Log #32d The Bosphorus to Bulgaria

April 29, 2004 in Log Series 30-39, Logs by Series, Series 32 Istanbul and The Black Sea, The Logs

Sozopol, Bulgaria
April 29, 2004

Hi Folks,

After a week in Bourgas, Bulgaria, we are now here in this delightful town of Sozopol, bows to on the town dock with several small fishing boats, across from the navy base. All is well with us, and we have a certificate to cruise all Bulgarian waters (but not at night or above force 4). More about Bulgaria in my next log.

This past week has not been a good one for Turkey. Unfortunately, Canada passed a controversial bill acknowledging or regretting the supposed Armenian genocide in 1915 at the hands of the Ottoman Turks. I do not think it should have gone through, and appologize to Turkey for its passage. The incident was indeed unfortunate, but it was 90 years ago, in the turmoil of WW I when Armenia (an Ottoman province) had sided with Russia against Ottoman Turkey fighting for its life, and which was subsequently overthrown by the Turkish Republican forces of Ataturk afterwards. I think the Armenians are trying to hop on the Holocaust bandwagon and I regret Canada’s decision!

Another “slap in the face” for Turkey came with the recent Cyprus referendum on the UN’s Annan plan for a Cyprus reunification settlement, for which Turkish Northern Cyprus said “Yes”, but Greek Southern Cyprus said, “No”. This effectively bars the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus from joining the EU with Southern Cyprus in May, and prolongs the separation of these two ethnic divisions on this island. It was (I think) a bad vote by the Greek Cypriots (led by the Greek government and the Greek Cypriot government) and most unwise of the EU to accept Greek Cyprus before the issue had been settled. It stacks the deck against Turkish Cyprus and any subsequent Turkish application to join the EU. This is most unfair to Turkey and against the interests of the EU and the West! (Incidentally, Cyprus is closer to Turkey and Syria than it is to Greece or any other part of the EU!)

Enjoy the Log #32d and those of you who have not yet replied indicating you wish to continue on the mailing list, please do so if you wish to be included.

All the best,


Log #32d The Bosphorus to Bulgaria

Bourgas, Bulgaria

April 27, 2004

We had planned to head off this morning for Sozopol, only ten miles across Bourgas Bay, but force 5 gusting to force 8 winds caused us to change our minds and stay the day or more, waiting for better weather. Although we are Med moored, bows on, we have a stern mooring buoy to which we are secured. However the wind is so strong we had to place a stern line upwind ashore to keep us from being blown onto the boat moored a few metres downwind of us. This line then causes Veleda to surge towards the dock even more, and so we had to tighten the stern buoy line even more. This pulls Veleda off the dock OK, but then makes jumping ashore that much more tricky, as it is harder to pull the boat in for that dangerous lunge onto the jetty, or  from the jetty onto our bowsprit. So anyways, we are aboard for a bumpy afternoon with no place to go, while we wait out the heavy winds, and so I am writing this log while Judy is busy playing around with fresh water and salt water lines for our newly installed deck wash system.

Oh yes, Bourgas is a good location for yachts in that there are showers and shore power available, a laundry a few blocks over town (cost about 2.00 Leva {$2.00 Cdn} per kilo for wash, dry, and fold), and an Expo petrol station near the Mirage Hotel that has LPG fittings to refill our Greek and Turkish tanks. The main disadvantage of this “yacht club” is that it is on the outer breakwater of a large industrial port, and it takes 15 minutes to walk to the port gates. Unfortunately we were here when a west wind blew coal dust all over Veleda in a force 7 near gale with rain. Our decks are awash with sooty stains, and our port side roller furling has black smudges along its length, as does our sail cover, spinnaker bag, and the one side of all our lines ashore, as well as our halyards, sheets, dodger, bimini, stanchions and helm. However, the price is right, costing only 4.00 Leva ($4.00 Cdn) a day for our 10 metre boat, plus electricity. We will be glad to clear out of here before more winds come from that direction. More about Bourgas in the next log.

In my last log I left off when we finally set sail from Poyraz at the mouth of the Bosphorus at 0940 April 17. Passing the fishing harbour on the European side across from Poyraz we saw the “clashing rocks” that bedeviled Jason’s voyage on the Argo 2500 years ago as he entered the Black Sea in pursuit of the Golden Fleece. These rocks now form the outer section of the breakwater for this port of Turkeli Feneri, but the gap between the rocks that were supposed to clash together destroying unsuspecting vessels is still evident. It was a quiet day with a light force 1 or 2 breeze from the north, causing us to motor all day. We were visited by a pod of dolphin shortly after leaving Poyraz, then a much larger group of about 24 Common Dolphin played around Veleda for about 15 minutes at noon. Motoring a mile or so off shore we were able to see lush hills behind long sandy beaches without much development. Between the beaches were rocky capes. This is a lee shore in the prevailing northeasterlies, and in a space of less than 10 miles we saw three wrecked freighters, one with its back badly broken on the rocks, and the other two forlornly stranded like beached whales with their undersides exposed above the waterline. This would be no shoreline in which to have engine or navigational problems!

