30th July – 3rd August. Nessebar to Istanbul.

The frivolities of the previous night had taken their toll, and we both felt a tad fragile on the morning of the 30th.  Nevertheless, we managed to get ashore and have a look at Nessebar.  The old town is right next to the harbour and is charming, with wooden buildings, cobbled streets and interesting churches to see.  It is very popular with tourists and filled with restaurants, cafes and souvenir shops as would be expected.

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Nessebar

After a wander and a light breakfast, we returned to Doris.  The water in the harbour was clear and clean-looking, so Cy took the opportunity to get in and change the anodes on the boat from ones for fresh water back to salt water ones.  Anodes are basically lumps of metal attached to the hull that sacrificially corrode in the water, thereby protecting other metal structures.

We left the harbour at Nessebar in the early afternoon, headed to Sozopol.  It wasn’t too far, just 20 or so nautical miles.  It was quite choppy, so there was a lot of unpleasant motion on the boat which I struggle with a bit, both nerves and seasickness.  Although I’ve lived on Doris for a while now, the majority of the time has been canals and rivers, being back on the sea is quite different.  Cy, however, is back in his element!

The marina at Sozopol is large and on arrival we were directed to tie alongside, next to a huge superyacht.  It was a case of little and large, or the prince and the pauper.  A glamorous, well groomed lady looked down at me from above whilst I was in my stinky shorts and t-shirt coiling ropes and tidying fenders away.  Interestingly, this huge motor yacht could not be found listed in any of the usual vessel databases, and we spent a long time searching the internet.  It was UK flagged, but the crew were possibly Russian?

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Doris and Davina

We had dinner watching the sun go down, then wandered into town.

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Sunset at Sozopol Marina

Sozopol is a really lively place.  The streets in the evening were bustling and there were plenty of cafes, restaurants and a market selling souvenirs and trinkets.

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Sozopol Marina

July 31st was a bit of a chill out day, involving breakfast in Sozopol (two pasties for Cy as I accidentally bought a meat one!), a spot of laundry and other jobs.  There is a chandlery at the marina, so we were able to get a new stern light to replace the one that had been broken in Sulina.  We also visited the Archaeological museum, which had lots of artefacts but not much in the way of explanation.   The old town of Sozopol is on a small peninsula with the harbour on one side and the beach resort on the other.  Much of the afternoon was spent wandering around, taking it all in.

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Beach resort at Sozopol

As there was wifi at the marina, it was also a good opportunity to double check weather reports for the next few days and plan the passage to Istanbul.

Tuesday 1st August started with a trip to the small market nearby to top up on groceries.  We then filled water tanks and headed over to the fuel berth for diesel.  We left Sozopol in the early afternoon for Tsarevo.  This is the last port of call in Bulgaria and the place we would have to ‘check out’.  The sailing was good for most of the afternoon but the harbour at Tsarevo is very poorly protected from sea swell.  We were helped to moor stern-to by port staff but Doris was leaping up and down on the swell so much, it was very difficult.  One of our ropes snapped in the process.  In the end, we decided to pull forward on the laid mooring lines, keeping the stern well away from the quay and not worry about shore access until it was necessary the following day.

We were pretty keen to leave the next day, despite the port staff advising us to wait a day for the weather.  I managed to get ashore in the morning to complete the formalities.  The police and customs officers came over to inspect the boat but after seeing how difficult it was to get on and off, seemed to think an external inspection was sufficient.

We were now all set for our long trip to Istanbul.

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The passage plan was intended to have us arriving at the entrance to the Bosphorous at first light, however, Doris sailed so well that Cy had to reduce sail at one point to slow us down!  The night was uneventful, a bit choppy at times but not too bad and we both managed to get some rest (at different times!).

In the early hours of the 3rd August, we went through the anchorage for large ships waiting to transit the Bosphorus.  There is a one way traffic scheme for shipping through the straits and as the light began to show we could see just how many were waiting for their allocated turn.

We entered the straits and passed under the first bridge at dawn.

As we continued through, it became busier and busier.  The container ships and tankers were the least of our problems – the plethora of ferries and fishing boats nipping around made it seem like the nautical equivalent of the wacky races.

A definite case of AIS overload

Despite this, we did still manage to see some of the sights.

 

The initial plan was to stop at Istinye marina in the straits, but they had not responded to email and as we passed it looked very crowded, so we decided to continue on and head for a marina on the north shore of the Sea of Marmara.  Once out of the Bosphorous, we passed through the ships anchorage on the other side and arrived at West Istanbul Marina at around 12:30.  The marina staff directed us to a berth and after doing the necessaries at the marina office, we had some lunch and crashed out.

Clearing into Turkey is reported as being a complex and difficult process and we wanted to be fully rested so we could get on with it the following day.  It did indeed prove to be so, I’ll save it for the next entry.

 

 

 

 

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24th-29th July. Sulina to Nessebar

Sunrise on Monday 24th July – the Black Sea.

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The overnight stage of our journey from Sulina to Constanta had gone well. We had been greeted by a pod of bottlenose (we think) dolphins not long after we left Sulina and they stayed with us for half an hour or so, playing. As the autohelm was on, we were both able to lay on the bow of the boat looking over the edge at them. I am always amazed by the feelings of joy and gratitude that a visit by these beautiful creatures brings. Their presence lifted a slightly sombre mood at having left not only the Danube but also the inland part of our journey and the people we had met.

The rest of the night had been uneventful. It had been necessary to motor as the wind was against us, although light. We were finally able to proceed under sail in the middle of the morning. The approach to Constanta was very choppy and we were relieved to get into the harbour (Port Tomis), at around 4 pm. We approached the police boat but they waved us away, saying it was not necessary to report in as we had arrived from within Romania. We were directed to tie up alongside the fishing quay, while a marina berth was found for us. This didn’t take long and pretty soon, it was time for our first attempt at stern-to mooring. As usual, we were completely unprepared but muddled through. The laid mooring line was encrusted with mud and mussels, consequently I ended up coated in stinky, slimy mud. As did the long suffering Doris. It took a while to get lines sorted and everything tidied after the overnight passage. The marina office had closed by the time we headed over, so we returned for dinner and an early night. We were both shattered, barely able to string a sentence together.

