Montenegro - Into the Bay of Kotor with stops in Herceg Novi, Tivat and then to Bar August 28 - September 5, 2019


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September 5th 2019
Published: October 5th 2019
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Marina Lazare in Herceg Novi Is Building NewMarina Lazare in Herceg Novi Is Building NewMarina Lazare in Herceg Novi Is Building New

but also using some of the historic buildings here
We were ready to visit a new country to us, Montenegro. In fact it is not only new to us, but is quite a new country as it had been part of Yugoslavia and became an independent country in 2006. We sailed from Cavtat in Croatia after doing our official check out paperwork to the Bay of Kotor. Montenegro actually only has a total of 182 miles of coastline, with a third of it being the shores of the Bay of Kotor indicating how large it is. While going along the coastline of Croatia we continued to see numerous bunkers and even at the border of the country at the entrance of the Bay of Kotor there was a fortification still standing proudly over the cliff there. On the other side of the bay which is in the country of Montenegro there was another fortification. It is obvious that this Bay was an important one and was well defended on both sides.

As we were entering a new country we had to first stop to complete the official paperwork. Fortunately the first place to stop to do this was in Zelenika which turned out to be a very easy check
There Are 6 US Flags Here - Can You Find There Are 6 US Flags Here - Can You Find There Are 6 US Flags Here - Can You Find

the one "really" from the US??
in process. We were able to side tie to a quay, walk over to a nearby stone building to complete the paperwork and pay 21 euro for a 7 day vignette to cruise in Montenegro. We weren’t sure how long we were going to stay, but were told it would be easy enough to extend it in any other port we go to. Once we did that we walked back with a copy of the paperwork to the port police which was located at the quay and we were now officially legal in Montenegro! Every time we come into a new country we ask how to say a few things such as thank you, please, good bye, hello and other basics. We asked the officials how to say a couple of words as we find learning one or two at a time is a good way to start. The interesting thing was that when we asked how to say good bye he told us to say “chow” just like we did in Italy. This means we already have a word we don’t need to learn!! l

We had heard of a new marina that was close to Zelenika in
This Russian Boat Actually States It Is From RussiaThis Russian Boat Actually States It Is From RussiaThis Russian Boat Actually States It Is From Russia

and didn't have a US flag on it - quite the surprise
the neighboring village of Herceg Novi called Marina Lazure. They were having a promotion now and were only charging 50 euro per night so we had made a reservation ahead of time to stay there. We enjoy anchoring out, but sometimes it is nice to treat yourself to being in a marina where you can just hop off the boat and walk into town. We had a few things on our list to do while in a marina – get the laundry done, defrost the freezer, get the vacuum out for a more thorough cleaning, fill the water tank, wash the boat and change the engine oil. The marina was very nice and the people working there were lovely. Soon after we got settled into our berth we noticed that there were lots of US flagged boats here, but we then quickly found out that Americans were not onboard, but they were registered in the US for tax purposes. We definitely did not hear anyone speaking English on the dock!! It got to the point where we had to laugh at all of the boats that were registered in the US –everything from large powerboats and sailboats down to and
The Coastal Walk From the Marina The Coastal Walk From the Marina The Coastal Walk From the Marina

to the village of Herceg Nova was a pleasant one
including inflatable dinghies!

Fortunately we got almost everything done that we wanted to while in the marina. The one we didn’t get done was laundry as they only had a laundry service which charged by the piece! It would have costs a fortunate that way based on the price list, so will continue to do hand washing for a while longer. Oh well…

