Updated Plan: Revised
Today I arrived at Hopa – last port of Turkey large enough to have a coastguard and customs presence. Tomorrow I sign out and set off for the border with Georgia, now 10 miles to the north-east. More near-zero headwinds and a messy sea meant that today’s 8nm were tough. Clawing away with the techniques and resolve developed over the last 2 years is at times painful but delivers miles and ultimately satisfaction. Each day a little battle. Strategy for a few days ahead.
If tomorrow delivers an unlikely 18nm I will reach the port city of Batumi.
My updated plan of a few months back had been to sail the Georgian coastline to the border with Russia. To do so would require border crossing permission from the self-declared autonomous region of Abkhazia.
I now realise that there had never been any realistic hope of this permission being granted. The long-running Georgia-Abkhazia conflict has no end in sight and the border is naturally the area of maximum tension. All efforts rightly go to keeping the situation calm and predictable. The last thing they need is a windsurfer with a mysterious barrel sailing their way…
Thanks to British Embassy in Georgia and yacht/ship clearance specialist Evgeniy Ijevskiy in Sochi for helping me see sense on this.
So today the decision was made to shift to Updated Plan: Revised. The cycling part along EuroVelo routes back to north Norway remains unchanged. But to reach the start of the cycling part I will now take a ferry from Batumi (Georgia) to Odessa (Ukraine), and then sail to Romania then Bulgaria.
I’m very happy with the plan now I’ve decided upon it and (if it doesn’t all go wrong in the detail) look forward to also seeing the west side of the Black Sea.
Sun came out today. Will be sad to say goodbye to Turkey.