Rpt 48 Bosphorus to Constanta, Romania
08 April 2011 | Constanta, Romania
Passage Report No. 48
Bosphorus, Black Sea to Romania
Poseidon Weather indicates 2100 window. Weather chart shows rapidly changing Black Sea weather. Standard wind is North East. Sahula would luxuriate in a Southerly or motor sail in light Northerly. The former is late in the week. 1500, Skipper checks sea conditions – light northerly, calm with swell. Predicted late week southerly is too unsure in unstable weather conditions. Sahula is prepared to depart Pograz.
Sahula, double reefed, motors into the busy Bosphorus shipping channel, rising to the swell and northerly sea. Along the European coast - out of the Bosphorus – Black Sea ports shipping lanes, then sets course to Constanta, Romania.
Crews first night at sea. Olive a small grey, white and black bird alights as hitchhiker.
South setting current (0.7 to 1 knot) checks progress. Clear of coast, radar reveals few ships. Cold, dark night, Sahula butts a moderate North Easterly. North Westerly is a hoped for.
Olive returns, alights and flies on.
Crossing the bight Sahula abrogates finding an inshore counter current. Inshore shipping lanes linking Bulgarian ports render offshore safer (shipping and lee shore less) but slower.
Radar reveals few ships. 2 hours on, 2 hours off is dictated by the cold, black horizon. Sea is confused, rising then dropping, later calmer. Tanya (engine) drives Sahula onward.
Crew pales – overside, but happier. Sahula’s ETA is Wednesday morning.
Olive returns with friend. Friendly, unafraid, they explore and depart.
Dolphins, small, two tone grey (Marmara sea dolphins, large, black) play in bow wave. Crew photographs sea life freedom.
Precooked dinner stew. Hot food excels.
Massed Port Constanta cranes, anchored shipping offshore – Sahula awaits dawn to enter Port Tomis Marina. Sahula is tied alongside the concrete wharf. Two cars pull up, uniformed Border Police ask for papers. Pleasantly, efficiently – half an hour – clearance is done (Ships Registration, Passport, Crew list – no cost.). Crew compares Istanbul departure process.
Crew (recovered) makes tomato omelette. “That was the best sleep of my life” Sahula is silent till afternoon.
Port Tomis Marina is new and incomplete. There are few yachts – one Hanse 54 amongst small tired sisters. A marina in expectation. Staff are efficient, and helpful. Berths are off two pontoons. Hot showers, no laundry, wifi.
Marina: 18.23 Euros per day including VAT (24%), water and electricity.
Diesel: Not available at Marina. Fuel wharf in construction. Taxi to service station (5 km)
Food: Markets close to Marina. Kautland Supermarket 5 km by Taxi.
Mast down: local crane (75 Euro).
Constanta – Danube Canal: 124 Euro. Pilot required if over 15 m yacht.
Skipper and Crew walk to Constanta town on the headland above the marina.
A scene of quiet, dreary decay. It is an old and ancient city that has seen better times. Old classical architecture buildings mixed with large churches and mosque, evidence an elitist, wealthy, prosperous pre-communist, multicultural, past. “Victoria” standing in heavy communist bronze, revered by striving workers and militia, dominates the city park.
A large, solid mosque stands silent. The Turkish Ottoman Empire ruled 500 years over Eastern Europe.
Skipper and Crew go down a back street of old buildings.
“You like girls, hashish” – “Police, he is mafia, you have drugs – passport, money, please” – two plain clothes police assault the dealer – rough body, pack search. The other side of Romanian life. Lesson learnt – keep to busy, public streets. This is not Turkey. Skipper and Crew, released and relieved, join citizens along the sea shore promenade.
A casino, in rococco, classic style, stands grey, vacant, proud and silent overlooking the huge Constanta harbour. Its successor, a nearby modern high rise hotel, signed “Casino” is surrounded by the new wealthy, elites large European cars.
Down the street, a large Orthodox church, busy with black hat, robed priests and veiled women, emits an ancient service.
Skipper and Crew enjoy a local beer and pizza.
“This city is Christian, Orthodox, Jewish, Muslim – I am Romanian, my family is all of these:” waiter and university student – “I could leave, but I am proud of my country.” “Communists are still in politics but less so in the present government.”
Next Report 49: Mast down – Constanta – Danube Canal to Danube