Constanta (Port Tomis), Romania: An historic city in a lovely setting near the Danube Delta

Photo: Danube Delta near Constanta, Romania. Credit: Lisa Borre.
Pelicans in formation at the Danube Delta near Constanta, Romania. Photo by Lisa Borre.

Black Sea Logbook Entry

Date: 8/26/2010
Distance: 96 nm
Sailed from: Sulina, Romania
Lat: 44°10.5’N
Long: 28°39.7’E

The passage from Sulina was much longer than we expected, in part because we had to keep off the shoaling waters of the Danube Delta, but also because it is late enough in the season that we can barely keep up with the daily route planning and navigation as we make our final push toward Istanbul.

Arriving at night in Port Tomis is a bit tricky — the harbor lights are obscured by the bright city lights in the background. It didn’t help that one guidebook had the wrong GPS coordinate for the harbor entrance, and neither was up-to-date enough to show the extended breakwater and new location of the entrance. Lisa’s night vision kicked in just when we needed it, and a smaller German-flagged yacht we’d seen in Sulina followed us in.

We were relieved to find a modern marina with floating pontoons and a much more protected and secure harbor than what is described in previous guides. Only the border officials were on-hand, but when we went to check-in to the port, they couldn’t give us any information about where to tie-up, so we just picked an empty pontoon until the marina office opened the following day. They moved us to another pontoon with a security gate and easy access to town, another historic city on the Black Sea coast that is well worth a few days of exploring. Now that we’re back in Europe and not in a tiny outpost on the Danube Delta, we stocked-up on provisions.

Constanta is a large city with ancient history. A statue in the Port Tomis area reminds visitors that one of its main claims to fame is being the place where the Roman poet Ovid was exiled. We met-up with Cornel Ciucu ( who organized tours for participants in previous Black Sea rallies. We were tempted to take his Dracula tour to Transylvania and his tour inland to the historic capital of Bucharest, but our time was running short in order to complete our cruise on the Black Sea before the first gales of the season in early September. He very kindly organized a one-day trip to the ancient city of Histria, one of the largest Greco-Roman cities in what is modern-day Romania and one of the few significant archeological sites on the Black Sea where the ancient lines of the city can be observed. Many of the other ancient ports have more modern cities built atop them, but Histria’s port silted in and was abandoned in ancient times. Although this site was not his particular area of expertise, Cornel was the perfect guide for us. We spent an enjoyable day with him exploring the area around Constanta.