Sulina, Romania: A trip up the Danube

Photo: Sulina, Romania on the Danube delta. Credit: Lisa Borre.
Gyatso moored upstream from a freighter on the Danube River in Sulina, Romania. Photo by Lisa Borre.

Black Sea Logbook Entry

Date: 8/24/2010
Distance: 105 nm
Sailed from: Odessa, Ukraine
Lat: 45°09.4’N
Long: 29°30.2’E

After sailing overnight from Odessa, we entered the Danube River Delta at Sulina to clear into Romania. Even on a calm day like the one we had, a big swell piles up at the mouth of the Danube where brown river water, having traveled thousands of miles through Europe, mixes with the blue-green water of the Black Sea. We tied up for two nights along the cement quay and moments later, the harbormaster arrived with border officials and asked David to come ashore for clearance procedures. After our dealings with officials in the Ukraine, Lisa was surprised when David returned less than 30 minutes later and talked about how courteous and professional the officials were. All ships entering this branch of the Danube must stop and clear-in at Sulina before continuing upstream.

No visit to the Danube is complete without a trip upriver. Rather than battling the currents in Gyatso, we opted for the catamaran ferry to Tulcea, returning by fast ferry in the late afternoon for a glorious day of birdwatching and sightseeing in the Danube Delta. Although we had strong winds forecast the following day, we decided to set sail for Constanta which meant for a rough departure through standing waves as we entered the Black Sea again. The shipwrecks to either side of the entrance serve as a reminder of the brutal winter storms in this heavily traveled corridor between the Danube and the Bosphorus. It also meant fast sailing well offshore of the shifting sands of the low-lying, scenic coast.