No frills update

Submitted by jono on 05 Apr 2019.

A few days into the Black Sea and a wealth of experiences lived already. Time and energy only allowing for this no frills update:

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Bosphorus pt 2. Escort from the coastguard and Edhem: a good wind and the current less fierce where the Strait is a little wider. Out and into the Black Sea. For the next 800 miles it will be "land on my right" (which is the great title from a for me inspiring book!)

Take a break at Riva which is an easy stop in theory. Then get trashed by small but insistent Black Sea shorebreak. Am lucky to escape without breakage. Enlist help of a couple of locals for successful attempt tighter into protected corner of bay. Good lesson to be wary. Bumpy going all the way to Şile, which offers a major port entrance.

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Next 3 days stuck at Şile. 20 to 30 knots cross-on (NE) wind creating a pretty ugly sea. Temperatures barely above zero. That winter break was a good move. Black Sea water much colder than in the Sea of Marmara. By day 3 conditions that *could* be sailed but would be brutal on the board (and there is a landing problem in these conditions). The board has to last. Play the long game.

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A dribble of wind but the direction favourable. Time to lay some distance down. Put in the hours and make 23nm, to Seyrek, a small town in a pretty setting, though in terms of amenities definitely 'basic'. Am going to sleep on beach but then a monster truck shows up. End up with a sofa and food (though decline the vodka). Thanks to Volcan and Canberk.

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Good wind forecast PM. Flat sea when I start. Lots of dolphins, including some of a very sweet mini variety. Lunch stop with tea from flask before conditions turn good, and then put in a quick 20nm. Swell building but push on some more hoping for an ambitious 27nm more to get to a decent landing. Wind fails towards end of day and clear I won't make it. Bale out option is a gamble on a river mouth. Nothing else on offer. Chunky swell. Wind now too light for a safe beach landing. Now nearing river. See a trawler taking the entrance very cautiously before nipping in. Just have to go for it: will be worse in failing light. To get in is a run. Waves are two metres and tightly spaced, breaking across entrance. Approach. Abort at last moment, rounding up to port and just climb over a set. Force board back round immediately after for a second go. Horrendously unstable: wind at sea level here almost zero. Diagonal across to the starboard side of entrance. Force a gybe. Diagonal it back across to port. Snatch a glimpse to stern and there's the next breaking set. Adjust course to pointing straight, in readiness for the push from behind. Am lifted, pointed downhill, and surge forward, but the follow through of whitewater doesn't happen, because here the wave has reformed as a swell, meaning that I'm in. That was close!

The trawlermen have witnessed the gamble, and it earns me dinner, a bed, and celebrity status for the stay here.

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Wait for afternoon to sail, when the swell has dropped. 7nm to the port takes 3 hours. Waiting for me there is Sitki from Piri Reis restaurant who has everything arranged and organised. Great food company and Raki (have been tee-total for a while but make a 'when in Rome...' decision on this occasion).

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Straight liner to Eregli, taking me waaay offshore on this concave bend of coastline. Surprise some people on a boat at a natural gas drilling platform. Wind disappears after 12nm so paddle the last 5nm. Dolphins all day. Coastguard boat intercept @2nm. Welcome committee with full DJ setup at Eregli surf club. Helped ashore to "An Englishman in New York". Everything arranged. Place to stay in hotel. Strange being regarded as deserving of so much attention and kindness. Endless sea to celebrity in a few short metres.

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Day off. Bike ride with a couple of the guys! Talk at a school (kids and teachers you made it such a real pleasure). Tea with the mayor. A great day - overly condensed here, but sleep beckons.

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Tomorrow: headwind and not much of it, but visa days ticking down, so need to crack on.

  • Bosphorus last of the bridges
    Bosphorus last of the bridges
  • Edhem Dirvana fab guy
    Edhem Dirvana fab guy
  • Black Sea victim
    Black Sea victim
  • New fin lost a few centimetres already
    New fin lost a few centimetres already
  • Şile silly weather
    Şile silly weather
  • That river mouth that might not look much from here you'd be in a real mess swimming about out there
    That river mouth that might not look much from here you'd be in a real mess swimming about out there
  • School talk Eregli
    School talk Eregli
  • Tea stop on bike ride
    Tea stop on bike ride
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