Black Sea Logbook Entry
Distance: 57 nm
Sailed from: Balaklava, Ukraine
Lat: 45° 11.5’N
Long: 33° 22.7’E
One trick for finding a good sailing breeze is to take on a full load of diesel fuel which is exactly what we did at the convenient fuel dock in Balaklava, the first we had seen on the Black Sea since leaving Istanbul. We then motored in calm seas the short distance to Sevastapol for a quick “drop by” to see the harbor entrances there before raising the main, rolling out the Yankee and having a lovely sail the rest of the way in fair winds and gentle following seas. With a coastal current, we were making a decent 6.5 to 7.5 knots considering the amount of algae and barnacles beginning to accumulate on our hull. We anchored next to our new friends on Makani who had sailed from Sevastopol that day.
Anchoring in the open bay off Yevpatoria reminded us of the resort of Feodosia on the other side of the Crimean Peninsula, only this time we could actually step ashore. In fact, we had to go ashore to get clearance for our passage to Odessa because the officials in Yalta are not allowed to clear yachts beyond the autonomous region of the Crimea. We had more luck than the German yacht we were traveling in company with but mainly because the coast guard officer they called in to help translate for us had spent a year on an exchange program in California. He even had a friendly, laid back Californian way about him — perhaps too friendly. He asked us which ports we wanted to visit, and wrongly thinking that we should request permission for all major ports we might visit, he received permission for the entire list. All of his good work was undone by another official later on who then made what should have been a simple entry to Odessa more complicated than it need be. Not knowing this at the time, we spent the day in the crowded resort town.
A stroll along Yevpatoria’s waterfront promenade takes you past St. Nicholas cathedral, Dzhuma-Dzhami Mosque which is the largest mosque in the Ukraine built in 1552, and an 18th Century Jewish synogogue, all in the space of one kilometer. In our guidebooks, we read about the diverse cultures which have gravitated to this seaside community which became a major health resort for children during Soviet times. Today, mostly Ukrainian and Russian families flock to shores of the Black Sea here. We stayed onboard after dark both nights that we visited but could see people enjoying the carnival-like promenade which really came alive in the evenings.