We were given information at the marina office of places of interest to see in Herceg Novi so decided to explore here as well. There was a lovely walkway next to the water that ran from the marina into the village of Herceg Novi. We found that there were still a number of tourists here filling up the water side restaurants and enjoying the beaches here. One of the sights here was a fortress that we figured we would visit. Just like many other forts we have seen was located high on a hill so up we went numerous stairways and winding alleyways. It was built in the 15th C. by the Ottomans that controlled this area at the time. Unfortunately we didn’t learn much detail here as there wasn’t any signage, but enjoyed the wonderful views from this great vantage point. The funny thing was that near the very end of our walk around the fort we found a sign for an information center which was downstairs. We went to check it out and found we could rent an audio guide for 5 euros each, but as we had already walked around the entire fort we decided we would skip the history lesson this time. I doubt they rent many based on their location within the fort at the opposite side from the entrance. On the map (which had very little in the way of detail) there was a mention of a clock tower so figured we’d go in search of that. Funny thing was we wandered around for quite some time and found another couple doing the same looking for the same clock tower. Luckily for us in our search we stumbled upon a small farmer’s market and figured it was worth stopping. We found some wonderful raspberries for only 1 euro ($1.09) (we first bought one and then decided we’d buy a 2nd one to eat right away), Bob got olives for himself and found some great dried strawberries, plums, and peaches. It was close to lunch time and next to the market was a bakery that sold finger food as well. They had some great “pies” so bought a couple different varieties. They had tables & benches outside so put it together with our raspberries and had a great lunch for the equivalent of only a couple of dollars. An enjoyable “pick up lunch”!

We also enjoyed visiting an Orthodox Church in the town square. It was a lovely, peaceful place to see while still in the town center. Nearby we saw there was a tourist office so talked to them and they said we should walk back to the marina via a different road which would take us to the nearby monastery as they were having a festival that day. We took their advice and made it to the monastery but it appeared most of the activities were finished for the day, but the Church was open to visit. We found that there were actually two Churches, the smaller being the oldest with beautiful frescos still visible on the walls and ceilings. We also saw that there was a gentleman separating the wax from the melted candles from the water bath that is under the lit candles when in the Church. They then re-use the wax to produce new candles – perfect recycling of the candles.

It was time to move on further into the Bay of Kotor. We have heard from others that it is an impressive bay to explore and just from what we can see here it looks like it will live up to its reputation. The bay is very deep and at the very bottom (farthest in) is the town of Kotor. As you meander back into the bay you pass numerous villages with a number of Churches high on the hills; plenty of modern hotels to house the thousands of summer tourists that come here; remnants of a war torn country with submarine tunnels, old navy ships and shipyards; and spectacular mountains surrounding the Bay.

We found a good place to anchor near the town of Kotor and once we got settled we headed into town by dinghy. We wanted to see it while we could before a cruise ship arrives as we saw on the internet that there was one due in the next day. We are glad we did as it gave us a chance to get some tourist information, get oriented to the town and see a few of the sights before the crowds arrived.

One place we had read about was the Cathedral of St. Tryphon. Even though most of the people of Kotor are Orthodox, this is a Catholic one dedicated to St. Tryphon which we were told is the patron saint of gardener’s. The church has been rebuilt a number of times due to damage caused by 4 different earthquakes with the worse being in 1667. This earthquake destroyed three-quarters of the buildings in Kotor. The nave of the church has massive columns and some frescoes that survived under the arches with a 15th C. silver and gold altar under a canopy.

Upstairs holds the relics, artwork, vestments and other valued pieces. It also gave us a birds-eye view down into the nave of the church. We never mind paying the minimal entrance fee for these in order to allow them to keep these places open to the public. It is always interesting to learn more about the various periods of time from the artwork and silverwork that are seen in places like these.
Yes,  It is HOT here!  Yes,  It is HOT here!  Yes, It is HOT here!

Palm trees, iced coffee and Bob using a fan!
There is actually one painting that is painted on two sides which is from the 15th C. We read that this shows that this area had a mixture of Western and Eastern Christianity due to the style of the painting. The life like faces are more in keeping with the western style while the stiff, elongated bodies were more in keeping with the eastern style that is seen in the Orthodox Churches. It is always interesting to find what you can learn from the artwork that you view.

As we didn’t make it to Kotor until the afternoon we decided to stay in town to see it at night – it is always interesting to see the transformation between daylight and nighttime hours of a place. We continued to wander the numerous narrow alleyways and it kept crossing our mind of what it will be like once a cruise ship arrives in town. We found out the next day!

