Look out Croatia - Here Comes Montenegro!
After a passage south along the coast from Cavtat we pass a fortress on the last spit of Croatian territory and enter Montenegro, a country of only 600,000 people and a GDP smaller than BHP! Towering above the town are the 2,000 metre black mountain ranges for which the country is named – Montenegro.
Entry formalities at Zeleniko are simple. After we tie up alongside quay we make our way to the very basic office where the Customs official smiles as she processes our purchase of the mandatory Vingette – the cruising permit. The policeman in a nearby porta-cabin obliges with a stamp in our passports and we are officially in Montenegro.
A short hop then to the port of Herceg Novi where we moor to a concrete quay with water and power but no shower or toilet facilities ashore. The dark tower of the 14th century fortress overlooks the harbour, which has been ‘invaded’ by a huge pool where the finals of the local water polo championship is to be played on the evening of our arrival. The local population have free access to the pool area and enthusiastically support the home team.
A walk to the end of the quay and we are in town and recommended restaurant, with the unfortunate name the Feral, becomes our choice for the night. Good local cuisine, service and surroundings make for an enjoyable meal. A large group takes the table next to us to celebrate a special occasion and the evening turns into a folk singing festival. They all seem to know a whole library of songs.
Along the waterfront the shops and night spots are a hive of activity and we eventually arrive at a tiny bar where the patrons are dancing Salsa in the open air. The footpath winds along the waterfront and it seems every inhabitant and holiday make is out for a stroll.
Next morning we climb the stairs to the citadel for the view over the harbour and across the entrance to the bay. Leaving later in the morning we cross bay to tiny stone town of Rose on the other side. An enthusiastic dock master ties us to a buoy in front of the Forte Rose Restaurant. The setting is quite simply breathtaking; a huge sprawling pine tree shades the tables and we look back to Herceg Novi and again to the 2,000 metre escarpment above it. Lunch is of course accompanied by an excellent chilled local Rose.
The camera shutters are working overtime but we can’t stay and after a lunch of local fresh fish we set off in a southerly direction to Mamula. The tiny island is almost completely covered by yet another fortress which we hear is about to be developed into another resort. From here the passage is to the nearby Blue Cave. The final destination is a very small settlement of Bigova set in a natural bay.
Another great day!