Black Sea Logbook Entry
Distance: 29 nm
Sailed from: Yeniyay
Lat: 41° 01.9’N
Long: 40° 30.9’E
Minutes after stepping ashore in Rize’s fishing harbor surrounded by tidy new boathouses, Lisa was handed a cell phone. “Hello, Welcome to Rize!” said the mystery man. He continued in perfect English, “Is there anything you need?”
Lisa replied, “No, everything is just fine.”
“I’ll be there in 15 minutes,” he said. The voice on the call was Hasan Tecimer, a retired local businessman, the son of a well-known fisherman from Rize and the current owner of the boathouse where Gyatso was moored.
David remained onboard to finish writing up his notes from the harbor surveys we had done that day while Lisa sat with members of Hasan’s extended family and neighbors in front of the boathouses which they use like summer cottages. They had taken Kuma, the family fishing boat out during the day, and Hasan’s sister was busily preparing the day’s catch for dinner while serving the rest of us juicy watermelon slices.
Once again, our travel angels were looking out for us today. Upon arriving in Rize, we made a swing through the commercial harbor where our guidebook indicates we would find a place to moor for the night. The book also mentions a yacht harbor on the east side of town that was under construction in 2001. With plenty of daylight left, we thought we should investigate it, too. On the way, we noticed a nice new breakwater and fishing harbor next to the commercial harbor. We made a swing through it, too, just in case the yacht harbor did not pan out.
As we have experienced many times on the Black Sea, people on the shore of the fishing harbor began to wave us in to a place we could moor. We waved our thanks but indicated that we were moving on. When we arrived back in the same harbor an hour later, we were relieved that they were still there and that the invitation was still good. Within minutes, we had picked up a laid mooring and Gyatso was tied to the shore in 15′ of clear water.
When Hasan arrived, David came ashore, and we explained that we had gone to check the status of the yacht harbor which we found in no better shape than it had been in 2001 — the beginnings of a breakwater and that’s all. We showed them our guidebook which had a photo of the planned harbor which they found very amusing. We explained that we try to use designated yacht harbors where available which is why we declined their invitation the first time.
Before we knew it, we were sitting around the dinner table inside their boathouse and eating the day’s catch: a small Black Sea fish dredged in coarsely ground cornmeal and fried in oil. This was accompanied with a tomato and cucumber salad, lots of fresh bread, raki and Efes beer. Over dinner we learned that Hasan and his good friend and business partner of 40 years ran a company that supplied the United Nations with necessary equipment and supplies for disaster relief and that they have offices in Orlando, Florida. We lingered after dinner in the comfort of the boathouse while outside it began to pour rain. After such a wonderful evening, we decided that a good fishing harbor on the Black Sea is better than a yacht harbor any day.
The heavy rain and thunderstorms from the previous night gave way to clearer skies the following day, so we spent the morning sightseeing in Rize with our host Hasan’s brother-in-law, Hasan. We hosted them for breakfast aboard Gyatso, and then they kindly offered to show us some of the sights. Our first stop was the Tea Institute which sits atop one of the hills in town and is set amidst botanical gardens.
On the way back down the hill into town, we stopped off at Hasan’s woodworking shop where he showed us the ship models he builds and the elaborate wooden and metal sculptures his friend makes. Next, we wound our way up the steep road to the kale (castle) which overlooks the ancient part of the city. Although what stands on the site today is a re-furbished Genoese castle and fortress walls, it is also believed to be the site of the ancient Greek acropolis. We admired the views of the Black Sea coastline below before deciding that we better take advantage of the good weather while it lasted since more rain was in the forecast for later that day. We returned to the small fishing harbor and departed for Pazar shortly after noon with Rinky, our dinghy in tow instead of on davits for the day.