Sunday, August 28, 2011


At dock in "Tomis" marina in Constanta on the Black sea.

We are waiting for a few days to cross the Black sea to Istanbul Turkey for the sea to be a bit more friendly. 

Steven Dorin ( the fellow on the right) collected our locking fees at the last lock and offered his service to tour us around Constanta.
We took him up on his offer and he not only showed us around Constanta but told us a lot of history about Constanta and Romania.

One of our stops was the local shoe repair shop for Harold to have some work done on his sandal.

This is how to truly experience the culture.  

Checking into Romania

We checked into Romania in Cernavoda. This is also where we left the Danube and entered the "Danube Black Sea Canal" which is 64 km long with a lock on both ends.  We were at the canal ready to go through the first lock at 15.00 hr but could not lock through till the next morning 07.00 hr. So we anchored out and had a nice swim.

The monument on the left is approximately half way along the 64 km long canal.
It is to commemorate the building of the canal by the communist regime in power in Romania at that time.

The Canal was notorious as the site of labor camps in 1950s Communist Romania when, at any given time, several tens of thousands political prisoners worked on its excavation. The total number of people used as a workforce for the entire period is unknown, as is the number of people who died in the construction. Work was completed in 1984-1987, more than three decades after camps were disestablished.

It is not visible from this angle but part of the bottom of the monument was missing. We were told later the Gypsies had stolen some of the panels.

The last part of the Danube

We checked  out of Bulgaria in Silistra.  Right after we leave the dock we were in Romania and this is our last country along the Danube where we have to check into.

We saw wild horses grazing along the river bank as well as a gypsies family doing their laundry. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Early in the morning

We got into a routine of leaving early in the morning and after a couple of hours we stop to have a peaceful breakfast at anchor.

At anchor in Bulgaria

 We anchor out almost every night in Bulgaria as we can  not find too many marinas.
While at anchor in this particular place we met this fisherman who caught this large cat fish
He demonstrated his "fish call" devise which makes a "Whoop....Whoop" sound.

No matter how hard I try I can not make it work for me.

Belogradchik Bulgaria

In "Vidin"  we  checked into Bulgaria. 

 These are the rock formation in this area and are nominated for the "new" 7 wonders of the world.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

entering Bulgaria

Bulgaria on starboard and Romania on port side.
Lots of interesting photo opportunity as we travel down the Danube. 

The "Iron Gate" locks

Entering the Iron Gate locks.
These are the second last and the biggest locks in the Danube.

 We entered with two commercial boats (both  double wide)

Once in the lock the gate, which came up from the bottom, is closed.

When the water is let out of the first chamber a gate in front of the lock drops down and we had to move into the second chamber.

 When all the boats are moved into the second chamber the gate closes behind us and we are lowered the rest of the way.
The gates are operated with huge hydraulic cylinders.

The "Iron Gate"

Approaching the "Iron Gate" we came through a very picturesque section of the Danube.

Narrow passages and steep cliffs.

The almost strait walls obviously continued to go straight down as the depth finder showed over 200 feet of water under the boat at times.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Docked in Donji Milanovac

Once we reached Donji Milanovac we are lucky and can tie up to the barge that serves as the town dock. often the cruise boats use this and we would not be able to tie up here but we were informed that there would be no cruise boats stopping today.

Once we were docked we called "Goran" the only taxi driver in town who spoke English.  We had heard about Goran from a Swedish couple we had met in Belgrade.
  Goran drove us around to see the surrounding country side and what a wonderful tour we had.

 Our first stop.

A farmer and his wife collecting the hay that was dry and ready to be stored for winter use.
 At our second stop we met someone who just bought a piggy and he was taking him home on his scooter.
If you look close you can see the piggy's nose sticking out of the bag.
Goran took us to a friend of his "Dragoslov" who had just fired up the still and was making the local drink "Rakija" which is made from plumbs. And if you want a buzz this stuff REALLY works and you don't need to much either!!!!

 Harold is bold and samples the finished product.
 Next we tour Dragoslov's 10 hectare farm and see his cow who had twin's 
 Dragoslov also had some pigs.
 And he explained to us how they make "charcoal"  in this brick build  oven.
To finish off the tour Goran took us to his home where we met his wife "Bilgaana" who served refreshments and coffee on their veranda.
What a tour we had. THANK YOU GORAN!!!!!