Just as we finished eating, we had a call from Matthias, who we had met on the Danube a couple of weeks earlier. He was in Constanta having just dropped off his kayak with a guy who was going to transport it back to Belgium for him. He joined us for dinner and as his bus was not until the following morning, was able to sleep in the spare cabin. It was really great to see him. We had all hoped to be able to help him get from Sulina to Constanta but for various reasons it had not worked out, so he had paddled down the coast all by himself. The conditions made it a really difficult journey for him, so it was good to at least be able to offer food and a bed. It helped relieve a little of our guilt and allowed us to catch up with his and Timm’s adventures since we had parted in Rousse.

We said goodbye to Matthias early the following morning and headed into old Constanta for a potter. Constanta is a large city and appears to be thriving. We only really explored the old part of the city close to the marina. The views from the minaret on the mosque are fabulous.

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Views across to commercial harbour

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Looking over Port Tomis yacht harbour – Doris is there somewhere!

 

The casino is magnificent but in a significant state of disrepair. A local told us there are plans for refurbishment but seem to be held up by the usual political and bureaucratic problems.

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Constanta casino

We returned to the marina and called by the office. It was quite formal, and they wanted boat papers to be able to prepare a contract, so we agreed to return later. On our return they weren’t happy with our boat registration document as it did not have all the information they required, so back to Doris we went and found the expired registration certificate. Although not in our name it contains more information and seemed to fit the bill. After much printing, photocopying and paper signing our contract was produced.

We had been told to check in with the harbourmaster as well – I left Cy to it and went off for some groceries. The visit to the harbourmaster required more production of documents. Cy then had to see the border police. All this in a country we were already cleared into seemed a bit strange! Also, we could not leave until we had been given clearance by both.

The next morning (Wednesday 26th) we started early and were tied alongside the police boat by 7am. There was a bit of a wait for an immigration official to arrive and look at our documents, again. Eventually we were given permission to go. As is more often the case than not, everyone was courteous, interested in what (or maybe why) we were doing and even chatty. The police officer showed Cy some details of the route and next port on his phone app.

Our destination was Mangalia, the last port of call in Romania. The Black Sea was kind to us and we had a nice gentle sail, arriving in Mangalia in the late afternoon. We were met on the pontoon by a guy from the marina who helped us tie up and a nice lady from the border police. She was a bit timid but had a gun, so I guess that compensated. She accompanied me to the harbourmaster’s office, where our documents were checked and I was advised that we would need to see the police again before leaving in the morning to clear out of Romania.

Mangalia is a small town, there is a good supermarket close to the harbour, bars and cafes surround the harbour and there is a popular beach. Not a bad place at all, shame that the pontoons were locked and we couldn’t get out in the evening…Oh well.

Our departure was a bit delayed the next day as the border police did not start work until 8am. I had been told that the harbourmaster could contact them and someone could come at any time, but this proved not to be the case.

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Waiting for the border police in Mangalia

Once we had completed the necessary we set sail for Bulgaria, crossing the border shortly after leaving. The distance from Mangalia to Balchik, which is the port of entry into Bulgaria, is around 50 nautical miles. During the early afternoon, we were approached by a border police vessel who hailed us via VHF to check details and on arrival into Balchik an official was waiting for us on the quay. Paperwork took a while and then he searched the boat. It was our first search, and was quite thorough – he checked all the lockers and spaces large enough for a person. Evidently people trafficking is an issue here. Once the formalities were done, we headed over to a marina berth. Balchik is lovely, inevitably a bit more touristy than the places we had visited on the river but charming. Restaurants and bars line the waterfront and live music was going on through the night. After dinner we went for a cheeky dessert; we also got their WiFi password as Doris could pick it up from across the harbour.

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Across the harbour at Balchik

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Balchik at night – the light on the hill is a hollywood style sign

The intention was to stay for just one night, but the weather was dreadful in the morning, so the decision was made to stay put and a guilt-free lazy morning ensued. The weather improved later, so we took the opportunity to top up diesel and get some groceries in.

The wind was pretty formidable the following morning (Saturday 29th), so we didn’t set off at first light as planned, but got going at around 7:30 to Nessebar. This was another longish day sail, just over 50 nautical miles. Initially, the sailing was good, but the wind dropped later and the engines had to go on. Cy gets extremely grumpy when this happens…

We pulled into the harbour at Nessebar late in the afternoon – it was a bit confusing, and not easy to see where yachts should go to moor. A guy in a small powerboat met us and explained there was more than one marina and quoted a price for his. This was a better price than we had expected, based on blogs we had read, so we followed him in. He was brilliant, helping us get secure with the mooring line as we went stern to again. Afterwards, the manager came by and asked for a higher fee than the one quoted. This was annoying but we chose not to make an issue of it and not to be upset.

Nessebar is reported to have an interesting old town so we prepared for a foray ashore. As we reached the end of the pontoon, we bumped into George, who had helped us initially. He was very apologetic that we had been charged a higher rate and wanted to buy us a beer to make up for it. One turned into ‘some’ (with a plate of mussles) and the evening, whilst a hazy memory is certainly a good one.

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Taken at some point during the evening although Sarah has no memory of doing so…

We had a great time chatting with George and the others in the bar. The old town would have to wait a day.

 

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20th-23rd July. Braila to Sulina

After an aborted fuel run – we decided it was just too far to haul diesel and we had enough for the day, we left Braila at around 9 am. As we departed, the skipper and the engineer of the boat we tied to stuck their heads out for a chat. It transpired that it was a private fishing vessel and not a port boat as we had initially thought.

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Leaving Braila

We passed through Galati on the way, where we started seeing large sea-faring vessels for the first time and at some point, the distance countdown switched from kilometres to nautical miles.

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Galati

We had to pinch ourselves more than once, as we couldn’t quite believe it, almost at the Black Sea.

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Just lifting (weighing!) anchor as we passed – eek

We passed the 500 metre stretch of border with Moldova and for part of the day, the left bank was Ukraine.

On arriving at Tulcea, there was no obvious place for mooring. Several blogs had recommended a restaurant boat, but when we saw it it looked like it was no longer operating. Towards the end of town, we spotted a fuel barge, so we availed ourselves of the opportunity not to trudge to a petrol station carrying 20 litres of diesel each. We had read there was a marina a bit further downstream but the lady at the fuel dock very emphatically indicated that was not a possibility and pointed back the way we had come.

