Fyra dagar på Marmarasjön. Första seglingen.

Det var riktigt skönt att lämna Istanbul med all stress att se så mycket som möjligt medan tusenlapparna rasslade iväg. Ataköy marina var dyr men med stor trygghet (vakter dygnet runt) och förnämlig service. Efter att ha tankat båten med diesel gav vi oss av, fortfarande med motor på ett spegelblankt hav. Jag hade valt att gå längs södra sidan av Marmarasjön eftersom min pilot rekommenderade det. Första dagen gick vi förbi Prinsöarna söderut till Esenköy, en fiskehamn som drevs av ett fiskekooperativ, som tog ut en mindre hamnavgift. Det var en vackert belägen by, där vi förgäves letade efter en restaurang men där vi kunde bunkra med flaskvatten och nybakat bröd.
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Anders i Esenköy
Nästa dag fortsatte vi västerut, fortfarande utan vind och för motor. Dagens äventyr var att vi passerade för nära en stor fängelseö varför coast guard prejade oss och, mycket vänligt, följde oss hela vägen ut ur förbjudet område och gav stränga förhållningsorder om vår fortsatta kurs. Efter en heldag för motor kom vi fram till en ny fiskehamn, Karsyaka, som var helt fullknåkad av jättestora fiskebåtar. Vi lyckades kila oss in mellan några av dem och hitta en plats vid kajen.
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Under vår utforskning av staden fick vi sällskap att ett gäng gulliga turkiska ungar, som stolta räknade upp alla engelska ord de kunde. Här liksom på förra stället var människor mycket vänliga, hälsade, tog också gärna i hand och fick oss att känna oss välkomna. Någon riktig restaurang fanns inte heller här men vi hittade ett ställe med snabbmat, där vi åt köfte, de turkiska köttbullarna som Karl XII skall ha fört med sig hem till Sverige och startat vår egen köttbullstradition.
Morgonen därpå hade den efterlängtade vinden kommit och vi fick vår första dag för segel. Vilken härlig känsla att för första gången sedan jag lämnade masten i Travemünde få hissa storseglet från den återbördade bommen!
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Det blåste bra från norr och vi fick en gungig färd till Saraylar på norra sidan av Marmaraön, inspirerade av Katinka och hennes blogg, som varit där för några år sedan och vars fotspår vi följt.  Här har det brutits marmor sedan antiken, en eftertraktad bergart som också fått sitt namn av denna ö. Längs hela kusten såg man marmorbrotten, några övergivna men några fortfarande igång.
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I Saraylar låg stora lastfartyg som lastade marmor med stort brak men i en inre hamn var det lugnt och skönt. Det mesta där var av marmor, kajer, murar och en lång rad statyer längs kajerna, till och med utfyllnadsmaterialet till pirerna var marmor. Dessutom låg ett fint vitt  marmorstoft överallt.
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Hamnen i Saraylar med marmorslagghög
Det var en trevlig hamn som kan rekommenderas och som dessutom hade två riktiga restauranger. På grund av Ramadan var det dock ingen servering förrän ett dånande kanonskott (från en kraftig fyrverkeripjäs), och ljudliga böneutrop från minareterna signalerade att solen gått ner och att fastan för dagen var över, samma ceremoni alla dagar och överallt. 

Fjärde dagen gick vi västerut längs Marmaraön och sedan över till en ny fiskehamn, Saroy, på Marmarasjöns norra kust. Vinden hade vridit till ostlig och tilltog under eftermiddagen. Det blev en härlig plattlänssegling med saxade segel och god fart, 5-6 knop med toppar på 7. Under eftermiddagen avslutade jag också läsningen av Iliaden, som jag hållit på med några veckor och som roat mig mycket.  I fiskehamnen blev vi anvisade plats direkt längs en av fiskebåtarna. Det var en mycket livlig hamn och stad med restauranger igång även före solnedgången. När kanonskottet kom satt vi på en av restaurangerna i hamnen och drack öl och åt dessa goda turkiska förrätter, mezes. Det var ett extra kraftigt skott som skrämde mig rejält så att ölet skvimpade ut, det kommer fortfarande lika överraskande. Här fick jag en god grillad fisk, Anders åt calamari och vi njöt av en strålande utsikt över hamnen och havet. Det känns att jag nu verkligen är på gång med denna sommarens äventyr med segling i främmande länder. Allt har gått bra, motorn fungerar, seglingen fungerar och besättningen njuter och vi har det bra tillsammans. Och imorgon blir det dags att lämna Marmarasjön och gå in i Dardanellerna, sista etappen innan vi äntligen är i Medelhavet. 

