The med and the atlantic area around the Algarve have a similar feel. The seas are a caribbean blue color, the waves are shorter and more choppy. They often come from multiple directions, all from local weather events that are happening in a close proximity. The air has a warm feel to it, maybe a little bit sticky as well. Just around this tip of land, Sagres, all changes. The ocean takes on a different blue, much deeper in color. The waves are no longer short and choppy. The swell lifts Cadence up and down in a rhythmic fashion as they are well spread from crest to crest. These waves have traveled thousands of miles before getting to the west coast of Portugal. They are fueled by weather systems crossing from North America to mainland Europe in a west to east direction. The air has a chill to it as its cooled by the north atlantic ocean. The tides and currents are more noticeable and play a large part in sail plans. The coast line is a lush green color. The sailors seem a little more hardy as most folks in these parts are coming from longer distances as opposed to the med where most are gunk holers going into port each night. The best part of this ocean is that the wind will come in a direction that will not normally change in direction and will have a more steady blow than the med, or so I am hoping. I grew very frustrated with the sailing conditions in the Med.
The wind was either too much or not enough and the sea state always felt short and somewhat confused. The places we visited were amazing and we could have spent 10 years exploring the med but it was time to move on. It feels good to be back in the Atlantic Ocean, and almost everyone we talk to wonders why we are heading north. Leaving the sun, different cultures, and wonderful ports of the Mediterranean sea seems crazy to most. I am very excited to sailing north, with abundant sea life, empty remote anchorages, small villages around harbors and less tourists. Call me crazy.