By this stage in the journey, a method had been developed. Cy drives the boat slowly along whilst I stand on deck looking purposeful with a rope or two. Generally, this results in someone noticing we are looking for a mooring and calling us in. Once again, it worked like a charm and by 7 pm we were safely secured to a pontoon owned by an outfit offering Danube Delta trips. There was a bit of shuffling around of their boats but room was made and we were welcomed by the two guys who ran the business, George and Michael, and their mates who were all having a bit of a knees up on the pontoon. We were a little dubious initially, especially when Michael explained that there was no water supply to the pontoon but thought he might be able to get someone to rustle up a ton of water to fill the tanks in the morning. This was important, as we needed to ensure our water tanks were full ready for the Black Sea.

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Doris moored in Tulcea

An evening stroll revealed a small town, but with a market and good grocery store to stock up the following day.

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Tulcea promenade

It wasn’t the best night’s sleep ever as the nearby hotel had a wedding party on, which had live music throughout the night, until dawn. All things are relative though and at least we were secure (Michael had showed us how to hang the padlock so it looked like the gate was locked…?).

We stayed in Tulcea another day. Sourcing some Black Sea charts was top of the priority list because, when Bojko had given us some pointers as to where to visit, it had become apparent that the electronic ones Cy had sourced didn’t go into enough detail. This proved to be impossible. Instead, we headed to the Danube Delta museum and then spent the rest of the afternoon in an air conditioned cafe. Full use of the wifi was made – Cy downloaded a phone app (Navionics) with Black Sea charts and I caught up on emails and applied for our Turkish visas.

Later on, Michael had arranged for us to fill our water tanks from the next door houseboat. They take their water straight from the river and pass it through a filtration system, probably not good enough for drinking, but fine for boiling, cooking, washing etc. For drinking, we tend to boil water or use bottled anyway. We also have a ‘lifesystem’ filter bottle which has been brilliant, as it filters well enough to make pretty much any water safe for drinking.

There are three main routes forming the final stage through the delta section of the Danube. The northernmost runs through Ukraine, and we had been advised that border procedures are a bit tricky, so best to avoid that. The most scenic is the Sfanti George channel, although this apparently requires a permit as some sections form part of a protected biosphere. We had received conflicting advice about whether this would be navigable for us, Doris is quite shallow drafted so it may have been possible, but the majority of people had advised us to take the Sulina canal route. In addition, our inland electronic charts had no information for this route, so we opted to play it safe and head to Sulina.

Saturday 22nd July – our last day of travel on the Danube. We left Tulcea at 8 and by 9 had reached the junction with the Sulina canal.

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Leaving the pontoon at Tulcea

 

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The narrow gap on the left is the Sulina arm

It is straight and narrow, in fact very narrow in places, thankfully we didn’t meet any large ships.

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Small community passed along the way – thatched roofs from the nearby reed beds are common here

We were passed by the same hydrofoil about four times during the day as it zipped up and down between Tulcea and Sulina. This is the last one working (we saw three or four in various shipyards) from the Soviet era. We were glad there weren’t four of them using the route!

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Hydrofoil ‘Diana’ – doing approx 60 km/hr versus our 10!

It was also really busy with small boats but there was plenty of bird life to look out for.

 

We arrived into Sulina at around 14:30 on a busy Saturday afternoon. There is a long town quay, but with very little free space. We eventually found a spot and proceeded to secure the boat. The wake from all the passing powerboats makes for an extremely uncomfortable mooring and we spent a long time making sure lines and fenders were OK. Just as we were finishing off, a taxi boat pulled in behind us and knocked the stern, managing to smash one of our lights. The guy was rude and unapologetic, instead blaming us for being ‘in his place’. There were parking signs beside the river and nothing to suggest it was a private mooring. Also, nobody had said anything earlier. It developed into a slightly unpleasant scene, with a few guys arriving and telling us we could not stay and we must go elsewhere. Not so easy, as we had struggled to find that place. Anyway, we cast off lines, and unsure what to do, Cy dropped me off at a pontoon so I could go to the office of the harbour master. I explained our predicament and how upset we were as we had been so far and through so many countries and the only problem was at the end. Once again, persistence paid off, and he got someone to move his boat (feel guilty for that!) to create a place for us close to the office. Cy brought Doris in and we got her secure.

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Second time lucky

I then headed back into the office to complete the necessary paperwork. The harbour master, Stefan, was so kind and helpful that I invited him for a glass of wine when he finished work.

Stefan took us up on the offer and despite our original intention to leave at midnight for an overnight passage, he persuaded us to stay a day.

There was also a parade involving the different communities of Sulina in traditional dress which went right by the boat – our negative experience had been completely transformed into something postive.

The next day, Sunday 23rd, Stefan was true to his word and called by later on in the morning. He took us to his home where we met his wife Mariana, his grandson Ciprian and his father-in-law. We were treated with such kindness and hospitality – we had lunch with home-grown sweetcorn and home-grown and made wine. After, we visited Stefan’s allotment. He furnished us with a bag of freshly picked produce, including corn on the cob, to take with us for our trip on the Black Sea. Finally, we had a beer together and then headed back to Doris for a bit of a rest and to get ready for the overnight passage.

 

About an hour later and there was a knock on the side of the boat, Cy stuck his head out and it was Walter, Manfred and Ursi from Vienna. They had just arrived into Sulina and would be heading back to Austria – Walter overland with the boat on a trailer and Manfred and Ursi were flying from Bucharest. It was really lovely to see them again at the end of their trip, we had overlapped several times since meeting in Belgrade and had wondered how they were doing.

After such a rubbish introduction to Sulina, it turned out to be a wonderful time and we were so pleased we had been persuaded to stay another day.

After dinner on-board, final preparations were made and we left Sulina at 8 pm, and out onto the Black Sea for the overnight passage to Constanta.

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Leaving Sulina

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Towards the end of the harbour wall – The Black Sea awaits beyond

It is difficult to sum up our feelings at this stage. We had left Pensarn harbour on the 2nd April, our journey from the Irish Sea to the Black Sea had taken 112 days. Along the way, we had been through Wales, England, France, Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Serbia, Bulgaria and Romania. We had also passed, but not entered, Croatia, Moldova and Ukraine.

We had encountered a few challenges not least of which is living together in a confined space. We have also experienced beautiful cities, breathtaking countryside and interesting towns, but above all, met amazing people. The warmth and friendliness received all along the way has left us both humbled.

Leaving the Danube and entering the Black Sea marks the end of one stage of our journey and the beginning of the next…….

