Deep Water Soloing at the Black Sea: Tyulenovo

Deep Water Solo Tyulenovo, Bulgaria

Close to the Romanian border, the Bulgarian coast seems too inaccessible, inhospitable and wild to be considered a holiday retreat. There are barely any beaches or sand. The sea cliff falls straight into the restless waters of the Black Sea, which continues to carve caves, archways and bays at a slow, determined pace. Standing on the edge and looking down, you will feel unwelcome. After all, the only way to get in the water is to jump or climb down. But the feeling goes away once you hit those soft waves and, after a while, begin deep water soloing your way back up. Here’s Tyulenovo in a nutshell:

The crystal-clear Black Sea

 

Maybe it has something to do with the rocky bottom and the absence of sand, but the Black Sea is incredibly clear in Tyulenovo. No wonder snorkeling and scuba diving are among the top priorities here. Marine life is pretty diverse, with plenty of fish, crabs, shells and huge jelly fish. If you’re lucky, you might even see bottlenose dolphins swim by. But the main attraction remains the flooded caves along the coast. When the sea is calm, you can swim to them and snorkel inside, or take a boat and scuba dive their labyrinths.

Cliff-jumping

 

Cliff-jumping Tyulenovo, Bulgaria

 

You might think this is the fastest way to get in the water. I’m here to tell you “not necessarily!” On the edge of Tyulenoo’s rocky cliffs, you’ll often overhear people saying “not now”, “maybe later,” “give me just a little more time”, “let me focus,” “I was waiting for you to jump first,” and so on. And this is not just with first-timers. Even those who’ve been here before will experience the same butterflies in the stomach and feel their blood run cold when on the ledge. But in the end, it’s all worth it.

Deep Water Solo

 

Deep Water Solo Tyulenovo, Bulgaria

 

Tyulenovo is swarming with people on hot summer weekends. It’s an excellent escape from both Romanian and Bulgarian cities, and Deep Water Solo is one of the main reasons for this.

Deep Water Solo Tyulenovo, Bulgaria

Deep Water Solo is rock climbing without any safety gear above a sea or lake. When you fall, you land in the water beneath. Just make sure it’s deep enough and without any obstacles such as underwater cliffs. Needless to say, this is a team activity. You wouldn’t want to be doing this alone because anything can go wrong when climbing as well as in the water. Someone must always keep an eye on you.

At Tyulenovo, the sea cliffs are mainly overhanging. In designated places, where the water is deep enough, climbers are all over the place, overcoming their fears, developing new skills, learning to fall correctly, and pushing their limits on hard projects. In short, they are keeping busy all day long.

Silence

 

Fishing boat in Tyulenovo in the morning

 

Tyulenovo is a small village on the Black Sea coast. It has only a few houses, most of them deserted. Remember that Cartoon Network show Courage the Cowardly Dog? Well, when you get close to Tyulenovo, it feels like you’re in the middle of nowhere. But when you get close to the sea, you discover a hidden gem. One of its many perks is the silence, only interrupted by the sound of the waves splashing onto the cliffs and cormorants and seagulls communicating in the horizon.

There are a couple of hotels, some guesthouses and restaurants. Locals rely on fishing. The Fishermen’s Bay is one of the places where you can get in the water without having to jump. You can walk into the sea among the fishing boats in this tiny gulf enclosed by rugged cliffs and dotted with rounded boulders. The other spot where you can skip cliff-jumping is at the southern end of the village.

Caves

 

Man-carved caves at Tylenovo, Bulgaria

 

Rock, perhaps nature’s favorite canvas. It sure had a lot of fun playing with it here at Tyulenovo. There are too many archways, solitary towers, chiseled mushrooms and caves to count. But not all are one hundred percent natural. natural. The coast stretching from Tyulenovo to Kamen Bryag is full of man-carved caves, some dating back to the first centuries B.C.

Man-carved caves at Tylenovo, Bulgaria

The Thracians used these for shelter and as tombs. Some are easy to reach, some are quite well hidden. Large chambers can be visited by following steep paths perched above the sea, some of them connected with one another.

Cormorants

 

Cormorants at Tyulenovo, Bulgaria

 

These funny-looking, black and fat birds laying around on solitary rocks, totally undisturbed by our presence, are an endangered species that breeds in the caves on the sea cliff from Tyulenovo to Cape Kaliakra.

Bright nights

 

In some nights, just as the sun begins to fade, you can observe fishermen as they return to the rocky coast, their torches and gas lamps lighting the cliffs while they pull their boats in the bay. If you want premium accommodation, ditch the guesthouses, grab your sleeping bag, and check into the “million-star hotel” by the edge of the cliffs. Free of charge. Enjoy the cool night breeze and your first-row seats to the cosmic show the sky puts on on clear nights.

Fishermen's Bay in Tyulenovo, Bulgaria

Your heart will pound out of your chest, cold shivers will run down your spine, you’ll feel a lump in your throat and an uncontrollable urge to run away as fast and as far as possible. But you won’t. You’ll only want more. This is Tyulenovo. You either hate it or love it.

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