When it gets to this point with spring commissioning onboard Gyatso, David and I look at the “to do” list and prioritize based on one simple criteria: “Is it good enough to go sailing?” We just need to service two winches, stow some gear and return a borrowed bicycle for the answer to this question to be, “Yes!”
Later today, we’re planning to leave Marmaris Yacht Marina where we’ve been berthed for the last few weeks and move to an anchorage in Marmaris Bay to make an early departure Saturday morning. Gyatso will be sailing west to the Greek Islands. Our first planned stop is Symi, Greece. We hope to arrive in time to watch the super moon rise. Continue reading Preparing to Set Sail from Marmaris→
The Black Sea cruising guide is now available for purchase from the RCC Pilotage Foundation and Imray. We will be launching the book at a briefing about the Black Sea in Marmaris, Turkey this Saturday, 28 April at 10:00 AM in the Dining Room Annex at Marmaris Yacht Marina. The timing couldn’t be better. We are back aboard Gyatso in Marmaris preparing for a seasonal cruise in the Med. Martin Walker, our editor at the RCCPF, will be hand-carrying a copy of the book from England when he returns to his boat in Marmaris tomorrow. Continue reading The Black Sea book launch scheduled for Saturday 28 April in Marmaris, Turkey→
Today is the first time since we arrived in Turkey over a week ago that I can find a quiet moment to post an update about our long-awaited reunion with Gyatso. It’s been a busy week of travel and a mad dash to prepare our Tayana 37 for launching. It also has been a week filled with reunions with old friends. We are afloat at Marmaris Yacht Marina enjoying a sunny, calm day — the kind of Sunday that begs you to slow down, take it easy and enjoy being on the water. That’s exactly what we plan to do. Continue reading Return to Gyatso in Marmaris, Turkey→
We’re in the final countdown to departure for some seasonal cruising in the Med after nearly 18 months on dry land. We hauled out and stored Gyatso at the end of the 2010 cruising season and returned home to write a cruising guide to the Black Sea. The book is scheduled for release later this month, and we’re now looking forward to our return to Marmaris, Turkey where we will begin this year’s cruise. Continue reading Countdown to Departure for Seasonal Cruising in the Med→
The Black Sea cruising guide that we wrote is scheduled for release later this month. The guide is being published in a hard-cover book format with updated harbor plans and color photos as a joint venture between the RCC Pilotage Foundation and Imray. It replaces the text-only e-pilot we published with the RCCPF last year and provides sailing directions for all six countries surrounding the Black Sea. The guide is based on previously published and unpublished cruising notes as well as information we gathered while sailing around the Black Sea in 2010. For our personal account of sailing on the Black Sea, see the Black Sea section of the Gyatso website.
Gyatso sailed down the Bosphorus today, returning to Istanbul 111 days after setting out on a voyage around the Black Sea. We visited five of the six countries during our 2,118 mile counter-clockwise circumnavigation, including Turkey, Georgia, the Ukraine, Romania and Bulgaria. Russian officials could not give us adequate assurances regarding clearance procedures, so we made a 330 mile offshore passage from Georgia to the Crimean Peninsula in the Ukraine to avoid entering Russian waters. It was a real disappointment not to be able to visit the site of the next winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
We met friendly people and were welcomed with warm hospitality along the way — the only exception was encountering the occasional Soviet-style government officials in Ukraine and in Georgia. Contrary to published guides about the Black Sea, we found it teaming with life. Dolphins and porpoises made regular appearances in our bow wave. We also met with many experts and scientists about the environmental conditions and were encouraged to learn of some signs of improvement to this highly degraded ecosystem. Continue reading Istanbul, Turkey: Black Sea Circumnavigation Completed→
We cleared out of Bulgaria in Tsarevo, arriving in Igneada, Turkey well before sunset. Having heard mixed reviews about whether Turkish authorities would allow us to remain in the harbor or require us to proceed to Istanbul for clearance formalities, we were pleasantly surprised by the friendliness of the officials who stopped by in a coast guard rib shortly after we anchored. The explained what we already knew: “Igneada is no longer a port of entry.” They asked for our passports and ship’s papers and gave us permission to stay in the harbor. In true Turkish fashion, one of the young men asked if we needed any supplies, “Water or bread? A weather report?” David answered, “We’re okay on supplies, but we miss olives!” They returned a short while later with our ship’s papers and a jar of black olives — a warm welcome back to Turkey. Continue reading Igneada, Turkey: Our final stop on the Black Sea and a warm welcome back to Turkey→
Shortly after arriving in the large but empty commercial harbor of Hopa, we had the Turkish Coast Guard stop by to check our papers and inquire of our plans. They notified the appropriate authorities on our behalf and arranged for the port management to fill our water tank. They also briefed us on the requirements for clearing out of Turkey and entering Georgia, a passage we planned to make on Sunday, 18 July, rather than tomorrow in hopes that the weather would improve. This is one of the rainiest parts of the Black Sea region, and the forecast was for rain and thunderstorms tonight and tomorrow. Continue reading Hopa, Turkey: An empty commercial port and a trucker’s border town→
The clouds began to build in the late afternoon, but the weather remained fair for our passage to Pazar today. We spotted a small waterspout to seaward, but it collapsed quickly into a rain cloud. Nevertheless, we were relieved once again to find a very good harbor at Pazar. We tied to the end of the fisherman’s quay and were greeted by the captain of the big fishing trawler nearby. He asked if we needed anything, so we asked if there was any water to fill our tank. Something must have been lost in the Turkish translation because he disappeared and returned with a dozen drinking water bottles. It was not exactly what we wanted, but a generous gift which we gladly accepted. Continue reading Pazar, Turkey: A double rainbow, cooler temperatures and another pleasant dinner ashore→
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?”