August, 2011 browsing by month


Tuesday, August 16th, 2011

Internet access is problematic in Nessebar. There is none near my moorage, the town is a 15 minute walk and then it takes a consumption to get wireless access. A coffee or beer
is at least $ 2.00 a hit. So I am sitting behind a half liter beer and the internet is not working here. So gulp it up and try next door. Wolfgang and Inge recommended buying a USB card in Turkey that connects to wireless via satellite, so that you can use it also in remote anchorages.

I am concerned about the fact that the shaft is not coming free from the flex coupling. The more gadgets you add the more problems one has to put up with.

Last night there was a very colorful dance and song presentation in the ruins of the Roman amphitheater. All in the theme of the feast day of Mary’s assumption, who also is the patron saint of Nessebar. There were local dance groups and also from the regions that have migrated here over the centuries, Greek and Macedonians. The Greek group came from New Messembria, Greece.
Messembria was the original Greek name for Nessebar (also called Nesbir). They danced and sang the song from “Never on a Sunday” (ta Pedia Tou Pirea), which made Nana Mouskouri famous. It was a delightful experience. An industrial engineering student from Sofia University was sitting next to me. He had spent time in the USA. His girlfriend is from Nessebar and she is the tallest dancer in the below pictures and the one on the right in the close up.

This town never sleeps. I was woken by fireworks very close to the Marina. Then at 1.30 a jerk, nouveau riche, in his powerboat with speakers twice the size of his engine and a 100 times his pea brain, right across from me was trying to dominate the sound in the area within 20 square miles. He did not respond to my yelling and when I went over to tell him he insulted me, but then another skipper on the dock apparently shut him up. It was hard to get back to sleep after getting so angry with this total jerk.

The internet came back on and I still have half my glass left…

The moorage in the marina is abiout $11 per day. So it is affordable to shop for the best replacement solution for the prop and shaft.

August 15. Feast of the Assumption in Nessebar

Monday, August 15th, 2011

Since both the Orthodox and the Roman Catholics are on the same calendar this year we are both celebraing the assumption of the Virgin Mary on August 15.

And this is particular significant to this town of Nessebar, since the only contemporary Christian church used here is the Church of the Assumption. Many people attended the 8.30 a.m. mass and then there was a procession to all the former Christian churches :

The procession path was marked with overhead strung white paper sea gulls.

It is a public holiday in Bulgaria.

I tried to pull the shaft with what is left of the propeller but I was unable to separate the flex coupling from the shaft. I hammered, used the winch, to no avail. I suspect that the rubber has fused with the shaft when I detected the overheating problem. I had hoped that I could forego the expense of the haul out by pulling the shaft in the water. It might take an automotive axel puller to pull the shaft free, on shore.

Now I am still trying to purchase a flex propeller but I am unable to determine the size I need. I have been offered a Gori 15 x 10 new propeller in Holland for 200 Euroes but they tell me that this is for max 8 h.p. engine, but then I read elsewhere where they have been used for 13 h.p. engines. Anyone out there have expertise on this?? My fixed prop is 325 x 300 RH.




Monday August 15. Europe Multiculturalism and public debt crisis.

Monday, August 15th, 2011

My today’s NRC Dutch daily newspaper digital edition linked to a very well written article about the integration of muslim immigrants in Holland and the connection with the recent horror committed in Norway.

The American author of this article, in my opinion, is reporting this objectively from the different segments of the Dutch society. When I read/hear Dutch journalists reporting from their posts in the USA I sense, in most cases, that they went there with preconceived negative ideas and have never been able to step outside of them to see the larger picture. In essence the Dutch, even though they travel far and wide, remain provincial, just like the majority of the Americans. Amsterdam, granted that it is a melting pot of nationalities and ethnicities, remains a big village, in contrast to other world capitals.

I like the closing sentence of the NY Times article, where the colored Dutch lady asks the question: “What is Dutch?”

I have an opinion on this that I’d like to share in this blog. When I returned to Holland in 1965 from America, for the first time since I had left in 1957, I hardly recognized the make-up of the population. And I wondered how they all would have reacted if the clock were turned back to early May 1940 when the country was overrun by the Nazi neighbors. But over the years, since, I have learned that it was a misconception that nearly every Dutchman had resisted the Nazis and if it were to happen today it would probably make little difference. I believe that the question: “what is Dutch and what is American” is an individual interpretation.

In my travels I have learned that it is so easy to break down a preconceived barrier with a smile and an attempt to reach out. I loved the reaction from the woman in Malaysia, the first predominantly Muslim country I entered, in Kudat, Borneo, when I greeted her with:  “Assalamualeikum” and her reply, with a
great big smile: “Aleikum Salem” (Peace be with you). We are brothers and sisters and we have much more in common than most of us have decided to consider.

