Thursday, May 25, 2017

Ukrainian Skippers--Really??

The operation of the human mind (at least my mind) is a puzzle.  I was reading this NYTimes piece this morning, which describes how richer people can hire boats and skippers to smuggle them into Europe:
"The family of six had paid about $96,000 to travel from Afghanistan to Turkey. The last leg of their journey, a cramped week’s sail through the Aegean and Mediterranean seas aboard a cerulean 15-meter yacht, the Polina, piloted by three Ukrainian skippers, cost $7,000 a head. It dropped them in Sicily in relative style."

What struck me was the "Ukrainian" bit, which was the only nationality of skippers described in the article.  I was sure that the Ukraine was this land-locked country, so how in the world would they have people with expertise in navigating smaller boats?  

The short answer is: the Black Sea.  Ukraine is one of six countries with ports on the Black Sea.

I don't know whether I was confusing Ukraine with Belorussia, which is indeed landlocked, or just had a poor mental image of the map of Eastern Europe.

Factoid: did you know you can sail from the North Sea to the Black Sea (Rhine-Danube canal).

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