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August 2009 - Ukraine, Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey, USA

USA | Chicago | Christopher and Mary's House | Birthday #57

August 28, 2009

We had a fun birthday celebration for Grandma on the 25th. I turned 57 years young. Today we drove to Minnesota to stay with Pat, Nicci and Josie. Mary, Chris and Maddie, Justin and Chris will arrive next week for a Busy Fun Weekend.

USA | Chicago | Christopher and Mary's House |Josie

USA | Chicago | Christopher and Mary's House |Maddie and Grandma getting acquainted

August 23, 2009

Hi everyone, We had a good trip to Chicago on British Airways Tuesday. I liked having my own TV with plenty of movies and shows to pick from. Okay food and we actually slept part of the way. We are having a great time catching up on Grandparent time. Madison is an absolute little doll. She is a great baby, lots of smiles and rarely cries. She has a routine of sleep, eat, play, sleep, eat, play... She likes to talk and blow bubbles then laugh some more. Best of all at three months she goes down about 8:30 for the night and wakes up around 8:30 the next morning.

USA | Chicago | Christopher and Mary's House |St. Patrick's Church | Madison's Baptism

USA | Chicago | Christopher and Mary's House |St. Patrick's Church | Madison's Baptism

USA | Chicago | Christopher and Mary's House |St. Patrick's Church | Madison's Baptism

USA | Chicago | Christopher and Mary's House |St. Patrick's Church | Madison's Baptism

Today on Al's and my 34th wedding anniversary and Madison Mary's baptism. Pat, Nicci, and Josie arrived from Minnesota on Wednesday night. Pat worked out of the Chicago office Thursday and Friday. So Grandma and Grandpa have had a balancing act between both granddaughters. Josie is 2.5 now so is quite a talker and best of all a singer. She loves to sing and dance around the room. She has quite a repertoire. I don't think she always knows the words she's singing but she buts in the syllables and accent the way the word is said. She drags grandma to the basement to see "the Badger". Chris has some large bronze statues in his Guy room one of which is the Wisconsin Buckie Badger. Josie thinksit's her friend and she hugs and kisses him. Then we go to a man taller than she is, walking his hunting dog and she tries to take the leash away and let's him know it's her dog. When she refers to "the man" we all know who she's talking about. I think the bronze horse is her favorite and she climbs on it's back for a ride. Her favorite book right now is "Pinkalicious" and wants everyone to read it too her. Josie "read" it to Madison the other day. She is quite the storyteller lots of expression and keeps the storyline in tack. Sharing all her favorite grownups with Madison takes some getting use to and we have to watch carefully that she doesn't try to take Maddie to play. There did I get enough bragging time in about my wonderful little girls?:-)

Chris and Justin came out to Lake Forest from the city on Friday. Things are coming together for their big day less than a month away. It's fun to watch the grownup kids together. They're good friends and even though 6-7 hours apart they find time to be together. The latest is taking Justin and Chris to the Minnesota State Fair next Sunday. Everyone will be in town for Chris and Justin's wedding shower. Pat, Nicci, Mary and Chris have been attending together for years and are excited to show Chris and Justin "the ropes". (Bull bites, fried cheese curds, biggest pop at Cub Food stand, biggest hog...)

Al and I will spend a few more days here in Chicago enjoying Maddie without so many people around. We'll go to Minnesota by Friday as we are babysitting Josie while mom and dad go to a wedding. Then on Saturday we have Chris and Justin's shower at Aunt Connie's house. We are kept busy busy. Love and God Bless Sally and Al

August 14, 2009

Hi everyone, We arrived at Marinturk City Port Marina yesterday. We had a great sailing day from Igneada, Turkey. Our heading was perfect for the wind and seaconditions. We were heading SW and we had N-NE winds with 1-2m waves. We were happyto not be heading into the seas or rocking and rolling in them. The only other real excitement for the day was the dead pig that we sailed by:-( We sailed for 8 hours and only motored 2 hours early in the day and another upon arrival at the Bosphorus. We happily anchored in Poyrog fishing harbor around 4:30.

Turkey | Bosphorus | Istanbul

Turkey | Bosphorus | Istanbul

We didn't realize how fast the trip down the Bosphorus would be.

