CANOEING ON THE BLACK SEA
We strongly advise against canoeing on the Black Sea. An open canoe is a river going vessel and is not designed for the open sea. Though the Black Sea is relatively small it can be extremely dangerous. A far better option is to use a sea kayak, something that is actually designed for the job! There are many sea kayak rental groups along the Bulgarian and Romanian coastline with tour guides who can help you out.
We strongly advise against canoeing on the Black Sea but below we answer questions that may still be of use if you wish to use a sea kayak or canoe in exceptionally good weather.
What maps did you use?
We used Cartographia maps from their Discover and Explore series. These are just your standard road/tourist maps but they were accurate and on a good scale (1: 200 000 / 1cm to 2kms). Ours were for the 'Bulgarian & Romanian Coast' and 'Turkey, Cyprus, Turkish Riviera'.
Do you need a permit?
No, as long as you legally cross any borders.
How did you monitor the weather?
We had an i-phone with us which did loads of helpful stuff via the internet. We used the standard weather forecasting websites (BBC e.t.c.) but also found extremely useful an app called wind finder. This app gives you very specific locations of all beaches along the coast. It tells you wave speed, wave height and swell swell height and is very detailed. We also looked at this, the poseidon system.
What are the border formalities?
Before reaching a border you must stop at the nearest port and declare your intentions to the authorities. If you plan to cross a border you will be stamped out of one country and must not land in the country again until you have crossed the border into the next. There you must go to the nearest port with your passport and be stamped in. The Black Sea borders are very well watched and you should never try to cross without making people aware before hand.
Canoe storage when stopping briefly?
Take a long bike lock. When leaving the canoe we would always lock it to something using a long bike lock and took our paddles with us. Whenever we stopped anywhere we locked the canoe and took both of our large dry bags with us. That meant the canoe was left alone with only food in it, easily replaced.
Canoe storage at night?
Along the coast you can find wild camping spots. We did plenty of wild camping and simply slept with the canoe rolled over next to our tent. We could also store a few things under it at night time to keep them dry, sometimes using a bike lock to hold everything safely together.
Canoe storage in cities?
Our advice is NOT to lock the canoe and leave it by the sea while you stay in a hotel. Talk to the hotel and ask them about storage, ask in the tourist info, but for safety in the city be sure to find somewhere. We often used the friendly people on couchsurfing.org or warmshowers.org – online communities set up by travellers to help travellers. If your in need of a friend to help you out abroad, these are the websites to use.
Do I need a water purifier?
Sea water is salt water so water purification tablets will not help. Some sort of desalination is what you need. We simply made sure we had a lot of water storage and always kept it well topped up when ever we passed towns.
Have more questions?
Simply get in touch through my contact page.
Following this advice?
These FAQ pages are intended to answer your common questions but reflect out-dated knowledge from our experiences in 2013. Things may be different today. James Warner Smith and Nathan Wilkins do not take responsibility for anybody that follows our advice without seeking further, professional guidance and cannot be held responsible for any loss, damage, injury or death that occurs as a result of following this information. Please be cautious, act responsibly and canoe safely.