Danube Sailing after leaving Bulgaria, Serbia on one side and Romania on the other.

White Limestone cliffs along the Danube. The trees are all re-forestation and many are considered "invasive" ... being where they dont belong. The government is trying to plant back the original species ... but it is a huge project and not at the top of the list in these economic times.

June 8, 2012 …The Danube is a lot wider here than up closer to its headwaters like we’ve seen in Germany and Austria.   The captain says this is the Golden Depth … not too high, not too low.    So we make it under the bridges easily and dont hit the bottom.

Like a "Mile Marker" It's a Kilometer marker ... We are 966 km from where the Danube dumps into the Black Sea.

There are few bridges here … we go many miles between bridges … perhaps a measure of the relative prosperity … more in the West, less in the East… where Communism was.

Some facts from the Captain’s Nautical talk.

The ship is a little longer than a football field.

If built today, it would cost about $30 million Euros

The River Princess was born in 2001

Our Captain was born in 1967… Both in the Netherlands.

His mother and father were captains.   He grew up on a river ship.

He has been captaining the River Princess for seven years.

His work schedule is 4 weeks on, 2 weeks off.

He has a home in Germany and also Budapest, where his wife is from.

He is a “European” comfortable to live and work anywhere in Europe.When going through locks, the captain leaves his control room and moves to an auxiliary control station at the side where he can look over and see the inches of clearance.

River Princess has just been renovated….Uniworld renovates all their ships every 4 years.

2 1100 horsepower Duetz diesel engines … They consume about 105 gallons of diesel fuel per hour at full throttle.   Each powers a rotatable prop.   Those rotatable props steer the ship.   There are no rudders.   A joy stick controls the propellers … No conventional steering wheel.

The marker system on the rivers of Europe is opposite of the US: … “Red-Right-Returning,” which I learned in the US Navy.


Iron Gate Lock and Hydro project1964 – 1972   

We just went thru the first of the “Iron Gate” locks.   See photo.  These locks are a lot wider than the ones up river and in France.  These will take a lot wider ship or barges doubled up.

A Yugoslavian and Romanian project embarked on by their dictators at that time.  It created a reservoir that inundated towns and villages 100 kilometers up river.  25,000 people had to be re-located.    New towns are called New_______ … New Moldova etc.

This church on the (formerly) treacherous part of the Danube is home of the patron saint of sailors and fishermen.

A Cliff Rock Carving of King Decebalos, who defeated the Roman invaders and kept this area for the original Serbian tribes for 40 more years. Unfortunately for them, the Romans came back with superior forces and conquered this area and made the Danube the Northern boundary of the Roman Empire.

The Iron Gate project doubled each countries hydroelectric output.   Two thousand MegaWatts, with  6 hydro turbines for Yugoslavia (Now Serbia) & 6 hydro turbines for Romania.The project was one of the largest in the world.  The lock has two stages, each of which raise the boat about 45 feet.      That 90 feet of elevation takes out many dangerous rapids and sand bars.   What used to take 4 days with a lot of danger and lost cargo  & ships and lives … now is a gentle sail of only a few hours.


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