Sahula Cruising

14 May 2012 | England
25 October 2011 | Ipswic
13 September 2011 | Ipswich
13 September 2011 | Ipswich
25 June 2011 | Frankfurt
09 June 2011 | Frankfurt
25 May 2011 | Regensburg, Germany
18 May 2011 | Linz
12 May 2011 | Nova Sad
12 May 2011 | Vienna
05 May 2011 | Budapest
22 April 2011 | Viden
08 April 2011 | Constanta, Romania

Sahula Report 49: Bucharest

13 April 2011
Passage Report: 49

Rogues, Constanta, Bucharest - Romania

There is always despite the best efforts to the contrary. Something not done when time is running out after two days preparing for lowering the mast. The crane, on time, and was coming down the wharf when the reluctant split pins had to be removed from the rigging turnbuckles. A rush effort, the driver sat in his crane cabin, gesticulating in lieu of English. He could see the sailors needed his expertise to suspend, by a seemingly small rope the precariously dangling mast. It was laid along the wharf to reposition the lift points, then picked up and placed on deck. The driver counted his 75 Euro.

It was done, much relief. Final commitment to the Danube.

Skipper preferred not to think about putting it all up again and reconnecting the mast electrics.

Mainsail rolled round the boom, wind generator pole, spinnaker pole, furled headsails, all laid along the mast. Sahula looked like a canal bound yacht.

Romanian rogues are constant in Constanta. Skipper and Crew walked to the local supermarket, Kautland (3km). A fellow queried where we were from, then reappeared a second time, two plainclothes “police” came up, alleging drug dealing and asking to view passports and money. A 100 Euro was taken and they melted into the background. Skipper and Crew for the second time in two days were hassled by “police” about drug dealing. A criminal gang (“gypsies” – a problem:”sympathetic Romanian) working on unsuspecting tourists. Crew considered calling the Police. Skipper offered caution. Skipper and Crew, angry, shaken, nerves tingling, thinking all were criminals, sought a calming café, bought supplies and returned to Sahula’s sanctuary. The Aegean or leaving Romania was on the agenda. A traveller’s lesson learnt. Sahula in Europe’s wild frontier.

The mind is a precarious thing. Bucharest, “Paris of the East,” a salve. Constanta bus (3 hours) approached across flat, rolling vivid green, black soil plains, huge, tractored farms. Pise villages, dirt poverty, horse drawn carts, shepherds, bowed “fire wood” women. Romania in rural transition.

Massed, bland, “communist” apartment blocks, merged into inner city, ancient and modern edifices of the elite. Nothing celebratory stands to Nicholae Ceausescu’s 43 years of family autocracy except the small balcony on the huge bland HQ Central Committee of the Communist Party where, in 1989, his last exhortation to the angry masses left a memorial to the martyrs of theirs and his bloody end. A historical, poignant, “black hole.”

Revolution Square celebrates other elites: A Royal Palace (housing a superb national art collection), baroque national concert centre, university and emotive statues to leaders, artists, writers. The Palace of Parliament (sized second to Washington’s Pentagon) commands a city central park; memorial to the Communist eras bloated bureaucracy.

Restaurants, high end shops, tourist and Romanian chic, mix with streets of old terraces and small “palaces” testament to glories past and evolving. Fountains, colourful gardens, spring blooms, budded white, purple, yellow, trees, bring a wintered population to play and promenade in large city parks

A welcome relief to drab, dreary, Constanta. Crew: “I’m glad we made this trip.”

The Danube passed below, slowly moving to sea. The Agency for the Exploration and Maintenance of the Danube (EAMDR) (located in Ruse, Bulgaria) - - confirmed the sighting. It also gave whole river heights, navigation hazards, channel changes, storms, notices and latest channel charts. Sahula has a CD of charts on two computers (2009-10) and eight volumes (in German) of Danube charts and information, a Rod Heikell, Danube Guide (1991), Romania/ Bulgarian Cruising Guide (N Allardice) (2007).

Information for an impossible task: predicting the channel and conditions, in a moving river. The way forward is a challenge; challenge is the adventurer’s raison de etre.

Next Report No. 50: Challenging Constanta – Danube Canal

Vessel Name: Sahula
Vessel Make/Model: van de stadt 36 extended to 40 feet
Hailing Port: Townsville
Crew: David - single hander
David is retired (60 ish young) academic who taught potential environmental radicals environmental law, law of the sea and coastal law. He's now setting out on a global cruise aboard Sahula. He's travelling solo except when potential crew take the plunge and join up. He welcomes worthy souls. [...]

About Sahula

Who: David - single hander
Port: Townsville