 

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12th-19th July. Shishtov to Braila

We left our anchorage just after 9 am on Wednesday 12th July. Very shortly after, we waved at a young lad in a kayak. Doris is definitely not a typical vessel on the Danube and we often get waved at by fellow river users. Something about his manner however put me in mind of the poem ‘Not waving but drowning’ by Stevie Smith and I suggested to Cy that perhaps we were being hailed. This was indeed the case. We came alongside and helped Matthias and his boat onto Doris. He was in the process of kayaking the entire Danube from source to sea and was in need of a day off from paddling. We explained that we were going as far as Ruse, which was 60 km downstream and that he was very welcome to hitch a lift. His travelling companion, Timm, had left a while earlier on his Stand-Up Paddle board and after 40 minutes or so, we caught up and now had two passengers for the day.  Timm was aiming to be the first person to paddle board the Danube.  They had met in Hungary and been travelling together since. This was marvellous for us, it’s always great to meet new people, and having others on-board to chat to made the journey fly by.

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Junction with the Yantra River, passed mid-morning

After Ruse, there are only a handful of bridges on the river, and all with enough height to clear with the mast raised. We had heard that the yacht club at Ruse is friendly and helpful to visitors, so had planned to spend a few days here getting the mast up.

We turned into the harbour in the early part of the afternoon and Boyko, who runs the yacht club, was on the pontoon ready to take our lines. We introduced ourselves briefly and then headed into town with Timm and Matthias to have lunch nefore they continued on for the day. We said our goodbyes and tentatively hoped to meet again in Sulina – the end of the Danube and the beginning of the Black Sea.

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Matthias

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Timm

We stayed in Ruse for four days in total, during which time, Cy was able to prepare everything for the mast hoisting.

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Preparation temporarily halted while coal barge passes

This took longer than expected as the weather was so hot, it was impossible to work outside for a large portion of the day. The town has some great architecture and during the time, we managed to source a few things we needed and top up on essentials as well as enjoy the vibe.

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Pedestrianised street, Ruse

 

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Liberty Monument, Freedom Square

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Street Art in Freedom Square

The actual lift happened on the evening of the 14th and a friendly local was on hand to help with the heaving on the ropes. It is a significant weight, and even with thorough preparation and a well arranged pulley system, it was definitely useful to have an extra person to lift it.

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Final checks before hoisting

Boyko was super, really helpful and hugely knowledgeable about boats in general, having been a naval architect. We needed a new wooden wedge to sit the mast on, and this was made for us in a couple of hours, no problem! He also spent time with Cy giving information on sailing in the Black Sea and various Ports of Call as well as useful advice for the remainder of the Danube.

It’s amazing how quickly we put down roots, and as has happened before, it felt strange to leave after being in one place for a few days.

We left Ruse Yacht Club late morning on the 16th July. Our first stop was a nearby restaurant pontoon where we able to fill our water tanks, fresh water not being available at the club. We travelled an uneventful 74km and Cy found us lovely anchorage tucked behind an island (Malak Kosuy) where we stopped at around 6pm. It had been a much cooler day, with some rain, although that had stopped by the evening. It was a peaceful night, with the exception of wolves howling nearby at some point.

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Anchorage at dawn

The morning was still to start with, so Cy took the opportunity to get one of the sails on as the wind was due to pick up later. Just as he was preparing, a border police boat approached and tied alongside to check our documents. I was a bit worried that we may have inadvertently anchored in Romanian territory whilst only cleared for Bulgaria – the border is usually the middle of the river, but not always. Thankfully, it was just a routine inspection and everything was fine, although they certainly took a lot of time scrutinising passports and boat papers!

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Border patrol leaving (I didnt think they would appreciate me taking a picture whilst they were alongside)

After all the excitement, departure from the anchorage was around 10am. Our next stop was to be Silistra, which is the last town in Bulgaria before the border turns away and both banks are in Romania. As such, it is necessary to clear out in Silistra and we also intended to stop for the night. As predicted, the wind had picked up significantly making the river fairly choppy. We located the customs dock at Silistra which for obvious reasons was not possible to secure to.

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Silistra customs pontoon

We turned and headed back to a hotel pontoon a few hundred metres upstream. With the weather conditions and the poor state of the pontoon, it was not a great place for Doris so we resolved to complete the formalities and head off immediately. The hotel were amenable to this and we walked along to the customs house. It did not take too long, the only delay was waiting for a police officer to be called to come and stamp the paperwork.

There are several places along the lower Danube where the channel splits and there are different options as to which route to take. Boyko had advised us to take a particular arm, Bratul Bala, once in Romania as the water levels are low in the natural Danube. This meant bypassing the town of Cernavoda which is where we understood we had to clear in to Romania. While we were waiting for the police officer in Silistra, we asked for advice on this. They pointed to a Romanian police boat directly opposite where we could clear in. This was ideal, so on leaving Silistra, we crossed the river and secured to the Romanian Border Police boat. They were super helpful and we didn’t even have to leave Doris, all the paperwork was dealt with alongside and we were now officially stamped into Romania. They said we could stay tied to their boat for the night if we wished, but we opted to continue as the choppy conditions made it an uncomfortable spot to stay. The officers also advised us to take the Bratul Bala route when we reached the junction and explained that we must get permission via VHF radio contact before entering. It is a busy shipping section and one way passage rules apply.

Finding a suitable anchorage was tricky.  Once again, many of the places which looked good on the chart were too shallow. Ideally, a place tucked away is better, but we ran out of options and ended up anchoring on the main river, well outside of the channel, directly opposite the entrance to Bratul Bala. It was still fairly windy when we stopped, but did drop off later and the anchor held fine.

We were ready for departure  early the next morning, just waiting for an opportunity to go. At around 07:30 a large push-tow was just going in and following seemed like a good idea. We tried a couple of times on the VHF but received no response and figured that as long as we stayed close to the barge we should be fine. This worked well and we travelled through the one way sections without incident.

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Not very well focussed, but it’s not often you see a horse and cart on a ferry

At some point during the morning, it dawned on us that all the bridge height information we had checked was for the main Danube and not for the channel we were on. A scan of our electronic charting showed one bridge, but did not give height. Some frantic google searching yielded no further information. As we approached, Cy took the helm, and very carefully we edged through. It is quite difficult to judge, but it looked there was a good few metres clearance.

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Easy as she goes..

The channel rejoined the main Danube later in the day, where we passed under the final bridge of the journey to the Black Sea. Not too far afterwards, we anchored at a spot recommended in our pilot notes. It was a still evening and the spot was beautiful. In the brief gap in the evening between the temperature reducing to a tolerable level and the mosquitoes attacking, Cy managed to get the other sail on. The anchorage was at kilometre 216.5 meaning it is that far to the end of the river, not far now!

