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Black Sea Voyage 2009

By Sue Richards last modified Apr 13, 2010 10:34 AM

Published: 2010-04-13 10:34:10
Countries: Georgia

On July 1, 2009, we continued our voyage in the Black Sea.

We checked out at the Turkish port of Hopa and sailed 18 miles to the port of Batumi. While crossing the border I called Coast Guard and reported that I am crossing the Georgian border. He answered in English, but I couldn’t understand due to a bad VHF signal.

Arrival in Georgia

About 8 miles from the port of Batumi, the Coast Guard boat arrived and 4 members jumped on board. They wrote in our position in a document which I had to sign and continued with me to the port of Batumi.

In the port I had to take all my documents and I was summoned before the Coast Guard commander, who was surrounded by 15 officers. Some of them didn’t even have uniforms. I was accused of breaking the Georgian Sea Act, as we sailed closer than 6 miles from shore. The commander told me that our yacht, Snow White, will be detained in a port as a deposit and the proceeding of the offense. It will take about 5 days and we can be fined up to 35,000 USD. The crew will be free and we can freely move around Georgia. Of course, I protested that we didn’t come in as terrorists or spies, but as tourists who want to explore Georgia and meet its inhabitants. I insisted that the whole thing must be resolved immediately. The master then called to some higher commanders and luckily for us they immediately decided to release us. Their argument was that we are not a commercial, but a tourist boat. And in addition to that he mentioned that we were the first yacht to arrive in Batumi since 2005.

So everything turned out well and the coast guards led us to the local yacht harbour. Among a number of fishing boats converted into sightseeing boats for tourists, there was only one 6m long yacht. As we stayed in this port our boat had to be guarded by the Coast Guard. There was no electricity, water was for free. Also we didn’t have to pay any fees, so we stayed a full 14 days for free.

Travelling around Georgia

We spent 2 weeks travelling around Georgia and Armenia which turned out to be very interesting destinations. Generally everything was very cheap. Beer € 0.50, dinner 4 EUR, diesel 0.70 EUR.

Across the country we communicated in Russian, English is spoken only in major cities by the younger generation.

From Batumi we continued directly to Russia's Sochi, because the other Georgian port of Poti was sold to and the former yacht club was shut down. There is only one major commercial port.

Check in and check out in Batumi was without problems and we didn’t have to pay anything.

Sincerely Captain Miro and SY SNOW WHITE
Czech Republic
www.snehurka-yacht.cz

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