Here in the Balkans I came to realize how much I miss the ethnic makeup of America and Western Europe. I can count on my ten fingers the Asians and Africans I have seen here.
Last week in Varna, I ran into a Vietnamese family, tourists from Berlin. I could have engaged them for hours just to lessen my graving.

The second subject is the current grave European public debt crisis. I read one opinion in the NRC, last week, that strikes a common cord with what I have observed in this blog on different occasions. That this crisis has to do with a moral degeneration in Western Europe. This reporter observes that it coincides with the steady decline, since the seventies, in Christian beliefs and the former Protestant conservatism. Buying on credit and government borrowing have gone hand in hand with these statistics.

So, there you go, fresh from my soap box.


Sunday Aug 14. Nessebar.

Sunday, August 14th, 2011

Tomorrow “Fleetwood” gets hauled out on a slipway in the marina here. A diver just could not get the old prop off in the water. It turns out that I am missing a washer and a key way for the fixed two bladed spare propeller. They expect that they can make it up for me. But I am trying to purchase another folding prop. The fixed prop would have been good for all the motoring I did on the Rhine and Danube but from now on I do not expect that kind of travelling. After all it is not a motor yacht. Anyway it proves once again that my mishap always have a (initially obscure) reason for the good. Now I can take care of the packing problem and check the shaft and if need be replace it. 

This is a very nice spot to be stuck with this problem but it is just a little bit too touristy for me. Last night the music went on all night and the annoying beat of the base is not the way I’d like to spend trying to sleep in an anchorage. This town has more churches than a town in the Bible Belt. But most of them are ruins. The below pictures give you an idea. From the history of the early Christian churches here, in the first 5 centuries after Christ, I started to realize that until Christ came that since creation somehow just only one very small segment, the Jews, worshipped God. What went wrong? When the Greeks colonized this area they built temples to their pagan Gods, Apollo, Fortuna, etc.   

My new friends Keith and Carol on “Kirsten Jayne” anchored here two hours ago.

Saturday August 13. Nessebar, Bulgaria- another outstanding sailing day.

Saturday, August 13th, 2011

I am having a Bulgarian Brewsky overlooking the Black Sea from a high bluff in Nessebar. About 50 boats started at 7 p.m. for what is most likely an over night long distance race. The marinas were all packed with them when I arrived at 3 p.m.  And I was told that there would be berth for me after the racers had left. But I have a problem. I couold not back the boat up when I approached for a berth. I anchored out in the bay. Went down in the water and discovered that both blades on the folding prop are no longer there. For some weird reason I could make decent headway in forward. But none in reverse. I have talked to a diver. We may try to search for the blades in the area where I rember the problem started. But I have little hope for finding the two blades. I do have a fixed two bladed prop on board and I may need to get this one put on by a diver. But that is not an easy job. There are no haul out facilities here. I figure there might be in the much larger port of nearby Burgas. But I am not certain as to how I would manoevre in there without blades on my prop. The folding prop had been taken apart in Zimnicea and I had them tighten up the slop on the blades that had developed over it’s 30 plus years life. But I suspect that somehow that is where the problem originates from. So, stand by for the rest of the story….

Yesterday Evening another “real” cruiser couple asked me over for sun downers on their boat. Keith and Carol from “Kirsten Jayne”, an English couple. He retired from Techtronix at 50 and started their blue sea crusing life, in the early nineties. They have spent a number of years cruising the U.S. Atlantic and Pacific Coast as well, including Alaska. They know Gig Harbor.

I left at 7.30 this morning. I wanted to be sure I made it in before sun down. The distance to Nessebar is about 45 miles. I was in here by 3 p.m. I started out with full main and the 90% jib. It became a N.W. reach. And the wind kept getting stronger. From full main to, one reef, to two reefs, to three reefs and finally that was still too much sail. I came in here on just the 90% jib. The GPS showed over the ground speed of as much as 6,9 knots….  I could become addicted to this Black Sea kind of sailing.

Nessebar is an UNESCO protected world heritage center. It has remains of the Greek and older cultures that go back to 6000 b.c. The first floors of the houses and streets are built from rough quary rock and the higher floors are a rough pine with red tiled roofs. The newer structures are done in the same style and even though it is very attractive the whole town is filled with restaurants, souvenir shops and reminds me of Carmel, California.



Friday 12 August. Varna

Friday, August 12th, 2011

The storm has let up some. It rained almost constantly of and on for the last 24 hours. But there are still some gusty winds. The yacht club here has a race week here, but yesterday there just was no way to go out. They have a large fleet of Optimist dinghies for the youth program.

