The Bulgarian Danube km 845 to 375

Here in Vidin we clear. We can also stay overnight at this customs pontoon. The time for customs clearance has stopped Tony. I had to go up a long staircase, talk to the nice customs officer, answer some questions about where from and where to, let me show the way to the internet cafe and exchange office, down the stairs again and was back on board after 11 1/2 minutes.

The hull is a customs pontoon for commercial shipping. A quiet berth looks different. What we didn't know at that time: the 10 Euro fee we paid for the overnight stay would have entitled us to stay free at any official pontoon or other berth for one year.

Stalactites at the customs building

The ferry seems to consist of two welded together ships. 

All of Bulgaria makes a very green impression.

At this place (Danube kilometre 704) the Bulgarian national hero Hristo Botev landed to recapture his homeland from the Ottomans.

Once again we spend the night alongside a professional ship.

In the restaurant the swallows catch away the annoying mosquitoes. 

Wonderful sunset atmosphere at dinner.

The push trains are getting bigger and bigger and the traffic stronger.

Border and water police can often be seen. They always greet us nicely. Once they came alongside to take a picture and then went on in gratitude.

A loading point.

Very modern trains alternate with the oldest technology.

There are thousands of breeding caves on the embankment.

The very modern local public transport runs with short cycle times and is very cheap.

This work on the Romanian side even stinks against the wind.

Young people bathing, an everyday picture.

Once again a captain of a professional ship allows us to spend the night at his side. Donaukilometer 597, Nikopol, a nice little town.

Miles of beaches, only a few anglers can be seen from time to time.

The many islands don't make it easy to find the right fairway.

Typical village scene on the Romanian side.

The Bulgarian one doesn't look much different.

Looks like a ship's graveyard.

Another nuclear power plant.

Queuing up at the port authority of Ruse, only to realize after one hour that this is only necessary for professional skippers. I just need to see the port captain.

In the "Yachtclub" Ruse, where we spent some very nice days. For weeks again a shower and a washing machine.

Party at the yacht club. There are water sportsmen from 6 countries represented.

Pyce is Ruse and Tracay Passau. The two clubs have a partnership. The picture's in the clubhouse.

Still lies our mast. Evening atmosphere with a beer on a neighbouring boat.

One of these cranes in the background will put up our mast. We pay 25 Euros for about an hour crane and man.

This ferry takes workers across the harbour basin several times a day.

The marina Ruse

Ruse is a beautiful town.

The Theatre

Trolleybuses, old but environmentally friendly technology.

The harbour master's old boat. Today he drives a rubber dinghy with a cabin.

Beautiful old buildings everywhere

Culture is very important in Ruse

Finally the mast is up. Only one bridge with 17m clearance height. Nevertheless, driving through it becomes tense.

One last nice evening at the friendly Ruse.

The next day wind force 8 on the Danube. In places the waves are 1 1/2 meters high (estimated from the highest to the lowest point of a wave valley).

The spring floods leave their mark.

The slipcases are getting more adventurous.

A workboat of the Danube Commission at km 437, here is a beautiful anchor bay on the left side of the river which can hardly be seen. It doesn't look like it, but exactly at the kilometre sign it goes in with 7m water depth. On the Bulgarian side, Toutrakan can already be seen a few kilometres away.

I visit a German sailing couple who had also anchored here and waved us into the bay. The water is 30 degrees and not very clean.

Always one of us has to look for the next buoy with binoculars.

The river is wide and peaceful, about 4 to 5 km/hour current but often the fairway is difficult to find.

The teams get water.

Driftwood is collected and loaded.

An oil loading station.

This ferry is moved by a tiny boat.

In Silistra we leave the beautiful Bulgaria and transfer to Romania. Shortly after, the delta begins.

I had a nice experience with the Bulgarian border official. It was a closet of a man and he seemed dark at first sight. When I asked him in Bulgarian about the way to the port authority, he beamed all over my face, patted me on the shoulder and took me there.