Turkey | Bosphorus | Asian side of Istanbul train station

Turkey | Bosphorus | Asian side of Istanbul | ferry landing and train station

We arrived in Pendik this morning in 3.5 hours. We had 1.5-4 kts of current with us. After greeting our friends Steve and Pam we hopped a bus and then a Sea Bus into European side of Istanbul to complete Turkish entry formalities. We were able to get our Transit Log, get our Harbormaster fee and our health stamp but will go today to Customs and see Passport Police on the Asian side of Istanbul. Our boat is on this side so the Harbormaster said we had to go for clearance here. We had a nice visit with our friends, catching up on our summer adventures. Eirene left this morning for the Aegean so we have no excuses about getting to work on Artemis. She needs lots of cleaning both inside and out. Al also wants to do some varnishing before we fly home Tuesday. Hope to see you soon. Love and God Bless Sally and Al

August 11, 2009

Hi everyone, We are back in Turkey tonight. August 9 spent a night in Varna, Bulgaria rafted off the Yacht Club quay. We met some fun cruisers. We stayed last night in Sozopol, Bulgaria and took on fuel. Today We checked out of Bulgaria and EU in a new exit port, Tsarevo (Michurin). The overly helpful custom agent lifted our lazy line as we left the mooring and it wrapped around our prop. Al got our the SeaBreathe to dive down but another yachtsman dove in and swam over. He wasn't able to free dive and unwrap the prop but finally used the Sea Breathe and quickly set us free.

This afternoon and had a great sail to Igneada, Turkey, a small port on the European side of the Black Sea. We have about 63 nm to go to the Bosphorus tomorrow. Then onThursday we will be at Pendik Marina on the Sea of Marmara about 15 nm from GoldenHorn Istanbul. We need to get a new Turkish transit log and get our passports stamped back into Turkey before we fly home on Tues. Aug. 18. We've had some nicesailing the last few days and some sloppy 2m seas with not enough wind to hold the sails out. But in all our voyage south back to Istanbul has been good. We've met some new cruisers along the way and shared experiences. Always fun to network.

Now it's time to clean the boat up and make it ready for our departure. Our friends on "Eriene" Pam and Steve are in Pendik now so we are looking forward to a reunion and a chance to swap tails. We are excited to be coming home for Justin and Chris' wedding Sept. 19, Mary and Chris baby Madison's baptism August 23 and Josie is expecting Grandma to teach her colors to her while home. I have just the song to teach her to have fun with learning them. Hope to see many of you soon either at the Couples Shower at Connie's house, the wedding in Chicago or both. Love and God Bless Sally and Al

August 6, 2009

Hi everyone, We went to the big Market in Odessa to provision before leaving Ukraine. We left Odessa after clearing customs and immigration at 5 AM Wednesday, August 5. We arrived safe and sound in Mangalia about 3PM this afternoon. No wind yesterday but a 1.5 current against us. We only averaged 4.5-5 kts all day. We didn't see anything different until after midnight. Full moon and quiet seas most of the night. The dolphins came to play earlier in the day. Seas started picking up by 3AM but still no consistent winds. I motor/sailed (6-7kts) for an hour around 1AM and then again around 3 but finally put the sails away around 4 and got Al up. The seas continued to rise but still no consistent winds over 5kts until just before we arrived and of course it was blowing 20+ when we were bring the boat in. All went well. The harbormaster was there to greet us and another cruiser to help tie lines. Now we're just tired. Not going anywhere tomorrow. Looks like 1.5 meter seas. We're planning one stop in Bulgaria before heading back to Istanbul.

Love and God Bless Sally and Al

August 4, 2009

Hi everyone, We had a wonderful time in the Crimea region of Ukraine.

August 1, 2009

Ukraine | Black Sea | Crimea |Yalta | Alupka Palace

Ukraine | Black Sea | Crimea |Yalta | Alupka Palace |

Ukraine | Black Sea | Crimea |Yalta | Alupka Palace | gardens and Black Sea

We stayed three nights in Yalta and took trips during the day. The highlight of Yalta is the palaces. We thought Alupka Palace and gardens were the most beautiful.