Thanks to the fishermen in Poyraz, we had the local knowledge that the next fishing port up the coast had sufficient depth for us and so we entered Karaburun, which the “Cruise the Black Sea” pilot cautioned against using because of shallow depth and a 0.5 m. rock. We were able to enter with no problems by hugging the outer headland being sure to avoid the few rocks beside the breakwater. We even had a local indicating we should follow the course we were taking to ensure we were away from the sand bar extending out from the southwest mole. He gave a friendly “well done” thumbs-up after we had entered the inner harbor. We were flagged over to a local fishing boat and invited to raft off it, but we decided to stay out at anchor (41˚ 20.7’N, 028˚ 41.1’E). We found no less than 6 feet (2.0 m.) in the inner harbour, which was fine for our 1.5 m. draft. After a quiet but rainy night we left next day, again with no wind, to continue motoring up the coast.

It was another motoring day going northwest up the Turkish coast toward Igneada, our last port in Turkey before Bulgaria. We tried to get some lift out of the genoa unsuccessfully, and so continued as a motor boat with a tall mast. In the early afternoon our engine faltered, and our old problem of air in the fuel line appeared again. This was the first it had acted up since leaving Istanbul. We had hoped that it had spontaneously fixed itself since last spring, but no such luck! So we bled the fuel line and carried on.

As we were passing Kasatura Koyu, I wanted to explore the river going up from the partially sheltered bay, as it was a quiet day so far and we could anchor there (41˚ 35.4’N, 028˚ 41.2’E) for a few hours. The anchorage was rolly, but seemed secure, and so we took Sprite over to the river mouth. Some river! The mouth was silted up, and I had to make like Humphrey Bogart in the “African Queen” and haul Judy in Sprite through 2” deep water over a silted sandy bar into the deeper quiet river mouth, before lowering the motor again to head upstream. On our left side was the beach and, further up, a lovely park set amongst the trees, with several families enjoying picnic tables, fishing, and other shoreside explorations. On the starboard side was a steep incline heavy with deciduous trees in early bloom, reminiscent of Ontario woodlands. As we motored up the winding waterway, we saw several turtles lazing on logs or scuttling beneath the surface as we approached, as well as several iridescent blue kingfishers and a night heron stationary in the branches of a bankside tree. We went up a mile or so before Judy got nervous about leaving Veleda in that rolly anchorage, and so we headed back. In even more settled conditions the area would be worth a day’s anchorage and exploration of the river and the beach along the bayside.  However, we were happy to be back aboard and heading out to sea from that uncomfortable swell.

On we went into heavier wind and wave conditions up to Kiyikoy, a fishing harbour where we decided to overnight as the waves were becoming heavier. We have noted long heavy swells along this coast of the Black Sea, even with little northeast wind. However, there is a 300 mile fetch for the waves to work up from the Crimea, or even farther, from Russia. Upon entering the harbour we wanted to go into the inner western section, but found several fishing boats moored at buoys, and as we wended our way inwards we found ourselves at risk of grounding on two of the inner shoals, and so anchored off in the outer section (41˚ 37.9’N, 028˚ 06.0’E), even though several considerate locals were flagging us over to come alongside. As it was, one of the locals rowed out to welcome us with his three young boys aboard. He spoke minimal English, but was happy to be welcomed on board and shown our home.

We had a relatively quiet night, but next morning the wind was up and we could see breakers dashing on the outlying rocks, and so decided to spend a windy rainy day at anchor in this sheltered harbour. We were not out of Turkey yet, although theoretically we departed Turkey when we checked out of Istanbul several days ago and had our passports stamped out and our visa cancelled. Next day we set off again, motoring, up the 17 miles to Igneada, the last port in Turkey before Bulgaria. En route we were visited by a pod of about a dozen bottlenosed dolphins, and had another air leak into our fuel line which we had to clear. In Igneada we wanted to go alongside astern of the Coast Guard (Sahil Guvenik) where our pilot indicated there might be electricity, but the dock was filled with fishing boats. So we decided to anchor in the harbour, but were flagged over by a fishing boat in the northeast section to raft alongside. This we did with some very friendly fishermen some of whom spoke a few words of English.

Typical Turkish hospitality! An hour or so after rafting alongside we were invited over for tea. We brought with us a box of chocolate chip cookies, which we shouldn’t be eating anyways on our Atkins (attempted) diet. With a combination of “word salads” we showed them our route from England down here into the Black Sea, indicated we were heading for Bourgas in Bulgaria, and were looking for carbonne (coal) for our stove and diesel fuel (mazot).  They burned wood in their stove. Then we were invited to stay for a fish dinner with pan fried white fish and onion slices. They also took two of our jerry cans to a fuel station and brought them back full for us. The captain of the boat showed us through his bridge and his computer plotting system, then took us on shore where he gave us a bag of logs he had just split for us, to burn in our stove.  We were visited by the harbourmaster who checked our passports and we gave him a crew list; no problems. He understood we were heading to Bourgas in Bulgaria, and was not concerned with the fact we had checked out of Istanbul several days ago and had stopped in several ports en route. We were worried about this aspect, and were relieved when he had no problems with our itinerary.

Next day, April 21, we were off to Bulgaria, hoping to do the 55 miles to Bourgas, our port of entry. However after pounding into northern winds of force 5 with heavy waves we altered into Tzarevo, Bulgaria, not a port of entry. I will let you know of our unexpected reception there in this former Communist Block country in my next log.