And all too soon we are back in ACI Marina Dubrovnik getting the boat ready for another winter. September seems to have zipped by and whilst there is a lot to do to get Lyra winterised, there's an air of sadness as 2015 sailing comes to an end
Delayed post by intermittent wifi. Just back from Montenegro, five days in the Gulf of Kotor. Quite and experience. We checked in to the country at Porto Montenegro, a little bit of Dubai in the Balkans. The first and I think only superyacht marina in the med. It's quite something. The biggest boat there during our brief stay was only 101 meters long and according to a Kiwi deckhand we met, although good for parties 'the owner is a private person' Yeah, a Kazakhstan billionaire with a ship that has suites for 22 and a crew of 33! Similar idea on privacy to me obviously. At 64 euros a night Porto Montenegro has been our most expensive marina stay by some way but the restaurants are good, the showers are luxurious and the service very slick- especially the marinero help in checking in and out of the country as the port officials are still a little soviet in their attitudes.
We then moved on to Kotor itself (40 euros and no water or electricity or mooring assistance so makes Porto M look quite cheap) and saw there an interesting mix of decaying Venetian architecture, Serbian and Russian tourists and slightly surly locals all doing business in Euros which is more than a little bizarre. Is Montenegro the only country not to be in the eurozone that uses the Euro as its currency? We had a great time climbing the walls of the city, which extend halfway up a mountain behind the old town itself. Our stay there was extended by the almost inevitable Bora but at least there was some wind, this trip has been marked by soaring temperatures and an almost complete lack of breeze and when there has been any it's inevitably been on the nose.
The Gulf of Kotor is of course spectacular but the shores are quite heavily developed and the water of the bay is dirty and full of plastic waste which is a real shame as it should be such a great asset for this country,. Cruise ships a plenty at Kotor but most of the tourism seems to be the usual beach hotel/ complex common throughout the med.
We've been dodging the dreaded Bora winds and exploring the islands of Mljet and Lastovo. They are some of the most beautiful of the Croatian Islands, and, apart from sailors some of the most deserted. Lastovo in particular is worth a visit. For all of Yugoslavia's time the island was off limits to visitors and is now a nature reserve. The town itself is on the north coast and clinging to a hillside below a crusader castle but maybe one third of the house are ruins and the economy is more dependent upon wine and oil production than tourism. Mljet is very firmly on the yacht charterer's 'to-do' list and is lovely as long as you give some thought as to where the seven day charters are likely to be- and then go somewhere else.
Back out on the boat again We have enjoyed a short cruise with friends Mark and Caroline and we are now provisioning for a three week trip around the southern islands of Croatia and onto Montenegro. 35C at the height of the day so moving slowly. Inevitably thunderstorms are now forecast.