Visit To Montenegro August 2005
Published 18 years ago, updated 4 years ago
From: Douglas and Judy Decker – Sailing Vessel LIMERENCE
In mid-August, we checked out of Croatia by going into the Port of Gruz and tying once again to the large concrete dock with black tire fenders in front of the Customs Building. The checkout was routine, and soon we were on our way bashing south with a light wind on the nose and confused seas. We expected the seas to settle down once we were offshore, but they continued to build throughout the day. Within several hours our speed dropped to about 4 knots and we endured an uncomfortable eight-hour ride to Montenegro. Our engine continued to act up causing us to feel more tension as our speed slowed. We later found that we had water in the fuel for the second time.
We checked into the country in Zelenika ($95E including a courtesy flag) and proceeded to the city docks in Herceg-Novi a few miles away at the mouth of the Boka Kotorska. That’s where we hired the mechanics who drained our fuel and cleaned the tanks once again. We were fortunate to find two talented mechanics who happened to speak a bit of English.
Montenegro uses the Euro and we needed to get to an ATM machine. They are located in Herceg outside of banks in “Centro”. The central part of the city is straight uphill about 150 steps. The climb is a heart-pounding experience. There are restaurants and drink stands along the way to break the tension as you climb climb climb. We found Herceg enjoyable but were ready to move on. The reason we wanted to visit Montenegro was to see the fjord of Kotorska and the famous walled city of Kotor.
We motored for two hours through the rugged fjord of the Balkan Peninsula called the Boka Kotorska. The stunning mountains are steep and faintly purple. We started in calm weather but experienced some gusty winds left over from a strong thunderstorm that morning. We were headed to the end of the fjord, to the city of Kotor which is a World Heritage Site. It is a beautiful town of Venetian origin at the foot of Mount Lovcen. As we approached, the San Giovanni fortress was shocking in appearance! The medieval town of Kotor at sea level is completely surrounded with town ramparts, rising from the sea and stretching to the fortress. Two thousand steps wind and twist up the mountain to the top. It appeared like pictures we have seen of the Great Wall of China. Because of its location on top of the steep cliffs, the fort has never been captured.
While in Kotor, my concern was getting a haircut, provisioning the boat with fresh vegetables, getting our laundry done, and sightseeing in the beautiful town. Doug’s major interest was climbing to the top of the mountain fort. We thought about this goal for two days as we gazed up at the San Giovanni Fort during cocktail hour. The vision of this challenge tormented Doug and he longed to do it. It’s over 2,000 steps to the top and most people who attempt it quit at the chapel halfway up. Doug was determined to achieve the summit. Carrying water, camera, and a walking stick, Doug made it all the way to the top and back down in three hours!! A feat to be proud of! He said the view of the Adriatic Sea was worth the climb.
Our next destination was out of the fjord and back into the Adriatic, and south to the busy holiday town of Budva Montenegro. We tied up to the city dock – no water or power. When you moor Med-style, you are handed a thin tether line from the dock which is attached to a heavy rope that is secured to a concrete mooring laid on the bottom of the sea. You pull on the thin line until the heavy loop appears, and then attach it to your boat. Since we go bow-in, we put the rope on one of our rear cleats and then tie the bow off to the dock. We climb over the anchor to get to the dock, or rig up our passerelle boarding ladder if we are staying awhile.
Throughout Europe, we have used 3G-GPRS Vodafone in our computer with access to the internet. It’s made it so convenient to email family and friends from our own boat. In Montenegro, there is no GPRS, so we had to go to an internet cafe to check our mail and the weather. Doug sat at a computer in a tent internet on the beach, with a bunch of shrieking boys playing video games.
We enjoyed a couple of days watching all the activity in the harbour. We’ve never seen a place with so many choices of things to do. There was the beach, the walled city, the beach town with hundreds of souvenir shops and food stands, a dolphin and seal show in the swimming pool, paragliding off the mountain, or paragliding behind a powerboat, bungy jumping, internet game rooms, and our favourite. . . flying dinghy rides!! We heard the loud roar of an engine and suddenly a dinghy with a large red wing came rushing by our boat as it gained speed and took off into the air!! An ultralight flying machine with a dinghy as the base! It added a surrealistic touch to the whole place. A real surprise to us was that there wasn’t a disco facing the harbour, so we could sleep at night in peace in the midst of this fantasyland.
We must mention that we ate at the restaurant on the beach called “Jadran”s”. We read in our SSCA -Seven Seas Cruising Association bulletin about a generous and friendly host named Krsto. Indeed, the elegant meal was the best we have eaten in Croatia or Montenegro. We enjoyed a platter of local seafood that was as beautiful as it was delicious. If you stop in Budva, don’t miss Jadrans.
Our final stop in Montenegro was the forgettable town of Bar. It is a bleak industrial town in a magnificent mountain setting. It is the southern check-in and out point in Montenegro. It has typical pebble beaches and outdoor fast food cafes that grill your food as you watch. A few more bike rides, a visit to the internet cafe, and a couple of dinners and then we were ready to move on to Albania.
Fair winds friends, Doug and Judy
We have a complete update with pictures on this trip on our website under Travel Updates number 69. www.deckersailing.com If you would like additional information please contact us at [email protected]