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Evening photos at anchorage

Wednesday 19th July took us to the town of Braila, a shortish journey of around 45 kilometres. The harbour master has a pontoon here which is a possible mooring place, although there was a large boat tied there, which we assumed was a port work boat. Someone appeared to wave us in and take lines so we moored alongside, the guy on board was friendly and gave us directions into town.

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Doris (with mast up!) tied alongside at Braila

This was our first time onshore in Romania, after travelling along its borders for a few hundred kilometres. We liked the town, there were some lovely restored buildings, although sadly, many were dilapidated ruins.

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Braila

After our initial excursion involving a late lunch and shopping for groceries, we had dinner on-board and then headed out again in the evening. We had noticed a stage being set up along the river and thought we should check it out. It turned out to be a kind of traditional music festival which was great. It was set in a long square with really super lit fountains. They didn’t look all that great in the day, but in the dark it was a fantastic sight.

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Fountains at Braila

As the music had wound down and the Eurovision style presenters were giving awards to everyone, we decided it was a good time to wander home. It was a lovely end to a lovely few days.

 

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6th-11th July. Golubac to Shishtov

Daybreak on Thursday 6th July was very welcome indeed, it had been a difficult night. Contrary to the weather forecast, strong winds (up to force 5) had developed at around midnight. We were anchored in a shallow bay at the edge of a large lake-like section of the river which meant that the winds created significant waves. The anchor alarm went off at regular intervals throughout the night as we were being pushed around in ever-increasing circles. The sound of the wind, and the waves slapping the boat and the motion, felt like being at sea again. This did not make for restful sleep. Cy was awake most of the night on anchor watch, managing brief spells of napping. I slept a little more, but not much. Mercifully, the anchor held and we made it through the night, tired but unscathed. The winds did not drop in the morning either, so unsurprisingly, we opted to make an early start.

With a lot of effort, the anchor was heaved up and we made a bee-line for the gorge. Once inside, it was as still as can be and, in the early morning, a haze hung over the water.

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Despite our tiredness, we were blown away by the dramatic nature of the scenery as we made our way along. Our depth gauge recorded 68m at one point, the deepest water since being at sea. It’s almost impossible to describe, but we went through steep narrow sections, which would then widen out into huge lakes. The cliffs were steep and high and greenery abounded. Spectacular!

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Road cut into cliffs

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Inside the gorge

At around 3pm we reached the sculpture of King Decebel at km 967 of the Danube. It is a modern sculpture, on the Romanian bank.

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Sculpture of King Decebel, completed in 2005.

For the entire gorge, Romania is on the left bank and Serbia is on the right. Due to border controls and customs procedures, we could only stop on the Serbian side as that was the country we were cleared into.  Otherwise it would technically be necessary to clear out of customs in one country and into the next.  Conveniently, there is a charted anchorage on the right side directly opposite King Decebel and that is where we opted to stop. It was a gorgeous evening – warm, sunny and still. After a swim and dinner, we both slept very soundly indeed.

After our lovely peaceful night, we left the anchorage at around 8:30. Hefting (weighing..?) the anchor up was a lot easier in the calm weather! Shortly after leaving, we passed the Tabula Traiana which is a memorial plaque built by the Romans to go with a bridge constructed in 105 AD. The tablet was raised to its current location in 1972 when the gorge was flooded for the building of the Iron Gates 1 Hydroelectric Power Station.

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Tabula Traiana

Speaking of which, we arrived at the dam and lock (Djerdap 1) at midday or thereabouts. There are two locks, one on either side of the river operating on alternate days or weeks or something, we never found out which… We were able to figure out from ship movements on the AIS that it was the Romanian side operating that day, so we found a suitable waiting quay and tied up. It was not too long before a large barge arrived and there was a little room for Doris to squeeze in next to it. Once we were secure in the lock an official requested a crew list, which I was delighted about as I had lots of copies of one I had prepared before we left the UK and no-one had asked for it yet.

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Inside Djerdap 1 lock. It looks more spacious than it felt!

The locking took a while as there were two sequential chambers giving a total fall in height of 32 metres. Once out, the landscape started to flatten out again. We started looking for somewhere suitable to stop at around 5:30 pm, but didn’t have much luck. A couple of places looked promising on the chart, but in reality they were too shallow and clogged with weed. We spotted a barge tied up at what looked like a builders merchants and had I just managed to persuade Cy that we could ask to tie alongside when they moved off the spot, oh well.

A couple of hours later we spotted an old loading quay at a small town called Brza Palanka and made fast (another yachtie term…) there for the night. It was not possible to get ashore as the quay was designed for much bigger boats and was too high for us to climb off, but we had all the essential supplies necessary, so it didn’t matter.

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Not quite Prosecco and rocket…

There was a large group of young men jumping into the water and swimming nearby so we would have been wary of leaving Doris anyway.

Against the odds, a 6am departure was managed and by 8am, Doris was secured and waiting to go into the Djerdap 2 lock. Once again, it was the Romanian side that was operating. There were fun and games on the lock approach as there was no suitable space for a small boat to tie up and wait and no response on the VHF. For a while we wondered if we should have been on the Serbian side, which would have been a nuisance as it was on the other side of an island and required going a few km back upstream before we could turn about and get into the other channel. After a few minutes of uncertainly bobbing about, we noticed a man waving from the end of a pier section. He directed us around the end and we were able to throw lines up to him. This would not have been possible without his help due to the height. He was incredibly friendly and apologetically explained that we would need to wait an hour or so for the next boat and we could go in behind. He kindly asked if we needed anything and offered us water. When the time came, he was on the quay inside the lock and directed us in and showed us where to attach our lines. On leaving, we got the cheeriest wave imaginable.

This was the final lock of the journey and it was great to have such a pleasant experience. According to our logbook, we have been through 323 locks. It was another significant milestone on the journey.

Shortly afterwards we reached Prahovo, which is where we had to check out of Serbia. We clambered off Doris, onto the dock and up to the customs hut. There was no sign of anyone about, so I timidly knocked on the door. Eventually, a bleary eyed fellow in some sort of uniform answered the door. He did try and wave us away, but by this time I was half way across the threshold, so we were reluctantly allowed into the office/bedroom. After a bit of muttering and rummaging through paperwork, our exit document received the official stamp and off we went. After all our wonderful experiences in Serbia, this was a slight anti-climax, but at least there had been no difficulties.