Summary in English. We have now been sailing for four days on the Sea of Marmara, staying in nice small fishing villages with friendly people who have made us feel very welcome. The first two days we had still no wind but had to go by engine, now working fine. The third and fourth day, at last, the wind came and we have had two days of great sailing. What a good feeling to be able to hoist my mainsail with the boom in place, for the first time since I left the mast in Travemünde two years ago! Next day we will leave the Sea of Marmara and go into the strait of Dardanelles, the last passage before the Mediterranean.

En vecka i Istanbul 11-18/5

Innan vi kunde bege oss in och börja utforska denna stan skulle formaliteterna med inklarering klaras av. Alla hade varnat för att försöka göra detta på egen hand eftersom ansökningar skulle göras på fyra olika myndigheter i en viss ordning. Marinan erbjöd en agent som skulle kunna klara av detta till nästa förmiddag och även om det sved i plånboken med de 450 € som det skulle kosta bestämde jag mig för att tacka ja till hans tjänster. Agenten var en ung trevlig man, som inte kunde mycket engelska men som anlitade sin fru som tolk via mobilen. Morgonen därpå kom han också med alla dokumenten och var med oss på båten när vi körde iväg till den sista myndigheten, passpolisen, som snabbt kollade att vi stämde med passen. För 50 € extra ordnade han också med formaliteterna för det besättningsbyte som jag skulle göra i Istanbul. Det hela gick alltså ganska smidigt om det inte varit för ett urjobbigt missöde: när jag skulle ta ut pengar till agenten på bankomaten på marinan svalde bankomaten först mitt ena bankkort och strax därpå även mitt andra utan att jag lyckades få ut några pengar. Kontanter fick jag genom att låna av mina barn och en urgullig tjej, Sonay tror jag hon hette, i marinans reception lyckades få kontakt med banken och få ett löfte om att de skulle försöka ordna saken under veckan. När jag några dagas senare bad henne följa upp ärendet fick hon verkligen kämpa med en rad frustrerade samtal med bankpersonal innan hon fick besked att hon och jag måste infinna sig på det lokala bankkontoret för att de skulle kolla vår identitet. Sagt och gjort: Sonay och jag åkte iväg med en av marinans bilar och egen chaufför och fick träffa en kvinnlig banktjänsteman som skulle försöka hjälpa till att få tillbaks korten men kunde inget lova eftersom det bara var centralkontoret som kunde tömma fristående bankomater, vilket de rutinmässigt bara gjorde en gång i månaden och då dessutom alltid brukade klippa kvarlämnade bankkort. Desto större var glädjen hos Sonay dagen därpå, då hon fått besked om att korten fanns att hämta på det lokala bankkontor där vi varit. Vilken lättnad när jag fick dem i min hand igen utan större ceremonier än att visa pass och skriva några namnteckningar. Min lärdom: använd om möjligt inte fristående bankomater utan bara sådana som står i anslutning till ett bankkontor. 

