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(Note: these pages describe events which took place during May-September 2003, they are kept here as an archive.)
Welcome to Charlie and John's Online Diary!
11 diary entries.
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Day: 59
Location: Tulcea (take 2)
Date: Sunday September 28th, 2003 05:53 PM
DONE IT! It just about sank in that this was the end when the ferry carrying our reception party overtook us on the Delta the day before yesterday. Now I keep feeling that we're staying still for too long and have to get a move on. Today we travelled back up through the Delta on that same ferry, after a chaotic boat loading and even more chaotic unloading. Now (another) night of celebration in Tulcea and back to Britain on Tuesday. Flying back will take us four hours; three of those effectively along the river. It is amazing to think that we have crossed Europe, from Western Germany to the Black Sea, without going near a combustion engine. I now have a new plan: all seven continents (one down) each by a different mode of transport. Kite-sledding across Antarctica is the only definite - suggestions for the other five to charlie@rowingthedanube.org.uk . Finally, thanks to all who have made donations, and those who have wished us well, and those who have been so amazingly friendly all the way along. You have all (along with the otters and beavers) combined to make this the experience of a lifetime. C
Day: 59
Location: Tulcea
Date: Sunday September 28th, 2003 03:43 PM
We rowed into Sulina two days ago with huge grins on our faces! We had been singing and laughing for the last 5 km we were so happy (the unique experience of frog fishing had helped with our high spirits). We were received by a mob of brothers and sisters, family and friends taking photographs and spraying us with champagne... It had been a great journey. We have been celebrating since. Yesterday we rowed right out into the sea until we could only see sky in the distant horizon. It seemed very odd after rowing in essentialy one dimension for two months... It was lovely to have friends and family at the end; the warm reception fitted so well with our experiences down the whole river of kindness and generosity. Now its time to part with the river and the daily rowing that we have become so used to and return to the real world; we have already struggled to find a safe temporary home for our boat. The whole journey has been completely worthwhile. We have had a great time and have also raised a significant amount of money for charity! J.
Day: 57
Location: Sulina
Date: Friday September 26th, 2003 05:56 PM
Mission accomplished! John and Charlie have arrived safely in Sulina at the end of their 2586 km voyage. Celebrations are underway with family and friends.
Day: 55
Location: Tulcea
Date: Wednesday September 24th, 2003 02:19 PM
Only two days left on the water and we plan to savour them as much as possible... that is until people ask us to start doing it every year! Seriously though, there has been a lot of excitement here about organising an anual event of rowing or at least travelling between Ulm and Tulcea; it looks like we might have started a trend. We met two guys yesterday who plan to set up something along these lines and who also managed to extend our destination: we no longer plan to finish in Sulina, but a small island a few km off the coast; formed from the silt deposits flowing from 15 countries it is the youngest land in Europe and also the most international. A fitting end to our journey! J.
Day: 55
Location: Tulcea
Date: Wednesday September 24th, 2003 02:03 PM
We are now at the 'Gateway to the Delta' and have just been presented with a medallion by the Mayor of Tulcea. Only 70km left; it really feels like we are finished. And we've just seen an amazing BBC wildlife video about the Delta and the UNESCO biosphere reserve. This really has helped make us feel this has all been worthwhile - you can help too by making a donation to the WWF (and/or WaterAid)via the 'donate' page. The sun has been shining continuously for the last week or so, meaning that rowing has been really quite pleasant. Having said that a considerable headwind on the last 100km or so straight into Tulcea built up bow-breaking waves just to make sure we don't take anything for granted. Now into the delta proper, with two whole days to appreciate it. this is the one part of the 2600kms where it is possible to get lost... C
Day: 51
Location: Braila
Date: Saturday September 20th, 2003 02:17 PM
In the last few days we have had exceptional weather allowing us to get two days ahead of schedule. We will spend one resting in a city called Galati tomorrow and spend the other exploring the Danube Delta on the way to Sulina - the end of our journey. Apart from rowing we have also: beaten the locals in a small village at pool (amazing when you know how bad I am at it); had an argument with (yet more) Romanian border police - the most difficult yet; camped (by mistake) right next to a group of otters or beavers, giving us quite a fright as we were cooking dinner. We are thoroughly enjoying our last week on the water! J.
Day: 48
Location: Silistra
Date: Wednesday September 17th, 2003 09:35 AM
Sun Sun Sun!! (Thanks Roxana). Rowing 75km yesterday seemed very easy in comparison with the last five days of nasty weather. As usual Charlie is amusing himself with others misfortune; perhaps I should let him row the last 400km given that I've rowed most of the rest! I never fully appreciated how much one uses ones little toe when rowing... I'm sure it will not be a problem. Although we have been rowing along the border of Romania for the last two weeks, we have only been into the country once as there are very few (almost none) towns on that bank of the river. I'm looking forward to turning north and visiting Romania properly now and eventually meeting up with some old friends. I have enjoyed Bulgaria (in an indoors way), but I'm not sure I will ever get used to the shaking heads. Just over a week of rowing left before returning to normality; the London underground is going to seem like an even less elegant way to travel after these two months! J.
Day: 48
Location: Silistra
Date: Wednesday September 17th, 2003 09:00 AM
Just about to leave Bulgaria and finally some sun. Looks like the last 400 kms aren't going to be as bad as they might have been. In fact yesterday was a record day with 75km rowed so we are well on schedule for a family finish-line reception at Sulina in just 9 days time. Having said that John has bashed his toe badly so I may be rowing those 400km single handed. He is now hobbling around Silistra looking for an internet cafe having got fed up with following me. C
Day: 46
Location: Rousse
Date: Monday September 15th, 2003 08:51 AM
Still raining. has been since entering Bulgaria. And we're both just getting over stomach bugs so progress is slow. Still, considerable current at points so we should be able to catch up. Communicating with Bulgarians is virtually impossible: not only do they use a different alphabet (boffin John can guess a bit from maths so we figure it's like greek); they also shake their heads for yes and nod for no. It's like attempting to tap your tummy and rub your head just trying to say yes and no. Just 11 more days - a week ago 1000km seemed like a piece of cake, but now with this incessant rain and wind the 500k we've got left seems like a hell of a struggle. C
Day: 43
Location: Nikopol
Date: Friday September 12th, 2003 03:28 PM
The weather has very definitely changed. On leaving Belgrade it was sometimes cold and sometimes windy. Now it is just wet. Very wet. The last two mornings we've woken up with the boat overflowing with rainwater. Rowing in this, as you can inmagine, isn't much fun. We are slightly ahead of ourselves (we passed the last dam at the Iron Gates so there is a slight current now) so we have given up for today and have just had a hot shower. Much needed; usually we just swim in the river. C
Day: 43
Location: Vidin
Date: Friday September 12th, 2003 03:25 PM
[From September 8th] We are relaxing in our first Bulgarian city. During the last week we passed through the Iron Gates gorge which is magnificent. We would cross huge lakes formed by the big dam, suffering the big waves and zero current, and then channel through small, steep sided gorges leading on to other lakes. Over 100km of this is quite spectacular! Today we sadly left Serbia. We stopped for breakfast in the last Serbian town and eventually the locals at the bar (even before 7:30 in morning) found out that we were leaving and insisted on buying us two rounds of slivovic (plum brandy). They are convinced that is is good for the stomach and muscles - after sunsequently rowing 75km I'm not entirely sure it helped, but the cheeriness and friendliness of these people certainly did. We have started what seems like the final stage of this journey; having found some current again the Black Sea seems closer than ever - I'm not sure if I ever want to get there though. J.
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Last updated: September 12 2003