Day 1 was epic, so we just passed out in our tents at 9 in the evening with aching muscles. The next morning was similar. Everything was damp, we had a wet kayak, sore and stiff muscles, we were shivering in B minor. But as soon as we got ready, broke camp and set out on water, all was shiny again. This pattern actually repeated itself every day: getting up, getting ready and setting out on water was difficult and chilly. But no later than ten minutes of paddling, and our upper bodies were working like clockwork and spirits were high again.
This morning we had strong north wind pushing us from behind. The wind was at around 25-30 kmh at ground (water) level already at 9 in the morning. It gave us a constant 2 kmh extra speed, but 1 m high waves in the same package. We had to adjust the direction of the kayak constantly with the paddle to keep the direction. We headed towards Kaliakra Cape, the tip of a narrow stretch of land with 70 m high vertical cliffs. The plan was to reach Kaliakra, make a sharp right turn, and paddle along and close to the coast in calm water protected from the wind by the high cliffs.
Pali heading towards Kaliakra in the distance.
But things did not go according to plan. We were already paddling for about 40 minutes with Kaliakra in the cross-hairs when Pali capsized. There was no time for pictures or video because we had our hands and mind busy trying to keep our kayak straight and us out of the water. We could not afford yet another one of us getting in trouble.
At first Pali was at 5 m distance from us, we were holding his kayak and kept still downwind of him, but the wind was blowing us faster than he could swim to reach us. We regrouped after a while, bu he could not get into his kayak. After some deliberations, I grabbed his kayak full of water, kept it close to mine and paddled with one hand on one side towards the shore. Pali was hanging on the stern of Barni’s kayak as he tried to paddle and tow him to the shore. It did not help that Pali was holding his paddle in the water. Barni was advancing some 10 cm with each stroke of the paddle while towing.
We finally reached Bolata bay after almost an hour of struggling with the sea. Fortunately both of our kayaks were stabilized with the load we had, but advancing and reaching the shore was extremely difficult and tiring. Once on the ground again, Pali dried all his gear and decided that he would push on and not quit.
Bolata Bay with Cape Kaliakra in the distance.
There is a clear freshwater stream running down a valley and into the Black Sea in Bolata Bay. It is extremely clear and cold. I will have to explore the springs feeding it in my next trip there.
After a few hours of firm ground, we regrouped and set off again. There was a 40-45 kmh wind now coming from the side, but we only had to endure it for 2.5 km until we reached the Cape, got around it and we were on the calm water again.
Hiding from the wind behind Kaliakra.
There is a huge cave 30-50 m high on the southern side of Kaliakra with bus-sized boulders in it.
As we passed the narrow section of the cape, springs started running down the cliff face every now and then with beautiful clear freshwater.
There were no more unexpected events this day. We were paddling in calm waters, relaxed and in high spirits. Some even tried out new paddling styles.
The next highlight was Dalboka mussels farm and restaurant. They grow their mussels at a huge farm at 500 m out on the sea and deliver it straight to a restaurant wedged in the rock face. It cannot get any fresher than that. We had the best seafood you can ever have.
Dalboka mussel farm and restaurant. They even have the menu in Romanian with sections entitled: Why we are here, For those who are not sure why there are here (non-seafood items) and similar. They are honest people with some honest food. We made another discovery on this day: two beers are more than enough for paddling. They make you feel rather liquid, which is not really productive if you try to get ahead in the water.
On the last leg of this day’s trip, we passed along golf courses next to the sea. Very weird to see perfectly trimmed grass besides the wild beaches. So we decided to desecrate one patch of green grass and set up camp on a golf course.
The idea was revolutionary, even Bolshevik, but the capitalist system retorted with the help of a sprinkler system installed in these patches of nice green turf. The sprinkler heads just come up and start sprinkling during the night, we found out. We had to settle for the rocky beach and spend the night next to our kayaks.
On this day we went from Rusalka to the Thracian Cliffs Golf Resort, covering a total of 24.8 km with an average moving speed of 5.8 kmh.