Vi kom fram till marinan på fredagen och ”barnen” skulle resa hem sitt sina uppslukande  jobb redan på söndagen. Lördagsförmiddagen fick vi ägna åt inklareringen så sedan var det bara lördagseftermiddagen kvar för sightseeing i Istanbul. Vi hann med Hagia Sofia, Blå Moskén och Stora basaren och sedan en god middag på en fiskrestaurang. Och så var det slut på denna korta men härliga resa med alla tre ”barnen” den första båtresa vi gjort tillsammans sedan 1987. Helt ovärderligt och oförglömligt, alla samtal, alla delade upplevelser!
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Hagia Sofia
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Känner ni igen Tora?
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Grand Bazar
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Alla utanför marinans kontor
Efter enlugn dag var det så tid för nästa besättning att mönstra på, min käre vän Anders som var med flera veckor på Donau förra året och i Frankrike året innan. Vi hade fyra intensiva dagar med turistande i Istanbul. Samtidigt fick jag min generator lagad på varvet, gasol och diesel inhandlad innan det var dags att kasta loss för segling på Marmarasjön mot Dardanellerna och Medelhavet.
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Anders med Bosporen och asiatiska Istanbul i bakgrunden
Summary in English: I had one day for sightseeing in Istanbul with my children and then four more days with my friend Anders, who will be my new mate for a couple of weeks. Istanbul was fascinating and beautiful as anyone know who has been there. Also fascinating was the procedure of checking in boat and crow to Turkey, which is so complicated that I had to use an agent cover all the different authorities and get all necessary documents in reasonable time. It made a big hole in my wallet (500 €) but was worth it. A frustrating incident was that the ATM-machine I used managed to swallow both my credit cards, which took a lot of efforts to get back some days later. 

“Segling” (för motor) till Istanbul

När dagen för avfärd kom, den 10 maj och Kristi Himmelsfärdsdag, var det helt vindstilla på morgonen och inte någon vidare vind heller i väderutsikterna, så vi startade för motor och ställde in oss på att gå för motor en hel del. Efter några timmar var det dags att gå in i sista hamnen i Bulgarien, Tsarevo, för utklarering. Det gick smidigt och efter en god lunch gick vi vidare, för motor och utan vind. Vi höll ganska måttlig fart för att inte riskera att komma fram till Bosporen före soluppgången. Det var en ganska märklig känsla med ett i det närmaste spegelblankt hav. Motorn var emellertid i god form och jag kunde snart sluta att titta oroligt på motortermometern, kylsystemet fungerade förträffligt och jag sände en tacksamhetens tankar till mekanikerna i Sozopol. Det blev middagsdags och vi åt en god middag på havet, som fortfarande var spegelblankt.
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Då och då såg vi hoppande delfiner på avstånd. Autopiloten var på och vi kunde ägna oss åt goda samtal och läsning eftersom nu alla tre ”barnen” hade förklarat att de var onåbara för jobbmejl. Vi delade nu också upp natten i fyra tvåtimmarspass. Det blev en lugn natt, fortfarande för motor eftersom det var fortsatt vindstilla hela natten. Men ändå en magisk stjärnklar natt med Venus och Jupiter vid var sin horisont och Karlavagnen rakt över oss. Båttrafiken var mycket måttlig hela tiden. Jan hade sista passet mellan 4 och 6 men nu hade det mulnat så det gick tyvärr inte att se någon soluppgång. Vid 1/2 7 tiden väckte Jan oss eftersom vi då närmade oss mynningen av Bosporen. Nu hade det äntligen blivit litet vind men nu var det för sent för segling eftersom jag inte vågade segla i det trånga och vältrafikerade Bosporen. Ett bekymmer var också att autopiloten och plottern slutat fungera under efternatten och jag kunde konstatera att batterierna har helt urladdade. Alltså var det nu fel på generatorn eftersom motorn hade varit igång hela tiden. 

En festlig upplevelse var att vi strax utanför Bosporen hade ett helt stim av delfiner omkring oss. Det blev nästan som en avskedshälsning från Svarta Havet eftersom ett annat delfinstim ju hade hälsat oss välkomna när vi var på väg ut i Svarta havet vid Donaudeltat.

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Infarten till Bosporen
Sedan var det härligt att gå genom Bosporen och fram till Istanbul med sina två hängbroar, intensiv färjetrafik och där det var lätt att identifiera de imponerande stora moskéerna (Hagia Sofia och Blå moskén)  och sultanpalatset Topkapi.
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Efter ytterligare någon timme ut på Marmarasjön medmassor av ankrade lastbåtar var vi så framme vid målet, den stora Ataköy Marina, där vi genast blev anvisade en plats. Framme!
Summary in English: Here I tell about the “sailing without wind” a day and a night on the Black Sea from Sozopol to Istanbul. The sea was totally calm so we had to go by engine all the way. A magic night though with lots of stars above us! Approaching the Bospor early morning we were greeted by a big group of dolphins. Then the magnificent sight of the famous mosques and palace of Istanbul before arriving to Ataköy Marina in the Sea of Marmara i  a suburb of Istanbul.

