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Manuel Presti - The Danube Delta, Romania

June 20th, 2009 Posted in Eastern Europe, Uncategorized

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A friendly smile welcomes me at Bucharest Airport as I land in Romania for my second Wild Wonders of Europe mission.
It’s Helmut Ignat, a passionate Romanian nature photographer with a sincere love for the Danube Delta: he’ll join me for some days during my work here.
On our 5 hours’ drive from the congested capital city to the wild Delta wetlands the sky gets darker and darker, huge and monstrous cumulonimbus clouds speak to us a clear word: the next days will be very, very wet!
With quite some concern I look at my personal luggage, which I minimized for this spring trip: I expected rather mild temperatures and not a stormy November-chilly climate! I realize that my clothing strategy is wrong indeed as I note Helmut’s bags: even if he’ll spend only a few days here, his luggage is more than double than mine! (I’ll tell you more about his “magic” bags in the next blog posts…).
After the long drive, we arrive in the small village of Murghiol. A short ride on one of the many branches of the Danube brings us to the floating hotel. This will be my house for the next 2 weeks.

The next day, our first scouting tour in the lakes and channels of the Delta makes me immediately understand one thing: this is an unbelievably huge maze, where orienteering gets to a high degree of difficulty. However, this is not the real challenge here, as my guide Iliuta Goean (pronounced Iliutsa) is not only a perfect boat pilot and a good birder: he also knows more or less each single lake, pond, river, channel, reed bed, floating island, flooded forest and single tree here in the Delta.

The real challenge is another thing: I’m here to photograph the White Pelicans, and even if they are very numerous in this region, I’ll quickly learn that it won’t be easy at all to find them at a photographically useful distance.
Dark storm clouds still cover the sky allowing for a dramatic atmosphere, and a cold air front arrived from the north a couple of days before my arrival which makes the temperature feel more like November. I’m wearing two pairs of trousers, 3 T-shirts, 2 layers of fleece, my gore-tex shell and 2 woollen hats. And, heck! I’m freezing! The only sign revealing that I’m a nature photographer is the 500mm lens…

Suddenly, a loud “Loook, Peeelicaaaans!” brings me back to reality. It’s Iliuta, he just spotted the first group of those wonderful birds gliding in a thermal.
They are no more than 400-500 metres away from us, though Humphrey Bogart’s voice from the Casablanca movie comes immediately back to my mind “…this is the beginning of a very long friendship!”

Stay tuned, more to come.


Please note that blogs reflect our photographers' opinions and not necessarily those of the directors of Wild Wonders of Europe.

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  1. 10 Responses to “Manuel Presti - The Danube Delta, Romania”

  2. By Iliuta on Jun 21, 2009

    Finally!

    I’m waiting for a long time for this post!
    Don’t miss the rest of the posts about Danube Delta because Manuel have a very nice story and many, many wonderful pictures.

    :-)

  3. By Laszlo Novak on Jun 22, 2009

    Hi Manuel,

    I promise you will have better weather condition :-)
    In the next field report I am looking forward the images from you. As I know your talent, you will take them.
    Laszlo

  4. By liviu rufinus on Jun 22, 2009

    Indeed, Danube Delta is magic and mystery ! I’m living there since I was born, some twenty years ago, but still would spend every day on the water, among pelicans and water lilies ! what can I ask more? Good weather? there is no bad weather, only bad clothes…even though Manuel, the idea of light travelling attracts me as much as you!
    Waiting for some other pictures …keep up with the good work!!

  5. By Armando Maniciati on Jun 23, 2009

    Ciao Manuel,
    ho sempre pensato che il Delta del Danubio sia un luogo talmente vasto da sembrare magico. Buon lavoro e buona luce, spero tu riesca a portare a casa tante magnifiche immagini, anche con il cuore.

  6. By Cristina Berselli on Jun 24, 2009

    Ciao Manuel,
    é consolante sapere che anche un “grande” fotografo come te può sbagliare abbigliamento!!! Comunque il risultato non cambia perché le tue foto sono sempre magiche perché piene di passione! E hanno per il 98% un elemento in comune: l’acqua in tutte le sue forme! Forse per questo le tue foto mi emozionano sempre così tanto! E nel nel delta del Danubio di acqua ce n’è tanta e sicuramente saprei sfruttarla al massimo!!! quindi buona luce e buon lavoro! a presto …

  7. By Claudia Camilletti on Jun 26, 2009

    Hi Manuel!!
    I’m so glad to (finally!) read this post and to see some shots even if -I’m sure- the best has to come! ^_^

    I’ll be waiting to see more!

    See you soon,

    Claudia

  8. By Dan Dinu on Jun 26, 2009

    Hello Manuel,

    Is nice to see finally some pictures from your mission. I am looking forward for the gallery and for other post here on the blog. All the best from Romania and hear you soon.

  9. By Corneliu on Jul 10, 2009

    Hi Manuel,

    Danube Delta is a very special place for me, I am glad you have a pleasant experience there, maybe pelicans were more friendly than weather ;-) A unique wild wonder from the densely populated Europe! And very good images!

    Corneliu

  10. By Radu Ursu on May 18, 2010

    Hi Manuel,

    I did a photo tour with Iliuta and Mihai Moiceanu shortly after you have been in the Delta, I was waiting for this to be posted after I heard Iliuta great stories about your tour.
    I hope, everybody can see now, true your eyes, this beautiful natural treasure, and do more to preserve this. Great work. I love it.

  11. By captain sunset on Oct 15, 2011

    Hi,
    I think it must have been a beautifull trip traveling by waterways…
    I plan to launch in april 2012 from Belgium. I would take a small detour trhoug France to arrive at the Black Sea via the Danube.
    I am looking for advice and specific do ’s and dont’s, tips and tricks or perhaps fellow passengers. I want to make the trip in a small ex-waterski boat, pushing a raft as big as is still manageable :-)
    I won’t have more debt then 60cm of depth so I can really see some nature!!! And I ‘ll have that raft with me to destroy as little as possible. :-)

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