On our way to Doji Milanovac

We lifted anchor in "Veliko Gradište" and wanted to get to "Donji Milanovac". The terrain we passed through is again very different from the previous day. Very rugged and narrow passages at times. When the lock and dam were build down river it filled the valleys between the mountain and the result is that in places we see over 150 feet deep water under our keel.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Serbia and Romania

About 5 hours after we left Belgrade we came to where Romania's boarder  was on our port side. Serbia was still on our starboard side and will be for one more day. The picture above is one of the first Romanian villages and is close to Banatska Palanka.
Shortly after we arrived at our anchorage (just off shore of Veliko Gradište) We took a dip in the Danube
Our anchorage as seen from the stern of Le rêve

And from the bow.

Monday, August 8, 2011

A week in Belgrade

 We watched these fisherman go by our boat every morning and evening.

They are using a "Gill" net about 5 to 6 feet square and jig it up and down in about 45 feet of water in the hopes that a fish will swim into the net.

By the looks of the fellow in the second picture they have pretty good success as he has a net full of fish.

We have been looking for warm weather.
Well guess what!!!! it is 37 deg as you can tell by the thermometer.

By the way this is in the back of the cockpit IN THE SHADE!!!!
What do you do when it is that warm!?!?
One thing is to get the dingy on the dock and, lift up the one side with the davit and work under the dingy in the shade.

By the way I discovered this new cleaning product which is unbelievable!!!! For all you boat owners out there it is a Italian made product called "Ma-Fra" and they have some for hull, inflatables, fenders, and seats.  It really is unbelievable!!! And 90 % biodegradable.

Joanne wanted me to add this picture!?!?

Bill was so excited about his new cleaning products he had to show the police how good it really was. He had just been up for a short time, as you can tell he had not even got dressed yet!!!!

The two police were doing a routine check because the night before we had a storm.
The lady police spoke English quite well and we found out she was born in Canada but went back to Serbia with her parents when she was 3 years old.

Different people have asked if we are on track with our trip.  Here is a little of where we have come from and where we plan to go.
We are in Belgrade Serbia and have come a total of 1800 km so far. We transited 66 locks which was time consuming. Tomorrow we will fly to Germany far a week to visit Christie, Andy, and Bo. Hopefully the German air traffic controllers will not go ahead with their threatened strike for tomorrow morning. once we get back on the 16th we will leave the next day and have 870 km left to go on the Danube and than 65 km on the canal that is a short cut to the Black sea. We still have 2 locks on the Danube and two on the Danube Black sea canal.  One of the two on the Danube is called the " Iron Gates" and lets us down 35 meters. This area of the Danube is supposed to be quite spectacular so we look forward to go through that. It also has many shallow spots so lets hope it does not get to dry in the next couple of weeks.
Once on the Black sea we will cross it in one stretch to Istanbul ( 350 km) than we have to cross the sea of Marmaris (275 km) and than we plan to go 360 km south in the Aegean sea to Kusadasi Turkey where we plan to leave the boat.  So all together we still have just over 1900 km to go.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Docked in Belgrade

 Anyone traveling the Danube and passing through Belgrade MUST stop at VODENICA.

Vodenica is a restaurant on the Save river just off the Danube.  They are known for their fish specialties. The restaurant is run by George and his Father and is a great place to dock. 

While we were in the restaurant this couple noticed that we were from Canada and that our home port is Midland.
Lidija has a brother living in Ajax and he has a boat in Midland!!!
Small world eh!
They came on board and we had a good time a nice visit

Belgrade by night. 

Monday, August 1, 2011

On rout to Belgrade

 I thought this was an interesting picture. There must be a lot of vegetables growing in this area especially carrots, as we saw people with a tumbler full of carrots.
The device (I call it a tumbler) was a large cylinder full of holes. They would back it into the water and rotate it to wash the carrots.  
The Castle is the "Petrovaradin" in Novi Sad Serbia. The flag is obviously the Serbian flag.

As we get closer to Belgrade the right side of the river has steep sand stone cliffs.