The weather patterns are clearly disturbed. The usual Norterlies made room for a depression just west of Portugal, wich has been stuck between high pressure zones to its west, north and east. Westerlies have been the norm since three weeks, preventing yachts to sail to Madeira. Oeiras was packed with boats from many different nationalities, all waiting for better conditions. Flags from England, Germany, France, The Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, one from Australia, and one from Belgium (guess who?) provided for a colorful view in the marina berthing. We had a sympathetic Norwegian family with two young kids as neighbours on their boat “Ariane”.
Many became desparate about the weather and decided to move on to Madeira in light airs, unsufficient to fill the sails during most of the journey. We did not feel like motoring days on end to bridge the 500 nautical miles that separated us from this beautiful Atlantic Island. So, to cut a long story short, we decided to forget about Madeira and to head further down south to the Algarve. We will then, when the winds are favourable again, sail on to the Canaries.
Yesterday we made a first leg to Sines, a nice little harbour 52 nautical miles south of Lisbon. As expected we had to motor about one third of the distance until the sea breeze came up, after which we enjoyed great sailing moving on at on average of more than 7 knots. At one point we saw breaking seas at a place where depths are of more than 600 m (???). We checked on the map if we had overlooked a dangerous spot. But no, nothing to be seen. After taking a sharper look at the seas again, we realized it was a big group of dolphins that made the sea “break”. We saw many more later on, all seeming to be in a hurry going north. A dolphin festival maybe, some place? 🙂
Today we stay in Sines, and tomorrow we move on to Baleeira, and if possible to Lagos, our end destination on the Algarve. Baleeira is 60 miles away, with another 15 miles to cover to reach Lagos. It will be challenging to get there before dark.