A cruise in the Danube delta

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July 7th 2012
Published: July 10th 2012
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We woke up quite early in order to find a boat to take us out to the Danube delta. Things didn't however go as smoothly as we had thought. When we were walking out of the hotel one of the receptionists called us back, there had been an error when we extended our stay from one to two days the night before, and they didn't actually have room for us for one more night. So we packed our stuff, left it in their baggage room (a cleaning closet) and went to find us a new hotel. The hotel had given us the name of another hotel, and luckily they had a room for us. The price was actually cheaper and the bed was better, so we were content with the trade. We then went to find ourselves a boat.

When we started walking down the pier the guys who we talked to yesterday about a tour saw us and waved us over. They had found a Romanian group of people (two families, so four adults and three children) willing to share a tour with us, so we got the tour for a cheaper price. I feel we should have haggled a little, we could probably had gotten 25% of the price off, but everything went in such a hurry that we payed the price they asked. And even though we might have paid too much, the trip was still worth it!

The earlier mentioned hurry also led to us geting out on the Danube in less that 10 minutes from the start. First it even felt a little bit cold, and we were thinking if we should have brought more clothes with us. This was not needed, we got a sunny place to sit where the temperature was very comfortable, and it actually stayed between 25 and 30 degrees all day out on the water. On land it was much warmer, probably over 35, so it was a very good way to spend the day also in that sense. We did a lot of bird watching, but a lot of the time we just enjoyed the sun deck of the boat.

We started down the Sulina channel but changed to the smaller channels as soon as it was possible. The big channels had stone sides, probably in order to keep down the erosion which was clearly affecting the smaller channels. There was a lot of people fishing and camping all over the area, and a lot of boats driving full speed through the channels. There didn't seem to be any restrictions regarding speed or waves, strange when you think about this being one of the most important bird areas in Europe.

There were lots and lot of birds. We saw white storks, gray herons, purple herons, egrets, cormorants, geese, terns, gulls, hawks, coots, (if you are really interested, google or wikipedia!) and all kind of small water birds. I saw one swiming pelican and we saw a lot of flying pelicans, but only on a distance. We also saw kingfishers, but they were much to quick to photograph, at least with my camera which turned out to be a little slow for flying birds. Twice we saw snakes swimming, once an adder and once a unidentified snake, probably one of the very poisonous Romanian snakes which can kill you within half an hour. We also heard some animal sounds and rumishing in the bushes that sounded like a wild boar, but here we got no visual so it might have been a normal pig.

In the middle of day our boat stopped for a lunch break at a town called Mila 23. Mila apparently refers to nautic miles from the coast. When arriving our captain didn't brake in time and accidentially rammed another boat, breaking its bathing ladder and giving it a mark in the back corner. Our boat was unharmed, it was an old metal boat so it seemed quite durable, although we at one point had motor problems and drifted until we got stucked in the mud. This was no problem, once the captain was ready with the motor he just drove loose.

Our ticket included the lunch which consisted of fish soup, and fried fish with polenta, both very good. Especially the fish soup there was too much of, close to 2 liters of liquid and in addition to this the fish meat, fins and heads used when cooking the soup on a separate plate. But I guess the house cats (there was a lot of them) got well fed once we were finished.

The tour took around 10 hours. When we got back we moved our luggage to the new hotel, and went for dinner, again not really worth mentioning. The new hotel was at the shore of a lake, and we managed to spot a really nice bench at the lake shore where we sat until late at night discussing and looking at the local teenagers walking home from the city center.

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