This morning we had quite a spectacle next door. The Mexican sail training ship “Cuauhtémoc” was departing. The Bulgarian sea cadets were seeing them off in a formation with their rifles and fixed bayonets. On leaving the dock the Mexicans played recorded national anthems and it was definitely a great show our southern Hermanos put on. Thyey are on a cruise of the Black Sea and Mediterranean.

Raymarine has a representative here and the father and son operation came down to the boat to fix my two broken auto pilots. They also checked my masthead wiring and it looks like I may have to go up to the top of the mast after all for the strobe and anchor light. They think that it might be a burnt out bulb. Anyway I really just need the tri-color for now.

Thursday Aug 11 Varna, Bulgaria

Thursday, August 11th, 2011

I am holed up in the cabin, hiding from a nasty storm. Better here in a safe berth, at the Marina Port Varna in Bulgaria, than on the Black Sea.  One of the best sails I can remember of this circumnavigation, from Constanta to Varna. Because of problems with my passport the Romanian border police kept me a couple hours longer in Constanta than I had planned on for my Tuesday morning departure. But, as it turned out, that kept me from arriving before day light in Varna.

The wind was between 10 and 15 knots from the S.E., most of the way. I had to tack once against the wind and then was lifted to be able to fetch my destination hard on the wind and that is still the most exhilarating way to sail on a reasonable flat sea, versus the downwind trade wind sailing. A few times I had to put a reef in the main sail. The moon is in its third quarter and illuminated the night till about 2 a.m. Dolphins kept me company for a while, splashing and puffing and I’d see the moon light glitter on their momentary surfacing. I never managed to sleep.

The main reason to call at Varna was to get a stamp on my engine invoice for the $ 1,200 GST recovery. But I may have accomplished this after all in Constanta. While the border patrol officer
stepped out of my cabin to take a smoke in the cockpit and my German neighbor, Inge, from “Stella Maris” engaged him in a conversation, I managed to grab his stamp machine that was sitting on the cabin table. Just could not resist, may my sins be forgiven and the uncooperative Romanians be absolved.

Monday evening, Wolfgang and Inge had me over again to show me their suggestions for Istanbul and the Bosporus. They have been such a delight to get to know. I love their interaction. They often
interrupt/correct/emphasize each other’s stories, but always with affection and humor. He is the captain, she the discoverer.

Inge gave me a link to an outstanding cruising web site for the Black Sea at:

Varna is not a particularly attractive city, though it has a gorgeous vista from the high bluffs of the Black Sea coast of the Bulgarian Dobruja . It is the third largest Bulgarian city with over a quarter million inhabitants. It is the location of the Varna Necropolis with a treasure of archaeological significance to a culture going back to 4200 years B.C., it was also an important port during the Greek colonization and the Roman period.

“Inzula”, the Austrian Trimaran, is here as well, waiting for the storm to pass. And Hans, my marina neighbor in Rouse, on July 13, welcomed me from his power boat when I entered the harbor.  I was planning to visit one more Bulgarian harbor, Nessebar, it is a UNESCO cultural heritage site, sometimes referred to as the Bulgarian Dubrovnik. But then I also read where it is overrun with tourists. If I do stop it would be my last EEC exit port and that is where I would need to obtain my stamps for the GST recovery.

I biked up to the post office to send off  a package to Amsterdam and stopped in at the cathedral of the Assumption. An early 20th century Orthodox church. Not particularly attractive but richly decorated. The one thing that I realized is that there are no organs in the Orthodox churches. But I am having trouble researching when and where the pipe organ was first used in Christian churches.

The below picture shows my dock neighbor, a Sea Nettle, it’s like being in an aquarium. I have never seen these creatures before.


Tuesday Aug 9. Departing Constanta for Varna, Bulgaria

Tuesday, August 9th, 2011

There is just a little breeze from the S.E. this early morning. I shall be on my way in an hour or so. I’ll head for the main port, Varna, and will try once again to hassle with the customs people to try and get the proper stamps my sales tax refunded

Last night I managed to sort out my tri-color light wiring mess. It works now! So, there never was a need to go up the mast after all.


Sunday/Monday Aug 7/8. Van de muur terug naar het kastje. Frustrations.

Monday, August 8th, 2011

I attended 9 a.m. mass at the Roman Catholic cathedral. It was full! And there were three more Sunday services to follow, besides de Saturday evening mass. I brought the camera but forgot the memory card. But you are not missing a thing because this has to be one of the least attractive churches I have ever visited. The priest was probably Italian. He refused to put the communion host in my hand and so I had to swing my tongue out, the way it was done in the dark ages, elsewhere. At the end of the service he made a comment, first in Italian and then in Romanian about reception of the host in the outstretched palm of the hand and it was possibly meant for me. But the meaning escaped me.