10 maj: In Sozopol preparing for taking off

I first want to apologize to my American friends that I won´t write my blogs in English this year. It is too hard for me to find the right words and feelings in English and especially now when Joyce isn´t around (she will join me later in Greece). But I will always make a short summary in English at the end of each blog.

Redan 29/4 kom jag till Sozopol för att ta itu med vårrutsningen inför sommarens seglingar. Verkstaden med chefsmekanikern Kasimir Peef hade redan i höstas gjort ett gott jobb med motorn: förutom vinterkonserveringen hade de också rensat kylsystemet och satt in nya batterier så att motorn var fullt funktionsduglig igen. Nu hjälpte de mig också med att installera en anordning för att kunna suga ut toatanken, lagstadgad i Sverige men som mina mekaniker därhemma inte hade lyckats med. Dessutom hjälpte de mig med att installera en plotter, som jag inhandlat i Sverige: Raymarins Dragonfly 7 Pro, min första plotter. Navionics elektroniska sjökort i iPaden, som jag klarat mig bra med i Stockholms skärgård och under flod- och kanalresan hitner kändes alltför sårbar för segling på Medelhavet. Mekanikerna gjorde ett bra jobb, var väldigt justa och trevliga och jag kan verkligen varmt rekommendera denna marina. Bilden visar mekanikergänget när de bjöd mig på små läckra inlagda fiskar och hemgjort vin, Kasimir Peef längst till höger. 

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Båtbotten behövde också befrias från en rejäl påväxning eftersom båten legat i hela vintern. Jag hade först tänkt lyfta upp den och göra det vanliga vårliga bottenbehandlingen. Men lyften var dyra och jag bestämde mig därför att anlita en dykare, som gjorde en ordentlig rengöring för 200 € och sparade mig både pengar och en massa jobb.
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En trevlig syn mötte mig i verkstaden: min välemballerade storsegelbom som stod och väntade på mig. Ni som läst min blogg förra året kanske kommer ihåg den jobbiga historien med storseglebomen, som inte var med i den dyra masttransporten från Travemünde till Wien. Den historien fick ett gott slut sedan jag förhandlat fram en deal med Marina Baltica i Travemünde, som hittat en transport för 200 € och åtog sig att betala hälften. Det var en härlig känsla att packa upp bommen och äntligen få den på plats:
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Så därmed var allt klart för avfärd för den första etappen på 120 sjömil mellan Sozopol och Istanbul, som innebar en dag-och-nattsegling. Och här kommer ett av de stora glädjeämnena för detta båtäventyr: alla mina tre barn, Tora, Jan och David har kommit för att  gasta. Det var vi fyra som började segla tillsammans för 36 år sedan. Vi seglade i flera somrar men nu inte sedan 1987, för 31 år sedan, då barnen börjat flyga ut och fått andra prioriteringar. Bilderna visar välkomstdrinken i båten och sedan en god middag på en av Sozopols alla krogar med havsutsikt. Idag, den 10 maj kl 10 var vi sedan klara för avfärd med kurs mot Istanbul, som var vikingarnas Miklagård en gång i tiden. Nya äventyr väntar, i Odysseus kölvatten: “Natten gick hän och det grydde till dag och de seglade ständigt…”

English summary: Here I have been telling about how my boat has been made ready for this year´s sailing in the Mediterranian with the help of a great team of mechanics at Marina Port Sozopol. And then a peak experience for me: all my three children, Tora, Jan and David has just joined me to be my mates during the first tour from Sozopol to Istanbul.
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6 maj 2018 – back in Sozopol, reviewing last year´s adventures

Eight months later I am now back in my boat in Sozopol, Bulgaria, to make everything ready for new sailing and new adventures this year. A new story begins. But first of all I want to share a short summary of last year´s river- and canal-trip which took me all the way from Lagarde, France, to Sozopol, Bulgaria. I started this summary already last autumn but it was never finished and published.