Every day after that there were cruise ships in port - not just one but one day there were actually 3 in town! We realize that many people enjoy taking cruise vacations and they are excellent in getting people to see a number of places, but when they visit small areas such as Kotor it is actually quite overwhelming when there is more than one in port at a time. Some towns are actually trying to crack down on the number of cruise ships that can come to a port on any one day as they are realizing the impact that they make and not always in a good way. Yes, tourism is a mainstay of many areas to help their economy, but unfortunately many that are on cruise ships do not eat in the towns as their food is provided onboard and there are just so many souvenir t-shirts that people will buy. Yes, it is a double edged topic that the cities and countries will have to decide for themselves weighing the positive and negatives of such a large influx of people in a short time frame. All we do know is when a town is as small as Kotor, it makes it almost impossible to walk through the streets as many of them are very narrow and the tour groups from the ships are quite large and are difficult to get through. This is not all cruise ships either as bus tour groups can have the same impact on small villages and towns, but at least most of those stop someplace for meals helping the local economy. Sorry to go on about the cruise ships in particular but it definitely is a topic that is brought up in many towns and cities that we have visited in Europe.

The temperatures had gone up again when we were here making it quite unpleasant to do anything in the middle of the day. That helped out in we would go into town early in the morning before the crowds arrived, head back to the boat during the hottest part of the day and then head back in during the early evening hours. In this way we were able to enjoy a less crowded town of Kotor and enjoy our wanderings and poking our heads into places that looked interesting.

The fortification town walls of Kotor are quite impressive as they start down near the waterfront but then go up a cliff face which winds up being 3 miles long. It was built over a period of time between the 9th and 19th centuries with the majority
We Walked Over to the Grocery Store in ZielinkaWe Walked Over to the Grocery Store in ZielinkaWe Walked Over to the Grocery Store in Zielinka

and a store that reminded us of Dick Sporting Goods
being between the 17th & 18th C. At night the walls are lit up and we could clearly see them from Tsamaya while at anchor. We had been told that the outline looks like a sitting lion so we checked it out and found that it was true. Surprisingly later in the evening there is a green light where the eye would be making it look even more so like a proud lion. I know the quality of the photo isn’t the best, but see if you can visualize it as well.

After a few days at Kotor we decided to move to another town within the Bay. We had met some Americans when we were in Croatia, Kathy and Jim on SV Szaffi and had been in touch with them as knew they were coming to the area to put their boat away for the season. We were originally going to head to a nearby island to anchor out for a couple of days, but when we found that they were anchored near Tivat we changed plans and anchored near them to catch up with them instead. Always nice to meet up with cruising friends again.

Between Kotor and Tivat there are two interesting islands that you pass. We saw them from a distance on the way to Kotor, but this time we motored around them to get a better look. One is a natural island and the other is man-made. The island of St. George has a monastery on it which had been part of the fortification for the Bay of Kotor in the past. This is not open to the public, but tourist flock to the man-made island where a dome-topped Catholic church stands. There is a legend that some fishermen had seen a strange light coming from a reef near the monastery. They were said to have seen an icon of Our Lady and they attempted to take it to shore, but it would always go back to the original location. They decided that was a sign and they started dropping rocks into the bay at this location. This became a tradition for all the local fishermen and it spread to the villagers as well. Eventually boats would come laden with stones on purpose just to put them in this location which is what created this island. The church called “Our Lady of the Rocks” was built and we heard it is filled with symbols of thanks for answered prayers. We did not stop at the island, but it is definitely quite a popular place to visit on the numerous tourist boats that ply the Bay.

We then continued through the narrowest section within the bay which is where there are 3 car ferries crossing back and forth regularly. Between watching for those and the numerous tour boats it is a busy section of the waterway. We were just glad we didn’t meet any cruise ships coming or going. It must be something to see them maneuver through these turns. We did see one at another time motoring into the Bay at a much larger section of the bay and even that was taking quite a bit of time for it to maneuver through a turn. It was actually hard to believe that these large cruise ships managed to make it back to Kotor with all the turns they have to make to get there.