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Leaving Prahovo

The temperature increased throughout the day, and cooling off measures became necessary….

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We reached the port of Vidin in Bulgaria later in the afternoon and tied up on one of the police docks behind a large tug. The formalities for clearing into Bulgaria were sorted within half an hour and we were welcome to stay overnight where we were but advised that caution was necessary going ashore. The low water levels meant the walkway did not meet the concrete steps, requiring a climb through a barrier, stepping across a gap and onto a small set of metal steps. We had managed worse.

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Mind the gap….

There are a couple of restaurant barges that offered water and electric, so we thought we would check out that option (over a beer). As it happened, there was no space so we opted to stay put.

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Checking out alternative mooring options

The restaurant barge was lovely, so after a stroll around town later in the evening, we returned for dinner.

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Town square in the evening sun

We wanted to see more of Vidin, so stayed on the police pontoon another day. There is a large fortress which we had a look at early on Sunday morning and then headed to the market to top up on fruit and veg. By this time, it was mid-morning and already 29 degrees. In these circumstances a fountain is always welcome.

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The evening arrived (after an afternoon spent hiding from the sun and purchasing groceries) and with it a fabulous moonrise.

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We left Vidin at 8 am on Monday 10th July. Bulgaria marks a new time zone. This had caused us some confusion as our mobile phones had locked onto it a day or two earlier, but now we were officially in Bulgaria, we were a bit more certain about the time. It was definitely 8 am when we left, or possibly 7, or 9.

The heat was becoming difficult to cope with. We took turns to drive Doris and snoozing under the shade awning throughout the day. We arrived at the town of Oriahovo in the late afternoon and secured to a pontoon. I went ashore to check it was OK to tie there. It took a bit of detective work to find the office and then the services of Google translate were employed to tell me it would 15 euros to stay plus another 5 if we wanted water or electric. I think there may even have been additional per unit charges, Google translate was a bit sketchy on this point. I returned to discuss this with captain Cy and we both agreed this was a bit steep and the town didn’t look to be anything remarkable. I returned to the office and apologetically typed in that we would not be staying, sorry.

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Taken sometime after leaving Oriahovo

Around 20 km further downstream, we found a lovely anchorage and that is where we stayed.

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At anchor

 

 

 

It was a slower start the next morning, with a few jobs before departure. I had a quick swim, but the current was so strong that Cy had to haul me in using the throw line as I couldn’t get back to the boat myself (told you so…).

The river is much wider now, but the scenery is less dramatic. With the heat, it felt like a long day. At around 14:30 we passed what had been a fuel barge.

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Later in the afternoon, we were passed by the guys from Vienna.

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It took a while to find an anchorage for the night – the low water levels make it more difficult as lots of otherwise suitable places are just too shallow. There was a bit of a tangle with a submerged tree in one place we looked. In the end, we opted to stop in an area designated as an anchorage outside the town of Shishtov, tucked in amongst some big barges. It wasn’t pretty but there was plenty of depth and the weather was thankfully calm. We slept well which prepared us for the adventures ahead…

 

 

 

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1st-5th July. Novi Sad to Golubac

We set off from Novi Sad at around 9am bound for Belgrade. Straight away we passed under the bridges of Novi Sad, there are remains to be seen of those which were destroyed in 1999 by NATO. The rebuilding work is still in progress.

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Remains of one of Novi Sad’s bridges

Rebuilding work

It was another hot day and the horseflies were bothering us again. The scenery was good, with a few interesting looking communities huddled along the riverbanks.

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We began to approach Belgrade during the afternoon. The Restoran Vodenica is a family-run restaurant barge which has a reputation as a being a great place to tie up to. It is in the mouth of the river Sava which flows through Belgrade and into the Danube. It took us a little while to find it, and we were getting a bit concerned that it had closed down, but all was well. By 5pm, we had tied up securely, met the owner and his son, Neysha and George, who run the place together, had a glass of schnapps and settled in. Shortly afterwards, another sailing boat, Marianne, arrived. Onboard Marianne were Klaus and Klaus, who are undertaking the passage to the Black Sea having started in Stuttgart. They are doing the journey in stages, a couple of weeks whenever work and family commitments allow, leaving the boat somewhere secure in between times.

These were the first people we had met completing the whole trip and we had a great evening together, swapping stories over dinner. They were carrying on their journey the next day, having spent time sightseeing in Belgrade previously, whereas we were staying put for a few days.

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Klaus and Klaus and us.

The next day, Sunday 2nd, was hot again. Being Brits, we are finding this quite a challenge. We left early, after waving off Klaus and Klaus, for a stroll around the fortress, breakfast in the park and then a look at the pedestrianised areas of the city.

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Klaus and Klaus leaving on ‘Marianne’

We also put in another stop on our tour of European markets and purchased a fly swat, possibly the best pound I’ve ever spent.

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Monument and view from fortress

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Painted buildings in Bohemian Quarter

We then scuttled back to the boat to hide in the shade doing nothing for the afternoon. The evening brought rain, which is much more to our taste, and we went out again. This time, we discovered the passenger boat dock and a couple of interesting churches. 

When we arrived back at the restaurant, it was fairly quiet, but still open, so we ordered some Serbian white wine and were joined for a chat by Neysha (unlikely that this is the correct spelling), the owner. It was very interesting to hear him talk and share some of his thoughts and experiences. There are some significant cultural differences and we did not always see things the same way but it was a great end to the evening and gave us a lot to think about. Serbia seems to be a country caught between East and West, with a troubled and turbulent past, still bearing the scars.

We were blessed with overcast skies on Monday and able to spend a full day sightseeing. We purchased a 24 hour bus/tram pass so we could cover more ground. Unfortunately, the transport system is not quite so well developed as some cities, so it felt like we spent a large proportion of the day waiting at bus stops.

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Noticed this next to a road.  Not sure of the translation, but I think we get the gist.

In between times, we did manage to get to the Temple of St Sava. The inside is being refurbished, but the crypt is complete and lavishly decorated. It is a relatively modern temple and the crypt contains photographs and text commemorating Serbians who fought and died in WW1. Serbia lost over 50% of its male population during WW1.

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Crypt at St Sava Temple

We then braved the buses again, and after a particularly crowded and unpleasant journey, arrived in Zemun. This is a lovely district of Belgrade and worth the effort. There is a tower to climb, which affords spectacular views across Belgrade.

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View from tower.  Tiled roofs of Zemun in foreground and Sava River joining the Danube from the right.

