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Sailing Ukraine Summer 2007

By doina — last modified Sep 25, 2007 12:51 PM

Published: 2007-09-25 12:51:12
Countries: Ukraine

In July 2007, we entered Ukraine in Yalta, went up the west coast and went on to Roumania through the Danube. We found the formalities extremely "heavy" and the information about what is needed is intentionally confused so that it is virtually impossible to do it without an agent. In Yalta, the coast guards forbad us to set foot ashore until our formalities were completed, so that we had no choice but to hire an agent at 250 USD. In general the officials are rather unfriendly and I suspect they have made agreements with the local agents.

The very helpful manager of the marina in Sevastopol, confirmed that the intention is clearly to "keep it confusing in order to get money from you". It also took us a while to understand that smiling to people and being friendly is not really welcome. One agent said in their culture it was "undecent" to show unjustified happiness! The most irritating constraint being that you are being told in each harbour what your next stop is and it is forbidden to set foot ashore between two harbours. Furthermore, you have to stay 4 miles away from the coast on a large section of the south and west coasts.

Between Chernomorske and Odessa, we were not allowed to make a straight crossing. Instead, we had to follow the coast within 12 miles so as not to "leave the territorial waters". If you intend to cruise Ukraine in a normal way, visiting small villages and pretty bays, staying where you feel it is nice to do so and leaving when you want to; forget it.

There are still not many visiting yachts there, but those who come must be prepared to deal with a lot of nonsense. After a few weeks along that coast, they succeed in making you feel guilty of something... I still don't know what! There are some nice places to visit in and around Sevastopol and Odessa for instance, but the general feeling about this trip is not positive. I would certainly not recommend to visit Ukraine by boat. Take a plane, rent a car, or whatever, but stay away with your boat.

Robert Pottok, M/Y VIA VAI (Stentor 16)