Where the Danube meets the Black Sea.
Sulina, as I wrote yesterday, is connected to the Black Sea by an extension of the channel of a length of about 10 kilometres. It is along this part of the main channel and the small ones on the side that all the cruises in the Danube Delta leaving from Sulina are going. There is also the chance to choose among different path for very good price. All of this if you are in Sulina in high season that it means according to locals, in July and in August. Even June is partially low season. During first half of May, if you come here, you’re seen as a Martian. This means that I had very few choices and that, furthermore, since I was the only one on the boat, I had to pay much more. However, since I have no idea about my next visit in the Danube Delta and due also to the lack of any other alternative, I catch the first sailor available for the trip and I asked him for a 3 hours excursion. In order to make simple to follow me in my story, I enclose a small map of the path followed by the boat. Unfortunately even today is not a great day for what it regards the weather, sky is covered by a veil of clouds and especially on the boat is quite cold. The sailor speaks a bit english and in the beginning he starts explaining me things about the sad story of Sulina. I don’t want to bother you with all details but basically the key-word of his tale was “kaputt”. Just to give you some example: “that was a factory of fish preserves but now is kaputt”, “that was a big hotel but now is kaputt”, “that was a big market but now is kaputt”. I understand that Sulina had surely better days and that now is quite depressed. Also tourism seems not to help to much because as I said above according to my guide, it works only two months per year: July and August. People live thanks to fishing but they do not sell the fish here but in Tulcea, Galați or even Bucharest were they’re able to get better price up to three times higher. I’m seriously very concerned about the situation of local people but of course my main aim today is to see some bird since Danube delta, especially during Springtime, should host a lot of them. We proceed in the direction of the Black Sea along the 10 kilometres of channel from Sulina to the sea. On the last piece of land, there are is a weather station and an outpost of the army. The border is very close. Both of them are surrounded by quite aggressive dogs. On the other side there is a shipwreck. It belongs to a former Georgian ship called Turgut Usta. It should be there from 2008 but the sailor is not sure about it. The channel is formed by two parallel lines of stones and standing on the boat I can see the strong waves of the Black Sea on the other side. Finally we are offshore but the small boat where we are is not suitable for this kind of waters. We can’t go further. We stay there for few minutes almost at mercy of the waves and then we go back.
Birds of the delta.
So far I didn’t mention any bird. To be honest so far I didn’t see many of them but yes, there was something but not as much as I expected. On the way to the Black Sea, we pass by a place where on the other side of the channel stones there was some pelicans. But they were so far that barely it was possible to recognise them to the naked eye. There were also cormorants on the rocks, seagulls and some smaller one. Things were going better on the way back, especially when the boat went through a little opening in the channel rocks, allowing us to enter in a sort of lagoon. In this part of the delta, there’s almost no other boats. My guide explains me that here fishing is forbidden and of course we are also out of the commercial traffic. This part is more enjoyable: calm and quiet with more birds to see. Pelicans are for sure the ones that I would like to see better. There is one flying over my head. It is a good sign. On the horizon there is a flock of big white birds. We try to get closer with low engine. When we are quite close I can see from the zoom of my camera that they are swans not pelicans. However is beautiful to see them taking off from the waters all together. After 10 minutes more, I’m finally able to see the pelicans. There is a small group made of three specimens. They are quietly sliding on the Danube waters. The stream is moving us closer so we don’t have almost use the engine and this is perfect. We stay there birdwatching for some minute then the pelicans decide that for today is enough and they take off. It is also time to get back to Sulina.
A long afternoon in Sulina.
Beside the cruise on the delta, there is basically nothing to do in Sulina so I had to find out a way to spend the afternoon. I tried to visit some of the churches but they were all closed. Walking in the more quiet area of Sulina, with dogs around it brought to my mind the idea of Pripyat, the small abandoned town close to Chernobyl. I’ve not been there (yet) and in the end I guess is much worst but the feeling of a town that is “Kaputt” as my guide would say, is absolutely strong. However even in such kind of place, nowadays you can find an unpretentious café where to drink a coffee or a beer so, this became my refuge for the afternoon. I spent there two or three hours. Then finally arrived the time of the dinner and for it I’ve gone to the small restaurant identified yesterday. It was what I was expecting in this kind of town. Simple service, grilled fish and a relaxing atmosphere. Tomorrow I will return to the ‘civilization’ but in order to do it, I have to wake up very early. Ferry leaves at 7:00 AM.
Before to go, I leave you the gallery.