The bus ride back was better, and we had time to explore a bit more.

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Novel motorised transport, spotted by Cy.

We ate in the Restoran Vodenica, which I can highly recommend to anyone visiting Belgrade, had a lovely chat with George, made arrangements to sort out diesel in the morning and went off to bed.

There was no need to leave early the following morning, so we had a bit of a slow start. Cy went off with George in his car to get diesel and I did a bit of housekeeping – vacuuming and laundry to be precise. Departing before us in their beautiful river boat were Walter, with his friends Manfred and Ursula (Ursi). They are from Vienna and also travelling the Danube, staying in hotels/b+b’s along the way. We continue to catch up with them throughout the journey. Belgrade seemed to be quite a place for meeting fellow travellers.

As we had been welcomed with a glass of schnapps, Cy felt it fitting to offer a whiskey to our hosts before departing. I left the boys to it, and we eventually departed from Belgrade towards Smederevo just after midday.

The journey to Smederevo was delightful. No horsefly problems and deep, wide sections of river. According to our guide notes, Smederevo has lots of restaurant barges to tie to. Unfortunately, this no longer appears to be the case. Most looked to be closed, and had the appearance of being private dwellings. There were a couple that were possible tying up places, but one was full and the other didn’t really look suitable for Doris.

  1. There is a small-boat dock and we found a good place, with plenty of depth of water. We got chatting to Milan, who is a member of the boat club. He thought it would be OK for us to stay there, but needed to check with the club secretary. In the meantime, Walter and the crew arrived to the same dock. Milan came up trumps (thank you Milan) and not only were we allowed to stay for the night, there was no charge. 

Moored at Smederevo

This was great news, so we headed to the clubhouse to spend the money on beer instead. We were joined by the guys from Vienna. It turns out that Walter has a lot of experience sailing in Greece and Turkey, so was able to share a few tips. Fortified by our beer, we headed to a supermarket to top up our provisions.

Wednesday 5th July was a bright, calm day and relatively cool in the morning. We left at around 9am. The temperature increased steadily and was very hot again in the afternoon. Dealing with temperatures consistently in excess of 30 degrees Celsius is not something that comes easily, and is incredibly draining. However, the Danube was spectacular. At around 12:30, we passed the village of Ram and its fortress. Shortly after, the Romanian border begins on the left bank, with the right still being Serbia. We reached the fortress at Golubac later in the afternoon. This is the entrance to the Iron Gates gorge section and we decided to stop for the day and enter the Iron Gates in the morning. 

Entrance to the Iron Gates

There is a tiny village in a little scoop of a bay immediately before entering the gorge, so we threw down the anchor for the night. It was beautiful. 

Evening sun across the bay

I had a swim and we ate dinner whilst watching the sun set behind the fortress.

Cooling off

 It was an idyllic evening. The night, however, turned out to be less so. I’ll leave that for the next instalment…..

Sunset at Golubac fortress

 

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26th-30th June. Budapest to Novi Sad

Budapest is such a wonderful city, that we couldn’t resist spending the morning there and planned a lunchtime departure. The market hall was up first, via a circuitous tram route that I thought would be interesting. I was wrong, it was just long.

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Budapest Market Hall

After purchasing some fruit and veg from one of the many stalls, we headed upstairs where there are a few street food stalls. For our breakfast we had what I think is called ‘lagosz’. Basically a large piece of deep fried bread lavishly covered with sour cream and cheese. It took just as long to try and remove the leftover grease from our hands and faces as it did to eat, but we were certainly not hungry any longer.

Next we headed towards the Parliament building. After hanging out in the square for I bit, we noticed a memorial to the events of 25th October 1956 and decided to go in. There is a recently installed exhibition in an underground chamber which acts as a memorial for those who lost their lives on that day when Russian tanks fired on a large gathering of civilians. However, events of that day are still poorly understood, so the Hungarian Government are encouraging anyone with memories or information to get in touch. The ‘Shoes on the Danube’ memorial is close by, so that was next. This is to remember people who were shot in 1944 on the bank of the Danube (mainly Jews) by a right wing militia group. They were made to remove their shoes first, hence the nature of the memorial. It is a deeply moving and thought provoking tribute.

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Shoes on the Danube

It was time to return to Doris and get going. The usual pre-departure faff ensued and we left the Wiking Yacht Club, Budapest at around 1 pm. It took a little longer than expected as we hit a shallow patch and ran aground while trying to get off the mooring. Eventually we were in the main channel and driving Doris through Budapest. For me, this was a stand-out experience on the trip. So much of the city is along the waterfront on both sides of the river, the sights and views are amazing. Unfortunately, due to a technical glitch, the majority of the photos I took have been lost into the digital hinterland, never to return. Passing under the iconic Chain Bridge and past the Parliament are views which I will never forget, but am unable to show.

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One of the only photos we have!

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Driving through Budapest

Once out of the city, we passed through the port and industrial area and then very quickly into swampy, rural scenery.

The intention was to spend the night at anchor, and we had a choice of two anchorages. One had been recommended by Attila, in Esztergom, and one by our pilot guide. We stuck our nose into the first one at 18:45, and decided with depth reading of 1.3m in the entrance, we didn’t want to risk further dropping levels and get stuck. Our experience of running aground in Budapest had revealed that our depth sounder doesn’t work brilliantly in shallow water and 1.3m seems to be its lowest reading. Erring on the side of caution seemed wise. We reached the second potential place 45 mins later and found the same situation. The decision was made to push on and try to find an alternative. Finally, just after 2030, and with daylight fading fast, we tied up to a pontoon belonging to a restaurant. There was plenty of depth and the pontoon was secure. The restaurant was deserted but another boat owner said it was fine to stay and showed us where the toilets and showers were.

Tuesday 27th dawned, and with it another early start. Away before 06:30, which meant getting underway in the cool of the early morning, and also before anyone arrived to collect a mooring fee (sheer coincidence…). There was now noticeably less traffic on the river; the amount of cruise ships was significantly less as many of the routes start/stop at Budapest. The river was also much broader. The major issue for the day was the plague of enormous horseflies, they seemed to be attracted to the boat. We were forced to close the canvas door in the end, despite the heat.

It was to be our last day in Hungary, with Mohacs being the last stop before crossing into Serbia. As we would be leaving the EU at this point, we needed to clear out through customs. We reached the customs dock towards the end of the afternoon. The main dock was taken by a passenger ship and there was also a barge on the large boat dock, but we found a space on the police dock and snuggled in there.

