September 12th, 2010 browsing by day


Sunday 12 September Calafat

Sunday, September 12th, 2010

First a bit of trivia about Calafat. This is where the German word “Kalfatern” and Dutch “(Op)kalevateren” originates. And apparently even the English “Caulking” (Breeuwen). The Genoan traders, already in the Middle Ages, brought the pitch from Calafat to use in the ship building for caulking the the seams in the hull and deck planking.

I tried starting the engine this morning but it did not turn over. I am waiting to hear from my Dutch Diesel experts on what kind of problem I might have. But if there is anyone else out there who might have a suggestion. Here are the symptoms: The engine is 30 years old and had little action till the four trips up and down the ICW and now this 2000 mile Amsterdam- Black Sea voyage. It is a Renault 16. Parts are only available in England and they know it. Last September I paid theequivalent of a good down payment of another engine to replace the head gasket to them. So, it might be time to replace but this is not a good spot for it. So, I am hoping to be able to get at least to Galati another 650 kms down river, where the mast needs to be restepped and where there is a good ship yard. The exhaust had been emitting a small amount of diesel/oil? for quite some time. But I did not use any oil till very recently. When I left Amsterdam for the Rhine and Danube I started having black smoke and the transom was constantly black. Then two days ago when I decelerated before entering the last lock it sounded/felt that the engine was going to quit, it spewed out a bunch of black soot. I slowed down from then on but made it yesterday to Calafat, running the engine slower. I did not seem to have lost power but was leaving more diesel/oil? on the water from the exhaust and the soot is now thick on the transom waterline. 

I went to mass this morning at the local Eastern Orthodox church. UnfortunatelyI got littleout of it. I understood the Credo and the Pater Noster but not much else. The sanctuary is closed off from the congregation and the altar is not visible. The priest comes out on different occasions and then he closes the Dutch door again and the red brocade curtain above it. All is sung acapella by, a mostly older women, choir and the priests. The younger priest sung accompaniment in a very low voice, like the Tibetan monks.

Yesterday I wandered of into the lower rent district and was accosted by a bunch or urchins “Donne Moneta”! One grabbed my mosquito repellent out of my back pack pocket. But dropped it when I went in pursuit. Since Roumanian is a Latin language I can read a good part of it but the spoken is worse than understanding Portuguese. Right across the river is Vidin, one of the larger cities in Bulgaria. The ferry landing is right next to my moorage. A bridge to both cities is under construction. Renault Nissan produces cars in Bulgaria which many are shipped on a regular roll on roll off barge service from Vidin to Bamberg, Germany. I was locked in for a while by one of those ships earlier this week at my last Serbian mooring.