Sveti Vlas, Burgas Bay, Bulgaria: A quick stop in a Spanish-style resort

Photo: Sveti Vlas, Burgas Bay, Bulgaria. Credit: Lisa Borre.
Sea grass washes ashore on the beach in Sveti Vlas, Bulgaria. Photo by Lisa Borre.

Black Sea Logbook Entry

Date: 9/7/2010
Distance: 38 nm
Sailed from: Varna, Bulgaria
Lat: 42°42.3’N
Long: 27°46.1’E

We moored in the modern Dinevi Marina at the seaside resort of Sveti Vlas which appears to have sprung-up out of nowhere on a smaller scale and in the style of places we found along the Costa del Sol in Spain. Brand-new restaurants and apartment blocks sit on the southern shoulder of the Balkan Mountains. The development borders the marina basin which has plenty of space for visiting yachts, as well as day and weekly charter boats available. The resort was fairly empty during mid-week in September, but we could tell that it was a busy place in the high season.

We found a choice of eating options, all over-priced, within the marina community, passing-up Bulgarian, Spanish, Italian and even Armenian cuisine for a real change of pace: Chinese food. The experience reminded us of the times we made similar mistakes to the “when in Rome” creed while living aboard in Italy, Spain and Portugal. Perhaps we would have done better at the Armenian restaurant, but an annoying karaoke singer and visions of a large feast kept us away. Although pricey, we did enjoy an evening cocktail at the beach bar overlooking the Black Sea while waves gently washed into the shore and the only other patron chatted loudly (in English) on his cell phone. The sun set through hazy skies washing a golden light onto the docks. For a moment, it tricked our eyes, making us feel like we were in Spain again.

The next morning, we took advantage of the calm seas and lack of wind to poke around harbors in Burgas Bay. The anticipated September gale, known by hunters in Turkey as the “quail gale”, was now in the immediate forecast. We wanted to gather as much information as we could about several harbors for the updated cruising guide and to find a safe harbor before the wind picked-up. We covered nearly 40 miles and visited Nesebar, Pomorie and Burgas Yacht Club, as well as several smaller harbors and anchorages en route, arriving in the formerly restricted military harbor of Sozopol before 5:00 p.m. The marina attendants had heard the same forecast we did, and they moved us to a more protected slip on a floating pontoon with a finger pier and two tailed mooring lines so we could ride out the gale in relative comfort.