Log

Submitted by jono on 16 Jul 2019.

Serbia goes flat in the north, and big agriculture extends for miles in all directions. Easy cycling, though less inspiring than the mountains, and typically a headwind comes in the afternoons. Regular little towns and occasional fruit trees offer resupply opportunities. The bigger towns are interesting and enjoyable, and far enough apart that it makes sense to linger a while. At Kikinda, for example, the football club are kind enough to let me use their showers, and it is fun to pass by bike shop, bakery, and town square cafes.

Submitted by jono on 07 Jul 2019.

EuroVelo weaves about either side of the what was the Iron Curtain. There is great variety. The route mostly keeps away from major through routes but after the big hydro dam that is a border crossing point into Romania there is a 10k horror section with heavy trucks inches away... Mostly though, its very well done and ideal for an 'adventure bike', with a nice mix of surfaces and very little traffic. Scenery is frequently stunning. The Danube section is popular with anglers. The Romanian side is a disgrace of junk left by angler campers.

Submitted by jono on 30 Jun 2019.

These butterflies are from the hill in Bulgaria where I hid from the border police.

The morning surrounded by nature opened my heart. It brought back memories of hot summer days, grasshopper catching, and the deep sheen of burnet moths. I realised how grateful I am for a childhood rich in empty time playing in nature. The parental effort for this education: my mum nearby, reading a book in the sun.

Submitted by jono on 23 Jun 2019.

Early days of the cycle back through Europe are unfolding with a meandering route. So far I have meandered south-west for about 400km. The Greek Aegean coast is not a direct route to Norway, but friends are here, and it allows a few days whilst a blast of summer heat cooks the land.

I am staying with Thomas, Stavroula and family from Stonero at Lake Volvi: enjoying fine company, home cooking, and some very fun foil windsurfing.

Submitted by jono on 14 Jun 2019.

Lots to tell (Norwegians, please be sure to read to the end):

Expedition board

The board stays proudly displayed in Surf Shop Burgas. I had been thinking of sending it back to the UK, but the National Maritime Museum turned down my offer, and I was never 100% easy with the carbon footprint involved with sending it back to sit in a shed somewhere anyway. Better all round this way and there is even a chance it will sail again.

Submitted by jono on 12 Jun 2019.

I've nothing really planned for Bulgaria. Summer conditions. Easy sailing. No scheduled stops before 'the end'. Enough experience to know I'll complete this last bit, and would do so Monty Python 'Black Knight' style if required... The final days will perhaps be uneventful; sailed with a sense of 'seen it all before'. Accumulated fatigue having numbed mind as well as body.

Submitted by jono on 10 Jun 2019.

I have reached Burgas, Bulgaria. The windsurf part of windsurf round Europe is completed. The last days have had added significance. Sharing here the last major headland of the journey - Cape Emine.

Body is tired. Arms and fingers say the time is right to hang up the harness, and stow the paddle, for a while. Feeling tearfully grateful to life, our planet, all the many many people who have supported this unsupported voyage.

Submitted by jono on 08 Jun 2019.

After 2 years sailing and tweaking, this is how my expedition gear is set up on the final days (sniff) of the maritime stage. Each section is followed by pictures that explain each point. Click on images for captions.

Submitted by jono on 04 Jun 2019.

Sulina to Danube Delta

A rough sail. Strong onshore wind. Very shallow water. First part going upwind and offshore but never deep enough water to be properly 'out back'. 2m+ waves increasingly breaking. As coast bends and course becomes more open decide to crash in and stay inshore until tip of 7nm long sand spit. Daggerboard creaking and jammed requires swim to retract. Very hectic. Take a few tumbles from white water sideswipes (a little explanation here).

Submitted by jono on 28 May 2019.

Thanks to lots of help from Max in Odessa, official clearance was received to sail up into the Danube delta to complete customs and immigration procedures at the port of Vylkove.

Odessa to Vylkove takes three approach days of 25nm, 20nm, 20nm (all into the wind). Long days, but enjoyable, and with a nice expedition feel because this is a very empty coastline indeed. Sensible decision making and adequate water supply is needed.