The journey was  both a very challenging and a very rewarding. It  went on during 3 1/2 months for 3300 km (= 2050 miles), through 113 locks and through eight countries (France, Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Serbia, Rumania and Bulgaria) and along the border of three more (Croatia, Moldavia and Ukraine). I travelled along three rivers (Rhine, Main and Donau) and also on canals in eastern France and between Main and Donau. In the end the sailing on the Black Sea took me 200 nM from the Donau delta down to Sozopol, Bulgaria. On the trip I had 20 different passengers/mates between the ages of 9 and 91 coming and going. The weather was good most of the time, at least for those of us who likes sun and heat, with only a few rainy days and one heat wave after another with over 30° C (86° F) with a maximum of 38° C (100° F). 

One of the best things with this trip has been sharing this adventure with so many great passengers/mates. First of all with my wife Joyce, who is not a boat person but still stayed with me on the boat, eight weeks the year before and  now for the first 9 weeks, all the way to Budapest. She certainly enjoyed many aspects of the trip but was not very happy with the discomfort of the boat and the heat many of the days. But without her the trip would never had taken place and I will be forever grateful to her for making it possible. It has also been wonderful to share this adventure with eight of my grandchildren, my son David, my sister Birgit, 91, and several friends. It has certainly been a challenge to organize all these changes of crew but with shared efforts it has worked out well to mutual satisfaction.

Good memories of the trip was the beauty of the landscape of the Vosgues in Alsace, in the Bavarian mountains along the river Main, high points along the Danube as the Austrian wine district of Wachau, the magnificant Iron Gate in Serbia/Rumania and the fascinating Danube delta with an abundance of pelicans and cormorants. And also many of the cultural sights and events, especially Strasbourg, Bamberg, Passau, Vienna, Bratislava and Budapest. And I will always remember how the dolphins greeted me welcome to the open sea when we left the Danube delta and entered the Black Sea after those many month´s confinement to rivers and canals since we left the Baltic in Travemünde in June 2016. 

The worst part of the trip and in a way the only bad part was the time after another recurring problem with the cooling system of the engine. On rivers and canals you are very much dependent on the engine, which has to work for hundreds of hours and is bound to fail sometimes one way or other. The problem of the cooling system followed me into the last minute, when we much to our frustration had to call for help to be able to come into the end station, the marina in Sozopol. And, of course, another dark time was when I realized that the boom for the mainsail was not delivered with the mast which I think now mostly was due to a mistake on my part.

Anyway, all problems has been solved and all the enjoyable moments of the trip prevail. I am so greatful for having done this trip. And I am actually also grateful that it is done! New adventures are waiting!