We were invited over to Jim and Kathy’s boat (they have much more room in their cockpit!) and it was great to catch up on where we both had been since our last meeting. We hadn’t seen many US flagged boats since being up in Croatia, but we had meet another US flagged boat when we were anchored in Kotor. Emily and Matt on SV Sea Odyssey moved to Tivat as well so Kathy and Jim kindly invited them as well.

Fortunately for us Jim and Kathy had been in Tivat before as they stored their boat last winter near here. They knew the restaurants to try out and where the stores were located in town. The four of us went out to dinner the next night at a great place called the “The Black Sheep” which had fabulous burgers. Yes, we had a craving for burgers as it is not something that you typically get here and these were especially good! They gave us another great recommendation for breakfast the next day – what a treat to have breakfast out too and not just a continental type breakfast!

Tivat is not a tourist town but is has a very large marina where the super yachts go. It is also a place where you can buy duty free diesel. We had thought of doing that as the price is greatly reduced, but when we checked into it we found that you had to make an appointment quite a few days in advance. That wouldn’t be the biggest problem but compound that with the fact that you must be checked out of the country and leave Montenegro right after getting the fuel; we decided it wasn’t worth the savings. We still wanted to get diesel so we walked over to the marina to check out fuel dock and look for a chandlery as well. This is definitely a marina that is out of our league! The place is like a village itself with high end specialty shops and even a place where you can purchase a BMW or better yet a Lamborghini!

We were hoping to catch up with a British couple we met as well on SV Linea while in Sicily and Croatia, but they had some boat problems and had to go to a boatyard near Tivat and we missed them by a day. Oh well, sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t. Maybe next season our paths will cross again. We still have a long distance to go to get to
The Monastery in Herceg NoviThe Monastery in Herceg NoviThe Monastery in Herceg Novi

was beautiful and enjoyable to visit
Turkey so figured we’d move on. It would have been nice to explore a few more places in the Bay, but this will have to be it for this time. We could see coming back to see other parts of Montenegro – maybe we will just have to plan a land trip back. We did go over to Port Montenegro to fill up with diesel. We didn’t feel it was too bad even though it wasn’t at the duty free prices. We paid the equivalent of $4.57 per gallon for the diesel – not bad as the last place we bought diesel was in Croatia for $5.58.

We could have checked out of the country in Tivat as well as go back to the same place in the Bay that we checked in, but decided to make another stop along the coast to do that so we headed to Bar. If we had checked out in the Bay of Kotor this would have meant that we would have done a much longer passage before arriving in the next country of Albania.

On the sail down to Bar we continue to see bunkers on the hills again showing how
The Older Church at the MonasteryThe Older Church at the MonasteryThe Older Church at the Monastery

with more of its artwork intact
much fear there was during the time of Tito when this area was part of Yugoslavia. We arrived in Bar at the marina and were pleasantly surprised to have a side tie to a quay – so much easier getting on and off the boat. We checked into the marina which was a little run down, but the staff was pleasant. They told us where the harbormaster was located (why are they usually not located at the harbor??) so we walked into town to get our official papers stamped for leaving the country. It was quite an easy process and it didn’t take very long. Once the paperwork was done we have 24 hours to leave the country so did that the next day. We did find that walking into town it seemed a little more run down than other places we have been and we saw much more graffiti here. This is definitely not a tourist town and it showed that they were not spruced up like other places we have been. It turned out to be an easy place to check out of the country and allowed for us to have a reasonable length journey to Albania. We had at one time thought that we would do some day trips from Bar to see other areas of the country, but we are getting a little nervous that we have been moving a little slower than we should in order to get to Turkey in October so decided to forego the side trips. Again, this is something we may have to come back to visit by land at another time. We have to keep reminding ourselves that we can’t do it all and have to pick and choose what to see and how much time to spend in each area. When your travels are so dependent on the weather throwing that important fact into the equation always adds some question marks into how much time to give to a place. Oh well, we have enjoyed what we have been able to see in Montenegro and now it is time to move on to the next country, Albania.


Additional photos below
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Separating the Candle Wax from the Water Separating the Candle Wax from the Water
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to be able to make new candles to use
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with a view of the Bay of Kotor


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