We headed ashore to complete the formalities. A very friendly receptionist explained that there had been a change in the rules, and if we completed the paperwork, we must leave Hungary immediately, rather than be allowed to stay overnight and leave in the morning. As a result, we decided to clear customs in the morning instead and headed to Mohacs (just a few hundred metres further downstream) to find a mooring for the night.

The usual visitors moorings are alongside a restaurant barge but when we tied up, we were advised that they were full. All the visiting boat spaces were taken and we could not stay where we were as they were private moorings. A bit of persistence was required but eventually the lovely chap made a couple of phone calls and it was arranged that we could tie to a boat further along. This turned out to be an old tug belonging to the ferry company. A charge was made and we were subjected to quite a long wait whilst a receipt was laboriously produced for us by the lady in the ferry ticket office. We didn’t really need a receipt, but in the battle of bureaucracy vs common sense, bureaucracy definitely won this round.

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Tied to Jegmadar

Once everything was sorted and we had finished off the daily logbook entries and given Doris a cursory tidy, we went out to spend our final forints. We were pleasantly surprised by Mohacs. There was a pedestrianised main street with a handful of bars and restaurants. What more could we want?

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Mohacs

There was also one of the largest war memorials I’ve seen. An ice cream, beer and then dinner used up most of our leftover currency.

 

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War memorial, Mohacs

Next morning, we arrived at customs again. This time there was no space on the police dock, but the main was free, so we tied up at the far end. It was only afterwards that we realised getting off was not quite so easy…..

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The receptionist on duty completed the paperwork which then needed to be signed off by various offices within the building, in order. First stop was the police, so we found the relevant office and gingerly knocked on the door. The door was flung open by a large policeman eating a large pastry who gestured to us to sit down and wait. We did not argue and meekly sat down and waited (have you ever been with Sarah while she’s meekly waiting? If only they knew…). It was evidently a three course breakfast as we waited quite a long time. Eventually the receptionist came to see what was happening and took us around the other offices and gather the rest of the signatures (water police, customs etc). Eventually, the police were ready to sign and stamp our form and we were good to go. On returning to the boat, we found a thin, sallow-looking fellow hanging around smoking. He conversationally introduced himself as the health inspector(!) and casually enquired if we had any pets. Not really sure what possessed me, but I began telling him about my deceased cat, Jim and how upset I was when he died. He expressed sympathy and pronounced us free to go.

We continued our journey downstream, crossing the border initially into Croatia and then Serbia and Croatia on opposite banks. Bezdan is the first customs port in Serbia and we arrived mid-morning. Customs do not have their own dock but there is an agents barge to tie to. We duly did and followed the agent to the customs house.

This was up some very steep, scary steps. These would be less steep and a little less scary if the water level were not so low but probably no safer.

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We then proceeded to cross a large lawned area into what appeared to be a modern building. It looked less modern inside but the official was very nice and led us into his office.

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He was incredibly friendly but a bit slow on the computer, so the various forms took a while. To pass the time, we were offered (and of course, accepted) a glass of home-made schnapps. Made by his ‘friend’. We chose not to enquire about the tax status of home-distilled spirits.

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It would be rude not to…

Once everything was complete, he advised us that we were to return to our boat and wait – he and a police officer would come and inspect our vessel. We rushed back and tidied up hurriedly, fretting about how to explain the composting toilet arrangements, including the sealed black buckets marked “Do not open” buried in the bottom of the deck locker. This was to be our first inspection, so a certain amount of anxiety is inevitable. Once again, we needn’t have worried. They just came to the dock to wave us off, wishing us a good stay in Serbia.

We pulled in for the night at the marina at Apatin. The facilities were fine, but you got the sense that all was not well and they may have been struggling a bit to maintain the business. We walked into town for a bit of a sniff around. The town was quite interesting and we got into an interesting conversation with a young man working in a hardware store. He told us a bit about the history of the town (which was a German enclave for many years) and some of the current problems within Serbia – he expressed the view that the government was very corrupt and this was the biggest issue within the country. We topped up groceries at a decent supermarket and enjoyed a beer before returning to Doris for the night.

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Apatin Marina -“where’s Doris?”

Thursday is market day in Apatin, so we thought it would be interesting to go and see it before departing. It was a great experience, really bustling, with everything under the sun. Cy managed to get some hose, fittings and new crocs (rock n roll…) and I bought some bread for our lunch.

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Apatin market

The hose and fittings were to help Cy set up some extra water storage capacity with a spare flexible tank, so while he was sorting that out, I headed off for diesel, getting soaked in a massive storm on the way back. With all this, we still managed to leave the marina at 10:30. It was a very pleasant stretch of river – wide, curving, with lots of islands and wooded banks. We saw eagles and egrets during the day. However, the horseflies were out in force again. We decided to stop at around 6pm. We found a corner in the river, well out of the channel and dropped anchor. Everything seemed  fine but the current was more than we expected, so we decided not to risk the night there.

We continued on to the harbour in the town of Backa Palanka. There is a commercial port at the front of the harbour but room at the back to anchor out of the way. We were a bit nervous about it being shallow but figured if the barges could get out, so could we. The depth sounder was reading 1.3m, but a prod with the boat hook revealed that it was deeper than that (probably weed confusing the instruments). We passed a peaceful night there.

Doris managed to get out of the harbour OK the next morning and we arrived at the city of Novi Sad in the early afternoon.

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Modern church seen on Croatian side of river – rebuilt after bombing

There was space on a pontoon of one of the boat clubs for us, with plenty of depth.

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Doris on the end of the pontoon

It was incredibly hot, so we had no intention of walking into the main city until the evening. The city ‘beach’ was nearby though, and I thought it would be fun to have a look. It was packed with people enjoying a day out, we had a swim and ice cream. As soon as the temperature was bearable, we walked along the riverside path into town. On the way, we saw a procession of traditional musicians.

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Novi Sad was heavily bombed by NATO in 1999, and bears the scars. The bridges have been rebuilt, but some of the remains are still visible. We saw a large photo display of the bridges before and after 1999.

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Not sure what this is commemorating, as there was no English translation but some of it was in Hebrew.

Once we reached the city centre, we found there was an exhibition by the Serbian tourist board, showcasing different regions.

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Dance display

We walked around a bit, admiring the restored buildings.

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City square in the twilight

We treated ourselves to dinner out and were glad we had; Cy found a great restaurant. After getting a taxi back, we finished the evening with a night cap at one of the ‘beach bars’.

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