August 11th, 2011 browsing by day


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.