Sailing on the Black Sea to Sozopol, my winter harbor, Sept 6th – 9th

Stockholm, Sept 17th
So now we have come to the last chapter of the second year of this big adventure, a four day sailing on the Black Sea from Sulina to Sozopol, Bulgaria. The afternoon before we left Sulina we took a great tour to the outer part of the Donau delta in an open motor-boat. There is a vast shallow lake with Ukraine in the north and with many miles of reefs in the east, where the delta merges with the Black Sea. And there we saw an amazing sight: hundreds of pelicans and miles after miles of cormorants, we guessed it must have been 100 000.
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No good picture, I know, but believe me: on the distant reef are hundreds of pelicans and thousands of cormorants. 
There was also the wreck of a big boat, which had missed the entrance to Sulina and run into the shallow delta five years ago.
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So here we got the first glimpse of the Black Sea, waiting for us.
The next morning Lennart and I said good-bye to Anders, who were going home to Sweden.
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We then went by engine the last miles from the Sulina harbor out to the estuary with its big lighthouse. And just as we came close to the estuary we had an exciting thing happening: a whole bunch of dolphins came around our boat, playing and jumping, like they were saying: ”welcome out of the Donau into the Sea, here is freedom and great fun”.
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Soon after that we could raise our genua and start sailing southwards in the west-wind. What a great feeling to sail on the sea again after having spent six months on rivers and canals! I felt like a bird let out of its cage, letting the winds from the sea fill my lungs. Of course the rivers and canals had been a great adventure in itself, but in a way that has also just been the means to reach this goal: sailing on the sea, first the Black Sea and then the Mediterranean Sea, now soon within reach.
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We got a guest, taking a rest
This first day of sailing had to be a long one: the first harbor, Port Tomis in Constanta, is 80 nM away from Sulina, which can´t be done with my boat in just one day which meant that we had to sail also the night. Lennart and I took 3-hour-turns during the night. The wind had already during the afternoon turned to south, so reluctantly we had to take in the genua and go by engine, eventually with quite big waves against us. The sunset over the Rumanian land was magic and we had an almost full moon shining at us during the night before we had an even more magic sunrise out of the Black Sea. We met no other boats but saw at least six oil- and gasriggs out on the Black Sea with burning gasflames. As we had made good progress we decided not to go into Port Tomis, which we would have reached well before sunrise, but to go all the way to the next harbor, Mangalia. The wind had turned to the west again and we could make good speed with sail, supported by the engine. We arrived in the morning, after 104 nM of sailing with some help of the engine and tied up at the modern marina, unfortunately with no shower but with a good beach near the marina where we took a refreshing swim.
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As this now was the last Rumanian port before we were going into Bulgaria we had to check out from Rumania here. We didn´t think it should be that complicated as both Rumania and Bulgaria after all are members of the EU. But all the way we had been amazed of what a complicated procedure this is, the checking out and in, especially of Rumania. In Mangalia I first had to go to the harbor office for an extensive check of all my documents and the writing new ones. Then we had to go with the boat over to another part of the harbor to show the documents to the border-police, and then back to the marina. Then we had to go again the next morning to the borderpolice for a final check with one border-police and one customs officer before we were allowed to leave. In Sulina, where there also was a long procedure with harbor office and border police because I was changing the crew and had to get a new crew-list with the right stamps. There I asked the officers what was the reason for all these procedures, which they don´t have any of in all the EU-countries in the western part of Europe. The answer was that different countries have different rules. But later I had a more personal talk with a border police, who came to my boat because he wanted to give me a more revealing answer which he said he could not give when his colleagues were listening. His explanation was that Rumania for a long time up till 1989 had been a part of the Sovjet block and that that kind of spirit and fear unfortunately was still very much alive in Rumania, especially in the older generation, but that he hoped that that would change soon. He himself found all these procedures unnecessary and the fears unreasonable. After all, how big is really the risk, he questioned with good homour, that Swedes wanted to sneak into Rumania or smuggle muslims into the country.
Anyway, the next day we were on our way again and our goal was now Balchik, the first Bulgarian harbor, about 45 nM to the south and west. The wind was now from the south so we had to go by engine most of the day. After we passed the Bulgarian border there came a Bulgarian border-police boat to check us and remind us that we had to change our guest-flag from Rumanian to Bulgarian. And then came a new wonderful surprise: another big crowd of dolphins, many of them for a long time swimming and jumping just close to our boat. We were wondering if they maybe were attracted by the sound of the engine. They made us feel even more as a part of this big sea.