Ukraine | Black Sea | Crimea |Yalta | Livadia Palace

Ukraine | Black Sea | Crimea |Yalta | Livadia Palace| WWII meetings

Ukraine | Black Sea | Crimea |Yalta | Livadia Palace| WWII meeting

Ukraine | Black Sea | Crimea |Yalta | Livadia Palace| garden courtyard

The Livadia Palace was the most interesting to us as this is where Roosevelt, Stalin, and Churchill met to discuss the fate of Germany after World War II. The US delegation stayed in this palace. The seacoast in the Crimea reminds us of where we stay in Turkey as the mountains rise up all along the coast. It's quite beautiful. We drove into the mountains to see Uchan-Su the highest waterfall in Europe only to discover a disappointing "trickle" of water flowing. I guess you have to see it in the spring.

August 2, 2009 Sevastopol

Ukraine | Black Sea |Crimea Region| Sevetopol

Ukraine | Black Sea |Crimea Region| Sevetopol

Ukraine | Black Sea |Crimea Region| Sevetopol

Ukraine | Black Sea |Crimea Region| Sevetopol

August 2 On Sunday we drove to Sevastopol. The highlight of Sevastopol is the Sevastopol Panorama Museum. What an amazing sight. The artists created a gigantic 360 degree life size model recreating the Battle of Sevastopal fought June 1855. The foreground is a life size diorama and the background is painted. It is so well done it's difficult to tell where the models end and the painting begin. We also visited the Black Sea Fleet Museum and saw the fleet in the harbor. Until 2017 Russia and Ukraine will continue to share this port.

August 3, 2009 Balaclava

Ukraine | Crimea | Balaclava | Soviet Nuclear Submarine Repair Station | entrance into hillside

Ukraine | Crimea | Balaclava | Soviet Nuclear Submarine Repair Station | Russian/Ukraine Fleet

Ukraine | Crimea | Balaclava | Soviet Nuclear Submarine Repair Station

August 3 we drove to Balaclava and visited the Soviet Nuclear Submarine Repair Station. The back of the harbor dips into acave opening up into an underground "harbor" in the hillside. This repair station was kept secret and American satellites never detected it. It wasn't until the mid 90's that it was revealed and it's now a museum. Balaclava is also the site of the famous battle written about in Tennyson's poem about the Charge of the Light Brigade. (British against Russian 1854) The British command to advance was a huge mistake and the Light Brigade of 673 calverymen were slaughtered.

Ukraine | Black Sea | Crimea Region| Bakhchisari | Khan Palace

August 4 we left Yalta early and drove the 70 km mountain road through the Yalta Mountain Forest Preserve to Bakhchisarai. What a road! It wound through gorgeous degree. It was nearly impossible to see around the next bend yet the Ukraines came speeding along taking up the whole road.

Ukraine | Black Sea | Crimea Region| Bakhchisari | Khan Palace

In Bakhchisarai we visted Khan Palace. This city is the home of the Crimean Tatars. After WWII Stalin deported the Tatars to Siberia and Uzbekistan and nearly half of the population died the first year. Tatars were given permission to return to Crimea in 1989 but serious reparations did not occur until 1995. Russian and Ukrainians continue to argue over the Crimean region and both resent the renewed Muslim presence. Ukraine has allowed Crimea to keep an autonomous status. They have their own parliament, a separate constitution and flag. Many signs are written in Russian rather than Ukrainian.

In Ukraine the police stand on the roadside and wave cars over with a black/white striped stick. We were hauled over 3 times yesterday. The first was routine, the second we passed on a solid line. (we were not aware as everyone was passing) But the third stop was the worst. We had an unusual entrance onto the highway that is like doing a U turn. For 20 feet there were stripes and then two lanes to the right. Well evidently you are not suppose to merge into the lanes on the right until after the striped area. They wanted $100 cash. We called our car rental and he told us to pay $40 or the police would send in a report against the car for $100 and we'd have to pay from our deposit. So after digging around in wallets we came up with 250 Ukrainian (about $30) and he accepted it. They wanted the cash and they didn't want Al showing his money where passing cars could see. They had quite a scam going. We saw 5 cars get pulled over while we were stopped. The locals know to just pay them something and move on. We arrived after dark so drove around a bit before we could locate the marina.

We are making plans to leave Ukraine and our friends on Gemini and start heading back to Istanbul. We plan to do an overnight (36 hours to Varna, Bulgaria or perhaps Mangalia, Romania. It all depends on the weather and our speed. We fly out of Istanbul for Chicago on August 18 so we have time to stop along the way. Love and God Bless Sally and Al


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