I have put three coats of Cetol on the rub rail and deck margin planks. I am still trying to figure out the wiring on the mast head lights. I was all set to go up the mast yesterday but I am starting to have my doubts that the direction of lens is the problem. So, I have to keep doing my process of eliminations after dark.

On the way back from church I found new neighbors at the dock. “Stella Maris” from Kiel, Germany. Wolfgang and Inge. They are on a cruise of the Black Sea, out of the Med, they sailed the North Coast of Turkey and across to Ukraine, Yalta, Sevastopol and the Krim peninsula. And returning to Turkey by way of the Romanian and Bulgarian coast. They circumnavigated, also around the Cape of Good Hope two years before I did. So, for the first time in a couple of years I feel like I am in my kind of company. I spent a couple hours with them in their cockpit and they gave me lots of good information about the areas I consider for my winter’s stay near Marmaris.


The large trimaran “Inzula” left this morning for Varna in Bulgaria and I am sure I shall run into them again along the way. My dock neighbor’s friend, who showed me to customs, last Thursday had promised to take me today to the customs office at the container port. He never showed. Constantin, the captain of Marina I, the research vessel, stopped by and he had his nephew take me there. They sent me back to another custom office about 3/4 of the way back to Constanta. They sent me back to the office I was hustled away from last Thursday. They all have these wonderful excuses because they just have never done it before. But I am convinced that it is their duty to stamp my invoices. I gave the last commissar a good piece of my mind. So, the stubborn Flying Dutchman is going to try it one more time in the last EEC country on the way. I’ll head for Varna in Bulgaria tomorrow.  A cruise ship was in port the Corinthian II ( I forget to ask for the verse) with mostly American passengers, on their way from Athens.

I will wave good bye to the Romanian shores with some sadness. I have spent nearly 6 months in this country. The people have treated me very generously and kindly and I made many friends here. I’d like some day to see the Northern region, Transylvania.

L’Arrividere and Multo Mesk!


Friday August 5th. The endless 2011 summer.

Friday, August 5th, 2011

Compared to last years’s cool and rainy summer from late July till September, this has been a great summer for me. It started when I arrived in Holland in mid March and I brought it with me to Romania. I finished hand sanding the rub rails and the deck margin planks. But it was too sunny and too warm to Cetol them. Later this evening.

“Inzula”, the all allumininum Austrian Tri-Maran, had her 24 meter- 79 feet (from the water) mast stepped a couple hours ago. The below pictures tell the story. The conception and building of this huge multi hull is an unusual story that is slowly unfolding for me, from the conversation with the skipper and crew. This is the first tri I have ever seen where the aka (main hull) is shorter than the amas. The conception is a dream of 48 year old Michael Jansenberger. He attempted to build his design in Venezuela in the mid nineties with his friend Ben, but they ended up building a copy of Joshua Slocums “Spray” and then being caught up in the Colombian drug maffia who slowly tightened the noose or the so called  “Columbian Necktie” around their necks. They spent time in Noriega’s Panama jails.  Jansenberger wrote a book about it “Kolombianische Krawatte” Michael gave me a copy and I am going to lay “Goldmund und Narciss” aside for it. Back in Austria he managed to get his dream off the ground with the help of a group of the people in the below pictures. A movie script is being written right now of the amazing Colombia/Venezula/Panama triangle story by an Austrian-Canadian writer.

The overall length of “Inzula” is 17 meters ( 56 feet) and her beam is 9 1/2 meters or just a little under “Fleetwood”s 30 feet length. It is meant tobe put into the charter trade in the Mediterranean and  has 5 separate state rooms each with a king size bed and a twin bed and their own head and shower. Be sure to check the youtube video :               This is no doubt one of the largest sail boats to ever have been built so far away from salt water. I have an enormous respect for Michael and the confidence he managed to maintain among the rest of the crew in the 7 year project. I am hoping to see them raise the sails for the first time, planned for Monday. They will also winter in southern Turkey so I will have more reports to share with you about this incredible effort.

There is a young Romanian man, about 20, who has a mental handicap. He fishes near the marina gate. He is so precious. He speaks good English. He rattles off the names of the North American ice hockey teams, baseball players, etc.  and asks me what I know of their players. Unfortunately I am severely handicapped when it comes to American spectator sports. A young St.Petersburg, Russia, couple asked to sail with me to Istanbul, but that just does not work with all the stuff I have stuffed in the boat. I could use one other set of eyes in the busy tanker corridor to Istanbul but she/he better speak good English and have some sailing experience.