Here come the dolphins
All was not well, though, there were problems with the engine right up to the end. The temperature of the engine tended to go up close to overheating again. And there was another concern: the batteries didn´t load properly but showed a little under 12 V, even if my solar panel and my generator was loading them a lot. And suddenly the engine became really overheated so I had to turn it off. This was really frustrating as failure of the cooling system had persecuted me all summer. We did well all the same, because our course was now west for the last hours into Balchik, where we arrived just after sunset. Now we had to find a border police again to check in. It took quite a while to find them but then it was an easy procedure as it had been all the time in Bulgaria.
Then came the last day of the trip. Here I need to tell the story of the last day in some detail, which might be boring for those of you who are not that interested in the problems of engines in a sailboat so then, please, jump to the next paragraph. Trying to figure out the problem with the cooling system the next morning I found that the oil of the engine was low, which might have been part of the problem with overheating. The cooling water came OK from the exhaust pipe in the back and we decided to try the engine and go south. The goal of the year, Sozopol, was quite far, more than 60 nM, but still within reach, but we had also an alternative, Varna, a big harbor only 20 nM away where I also had got a good offer from a marina to store the boat during the winter. The wind forecast was more favorable this day with winds from south-east and east, which would make it possible to sail southwards. The cooling system was still shaky but suddenly it started to work perfectly again. We then decided to go all the way to Sozopol, even if it meant that we would arrive in the evening well after sunset. With good wind in the sail and with help of the engine we could make good speed. Then something unfortunate happened that I still can´t explain. I decided to turn off the main switch of the batteries to save the failing batteries so that they for sure would last long enough to serve the lanterns which we would need when we were going inte the Sozopol harbor in the dark. Maybe ten minutes after that the engine became overheated again! (Could it be that turning off the batteries also turned off a pump of the cooling system?) We once more had to turn the engine off and just go with the sail. That was no problem though, because the wind had increased considerably and we were making good speed even without the engine. The big problem was, though, that when the engine had cooled off and I tried to start the engine again it was dead, the starter didn´t work. I found that the separate battery of the starter had also low voltage for some mysterious reason, probably explaining the problem. So now we had to go into a foreign harbor in the dark, without engine and with low batteries, which I would never venture to do. The conclusion was: if the engine didn´t start we needed to get help to be towed into the harbor. I was glad to have Lennart as a mate this time, a very experienced sailor, stable and calm with no tendencies to panic, like myself. We saw on my electronic map that when we came near the harbor there was a big bay outside with shelter from the hard wind, where we would have time to take it easy, sailing back and forth and then have time to call for help to be towed into the harbor. The plan worked, it was pitch dark now, we came into the bay, saw the lights from the harbor and got good shelter from the wind. I then started to call channel 16, the emergency channel, on my VHF-radio. There was no answer whatsoever, though, maybe because the harbor people had more fun things to do on a Saturday night than listening to the radio. Then we tried 112, which is supposed to work for emergencies all over EU. Even there it was hard to get hold of anyone who could speak English but I eventually did and was promised help. After almost an hour of waiting and more calls to 112 we decided to make a try to go into the harbor by sail with the now very weak wind. Just then a rescue boat came and towed us into the harbor, where we could tie up the boat on a dock. It was now around 11 p.m. but the ordeal was over, we could relax,take a shower, get something to eat and get a good night´s sleep.
So all is well that ends well. Of course it felt like a failure to have to be towed the last couple of hundred meters inte the last harbor. At the same time I must say that the engine had done an extremely good job, taking me all the way from France to the Black Sea, working hundreds and hundreds of hours, on and on. So no wonder that it was tired now, I thought, needing rest and good professional care. Here we were in a very good marina with lots of good mechanics, specialized in Volvo Penta, the brand of my engine, and perfectly able to take care of the problems.
We spent two days in Sozopol, getting a permanent place for the boat for the winter in the water. The mecanics of the marina started already next day helping us with the battery problem and found that all three batteries was in bad shape and had to be exchanged. I spend a lot of time preparing the boat for the winter, packing and cleaning. But also enjoying the town of Sozopol, a very charming seaside resort, with a definite mediterranean feeling, great ocean views from high cliffs, an abundance of restaurant and a well preserved old center. From there Lennart went to see relatives in Bulgaria.
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Lennart leaving Joy
I took a bus to Istanbul and a flight from there to Stockholm. After 3 1/2 months on the boat it was certainly good to be home again.
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Last picture of captain of Joy at Sozopol Port Marina

The last ten days on the Donau

The last two weeks of the trip were so intense that I had no time and energy left for my blog. But now I can do it, sitting comfortably on my couch in Stockholm, after arriving yesterday on a plane from Istanbul, happily reuniting with Joyce, who has been waiting for me here for a month.
From Vidin, where we had checked in to Bulgaria, Anders and I had ten more days on the Donau before it merges with the Black Sea. The Donau had then become such a huge river that it often felt more like going on a huge lake than on a river. For a long time it is the border between Bulgaria and Rumania, mostly a rural and wild landscape, sometimes flat, sometimes hilly but with few villages or cities. Now and then it was a beaming birdlife and we saw pelicans, lots of cormorants and also some eagles, foreboding what we expected to come later in the delta. The weather was mostly hot with some days without any wind and the Donau lying smooth as a mirror.
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It was sometimes long between the harbors so we had to find a place to anchor the boat for the night or get the permission to tie up beside a barge which was anchored. One night when we had anchored behind an island in a shallow bay with shelter from the wind we had a challenging experience: when it was already dark the wind turned and grew quite strong straight onto the boat, the boat turning back and forth by the wind from one direction and the current from the other, making a strong pull on both the anchors. As the Donau now is so wide the wind can be quite strong and make big waves. We had a pretty turbulent night but the anchors did their job to keep the boat in place. By dawn we could take the anchors up and continue, now with big waves against us, a rocky trip which reminded us more of a windy trip on the Baltic than on a river.
In Ruse, the biggest Bulgarian city by the Donau, we made a two day stop in the nice marina to fill upp our storage of food, diesel and gas. There was also a Danish couple in their motorboat so we could enjoy talking in our exotic nordic languages. They spent their eighth summer on the rivers and canals of Europe, real veterans!
In Ruse we had passed all locks and low bridges so here was also our first chance to raise the mast and get rid of the big construction on deck. As the very helpful and nice harbormaster, Boyko, offered to assist me I also decided to do that. But this was really a challenge. Here were no special mast-cranes on a dock which we are used to at home. We had to use one of the ordinary huge harbor cranes and there were no dock, only a stony beach, so we had to park the boat outside the beach with anchor and ropes on land which we had to reach by my lifeboat. The crane first lifted the mast ashore so I could prepare it and eventually, after a long waiting when the crane had to do a lot of job for the harbor, it lifted the mast onto the boat. Then it was swinging and turning in ways that were hard to control, but with lots of help from Boyko we eventually managed to get the mast on place. This was quite a very stressful event, especially since it also was extremely hot,  95° F (35° C). Still: what a relief to have this done and the boat now prepared for the sailing on the Black Sea.
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Our crane
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The mast on the way 
But alas, still an important piece was missing: when I unpacked the mast I found that the boom to the mainsail was not there! I later found out that it was still at the marina in Travemünde, Germany, and by mistake had not been delivered with the mast. Of course I should have noticed that already in Vienna where the mast was delivered but I didn´t. Fortunately I have a jib (a front sail called genua) which is bigger than the mainsail so the sailing on the Black sea could still be done with just the jib, a little slower but still OK.

Ruse was a nice city with lots of boulevards and old houses (some restored, some in bad shape) and statues om one of its famous sons: the nobel laureate Elias Canetti, born in Ruse. We had a nice dinner there on a restaurant and the less nice experience to see on TV Bulgaria beat Sweden in an important soccer match.
When the Donau approaches the Black Sea it suddenly turns north, away from Bulgaria and wholly into Rumania. There were two big Rumanian harbor cities, Braila and Galati, where I for the first time in a year saw big cargo ships and not only barges, a sure sign that we were approaching the sea. The first one happened to be a big brother to my Joy:
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The landscape had now changed into more flat beaches where horses and cows were grazing.
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Joy with mast on a calm Donau
The last day we went all the way from the city of Galati. The Donau here became the border between Rumania and Ukraine (and for a short while even Moldavia).  Then the Donau was spreading out into its vast delta, where we took the the main branch where all the big ships were coming and going,  all the way to Sulina, the last port by the estuary where the Donau ends. This became the longest day of the whole trip, more than 12 hours. We had a gorgeous sunset
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and it was already dark when we arrived to Sulina, where my next mate, Lennart, was waiting for us and had found a place to tie up the boat. So there I was, at last, having left behind me all 2410 km of the Donau. What an adventure, what a challenge, and what a joy!
 But there was still one chapter left before the great adventure of this year would be finished: sailing on the Black Sea.
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Joy, the only sailboat in Sulina, Rumania.